Study Guide to the Major Writings of FM Alexander
Supplemental Thought Questions and References
Supplemental Thought Questions

1. What are the principles of the Alexander Technique? Use textual evidence to support your listing. Which principle or principles do you think Alexander thought was most important? (Support your answer). Which principle do you think is most important?

2. Frank Pierce Jones believed that the publication of CCCI was influenced by the earlier publication of Invisible Exercise by Gerald Stanley Lee. Jones states that Alexander in fact tried to get the Technique patented, and when that attempt failed, wrote the chapter "Illustration" that appears in CCCI so that it could be copyrighted. What textual evidence exists in CCCI to show that Alexander was attempting to directly counter Lee's claims?

3. Frank Jones (Don Weed, personal communication) believed that the trial in South Africa cost us a fifth book that Alexander might have written. If he had written a fifth book, what do you think might have been its thesis?

4. Alexander wrote approximately one book per decade. Is there an evolution in his thinking from one book to the next? Pick a major idea in Alexander's writing, such as sensory appreciation, or giving a student an experience in a lesson, and trace its development throughout the four books.

5. In The Use of the Self (p. 21) Alexander writes that his "findings up til now implied the possibility of the opening up of an entirely new field of enquiry." In UCL Alexander writes (p. xlii) "After working for a lifetime in this new field I am conscious that the knowledge gained is but a beginning..." What is this new field that Alexander opened up? If after a lifetime Alexander had just begun, where are we now, and where do you think we might go?

6. Learning the Alexander Technique is obviously a process that takes a certain amount of time. Does everyone go through the same stages of learning? Is the time duration for learning the same or similar for everyone? Do we count time in lenght only (i.e. the number of years one has been studying, or total number of lessons one has had) or is "depth" also important, (i.e. how much "time" one spends actually working with the principles of the Technique during each of the years one is studying)? Are we farther along in this "new field of enquiry" than Alexander was? If not, why not? Can students benefit from our progress, or must they go through the same experience as we did in the same way taking the same amount of time?

7. Suppose you were in charge of a committee assigned the task of evaluating the quality of teaching of the Alexander Technique? What criteria would you use to evaluate the quality of teaching and what means would you employ to measure those criteria?


References

Alexander, F.M. 1918. Man's Supreme Inheritance. E.P. Dutton, NY.
Reprinted 1988, Centerline Press, Long Beach, CA.

Alexander, F.M. 1923. Constructive Conscious Control of the
Individual
. E.P. Dutton, NY. Reprinted 1985, Centerline Press, Long
Beach, CA.

Alexander, F.M. 1932. The Use of the Self. E. P. Dutton, NY.
Reprinted 1984, Centerline Press, Long Beach, CA.

Alexander, F.M. 1941. The Universal Constant in Living. E.P.
Dutton, NY. Reprinted 1986, Centerline Press, Long Beach, CA.

Jones, Frank Pierce. 1976. Body Awareness In Action. Schocken Books,
NY. 1997. Freedom To Change. Mouritz, London.

Tasker, Irene. 1978. Connecting Links. Sheldrake Press, London.

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