Creating a New Self

CTAN PRESENTATION – SBAT/APSTA AGM 2015
First of all, I’d like to thank Council for allowing us some time to present our schools on
today’s busy schedule. I would also like to thank you in advance for your attention; I know
that paying attention, being present, is one of the most valuable gifts we can offer one
another.

I trained with Walter and Dilys Carrington at The Constructive Teaching Centre in London
and worked as assistant-teacher in the training course for various years, where I also
taught on the refresher courses for teachers.
For the last 14 years, I’ve been teaching the Technique full time, first in London and, since 2009, in Neuchâtel and Zurich.

When it comes to teaching and learning the Alexander Technique, we can all agree,
generally speaking, that we all share the same Alexander-principles, although, our
experience and understanding is, and always will be, very personal.
I value this aspect of our work, and I believe our diversity is something we must treasure
and defend.

In my experience the Technique is about personal-transformation, growth and
development. I believe the Alexander Technique is a very powerful and creative tool. It is
helping me to change my thinking, transforming my brain, perceptions and reactions. I
help my body to learn what the mind has understood intellectually; and when the
behaviour equals the intention and the action meets the thinking, I create a new me.

I know that, to allow this transformation to happen, we need to provide an environment
where we can meet this new and unfamiliar experience without feeling and being under
pressure, anxious or fearful. This is why at the Centre Technique Alexander in Neuchâtel,
my co-director Nathalie Sandoz and I, have decided to provide a calm and quiet
environment where, for example, judgement, especially self-judgement, complaining, or
criticising are not encouraged.
It is our priority to offer every student the space and the time for her learning experience and transformation.
We want a happy school. We believe happy students make happy teachers!

F.M. Alexander would encourage his pupils, and teachers, to take each lesson as a new
one, and this, I believe, in order to always be in a creative mood rather then performing
something old and repetitive. At the CTAN, we believe that practical procedures should
be the fundamental aspect of our training course, as they give the trainees practical
experience of developing their own use, teaching skills and ‘teaching hands’. Every
student will be encouraged from the beginning, and throughout the course, to work on
themselves and to pay a great deal of attention to the development of their own use. This
way of learning will help the trainees to continue developing their experience and
understanding of the Technique throughout their professional career.

You are all very welcomed to come and visit our school and share with us this wonderful
adventure.

Ettore Arcais