Awareness Through Movement
Teacher Certification Proposal, Comments, Progress Report and Final Report
The following proposal was posted under the “Community Notification and Comment Period” provisions of FGNA Policy “E 188.8.131.52 Protocol for Changing Internationally-Approved Training Accreditation Policies and Guidelines (Including Trainer and Assistant Certification)”.
As specified in the policy, a 45-day comment period ended May 4, 2012. The proposal and comments have been reviewed by the North American, European and Australian Training Accreditation Boards (NATAB, EuroTAB and AusTAB). A progress report was issued by NATAB on June 18, 2012, and a final report was issued by NATAB on November 14, 2012. These reports were sent to the originators of the proposal, and to the Governing Bodies of the Training Accreditation Boards, for distribution to their members and to the members of affiliated guilds.
Andrea Wiener, NATAB Executive Secretary
November 14, 2012
Proposal for Stand Alone Awareness through Movement® Teacher Certification
Before submitting this proposal to the community at large, several of the members who have endorsed this document 1) explored divergent viewpoints and 2) had conversations with some members of the educational community regarding the feasibility of the proposal.
Since the inception of the training accreditation process, it has been a fact that Awareness Through Movement certification was contingent on completing a four-year professional training. Like many aspects of the policy, this element of the policy has not undergone scrutiny or community wide discussion since the establishment of the policy. Many of us in the training community have independently come to question whether this continues to be the best policy for the future of our work and community and have become convinced that a stand-alone ATM® policy is a viable and desirable option.
Reasons for considering this new certification are as follows:
1. Many students are only interested in teaching ATM. Some have little or no interest in FISM. If this remains the case by the end of year two a difficult situation can arise for both the student and the Educational Director. In some cases the reason they don’t want to do FI is that they really are unsuited for the hands on practice, but nevertheless if they want to teach the ATM they love, they have to complete the last two years. The ED is confronted with graduating someone, and certifying their ability to do FI, even when they are sub par, or denying them the permission to teach at all by not graduating them. Students who fall into this category include those with injuries or health conditions that realistically preclude them from active hands-on practice.
2. There are fewer students in trainings currently in the US. The Method does not appear to be growing at the rate it has in previous decades. The option of a shorter track to teaching certification may be a more appealing first step for many people both financially and in terms of time. Many of those certified as ATM teachers may go on to do the full training at a later time.
3. There are too few ATM classes generally available. Having a two-year track for certification would hopefully result in a much larger group of ATM teachers and more access to the Method.
4. There are many students who have previously completed two years of training who would then be able to join the community and teach ATM (after some refreshment of their skills). They could join the Feldenkrais Guild® and our community can be a bit more inclusive.
5. This new option would give the EDs more latitude to deal with students who, after two years, appear to have little aptitude for FI. We would argue that a broader group of people can competently teach ATM than can master Functional Integration®.
6. In North America, Guild- certified practitioners are offering shorter programs that teach the participants to be ATM teachers. They are using another name for our Method, but are teaching the Method. This is not in the community’s best interest in the long term.
The current policy allows that: After two years of attending a regular four-year training students may become authorized to teach ATM, and this authorization can last for 7 years from the date of the beginning of their training. This permission is contingent on them being “in make-up a from their original training. We personally know of people who have completed two years of training teaching ATM ten years later.) During this period they have to identify themselves as a student teacher.
We propose adding the option that somewhere in that 7 year period, before their authorization lapses, students would complete a minimum of 15 additional days of training focused entirely on ATM teaching. This would allow them to change their status from student teacher to permanent ATM teacher. Certification will be contingent upon significant ATM teaching experience in addition to the 15 days of extra training. Continuing Education would also be required.
The special ATM training would have to follow all the same guidelines as current training in terms of being taught by a Guild Certified Trainer, teacher student ratio of 20-1 etc.
We also propose that students who have completed two years or more years of training, but are outside of their seven-year period, could become eligible for permanent ATM teacher status by doing the following: retake the last month of year two in an accredited training, be recertified to teach ATM by the ED, and attend successfully the 3 week program.
If a Certified ATM teacher decides that they wish at a later date to re-enter a training and become certified in Functional Integration any extra requirements for re-entry are to be determined by the Educational Director. If they choose to continue their training with a new Educational Director then it is recommended that the new ED be in correspondence with the old ED regarding the history of the students participation in the original training.
ADDENDUM: A 2nd Track to ATM only Certification
An Educational Director would also have the option of creating an ATM only based training that would adhere to current guidelines, plus the extra days. This would give the participants the ability to do ATM and hands on guided touch for ATM classes only. New Standing Protocols would need to be developed and submitted for such courses.
Responses to arguments against the proposal
ATM and FI are two sides of the same coin. You can’t separate them.
Response. Of course this is the case. However today hundreds of people in the US competently teach only ATM and do no FI.
The hands- on practice helps students be better ATM teachers, as does the maturation in theory, Feldenkrais® thinking etc.
Response: Certainly this is the case. However just because they do learn more one can ask, is an FI focused training the best use of their time in terms of becoming competent ATM teachers? We notice sadly that there are many incompetent ATM teachers out and about. Perhaps they would have benefited with the additional feedback and immersion into the practice of ATM teaching.
This will result in fewer training program students in the last two years of regular training.
Response: Maybe. It also could result in more students feeling comfortable starting a training knowing that they can leave after two plus years with a certification. In addition it’s easy to imagine there will be practitioners who will choose to take the 3 week ATM focused program to improve their ATM teaching skills.
If some ED’s prefer not to offer this option to the students in their training this could be their prerogative.
We also envision that some of the people who have left trainings after the 2nd year may want to pursue this new option of being officially certified for ATM only teaching.
Many of the requirements for teaching ATM have been in place for 25 years. We can experiment. We can try this new format for a decade and then revisit it. We can explore variations, take some risks and know that it is ultimately reversible.
Proposal submitted by: Elizabeth Beringer, Donna Ray, Ruthy Alon, Arlyn Zones, Jeff Haller, Olena NItefor, Dennis Leri, Holly Bonasera, Rich Goldsand, Aviva Fields, Laurie Wilson, Frank Wildman
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