Two kinds of teaching, two kinds of learning

Early on in my bodywork career, I began to realize that some kinds of classes worked better for me than others. I spent a lot of money finding this out!  A similar thing happened, early on, with teaching: material I found really interesting (injury evaluation, for example) was, frankly, a turn-off for a lot of other practitioners. 

At one point, in the early 90s, I had an idea that there were 2 kinds of bodywork. On the one hand, there were the types that were easy to teach and practice, but had limited depth; on the other, there were types that were more rich and satisfying, but impossible to teach with clarity. It wasn’t until I trained with Judith Aston that I experienced what was, for me, the best of both worlds. 

The reality that I’ll always struggle with is this: material or teaching styles that don’t work for me may work just fine—or even be ideal—for others! It’s hard to appreciate what it’s like to be someone else. 

The simplest thing I can say about all this is that some learners seem to respond best if they’re given protocols to practice, and others if they’re given principles to apply. I’m that second type: when someone gives me something to practice, my mind wants to know “why!” I think that some others, when hearing principles and ideas, want to be given “something to do.”

In our teaching, we’re trying to appeal to both types. We spend less time talking about principles than we could, and we spend a lot of time teaching specific techniques. I hope that our principles shine through the examples we use!