As an elementary school teacher in Ontario there is a standard set by the province that we must live up to. The standards of practice for being a teacher in Ontario are:
1. Professional Knowledge – Your understanding of the content and what you are expected to teach.
2. Professional Practice – The application of your professional knowledge and delivery of the curriculum in the most effective and efficient way to ensure student success.
3. Leadership in Learning Communities – The promotion and participation in the creation of collaborative, safe and supportive learning communities. Do you recognize your shared responsibilities and leadership roles in order to facilitate student success?
4. On-Going Professional Learning – Being a life long learner who is committed to keeping continued professional practice and self-directed learning as informed by experience, research, collaboration and knowledge.
“With Movement Efficiency Comes Great Responsibility….” ~ Erwan Le Corre (but I’d like to think I just made it up)
Hopefully it is as obvious to you as it was to me at how closely this overlaps with the principles and ethics of MovNat, and thus why I was so excited and committed to exploring it further. I also recognize that I am part of the problem in creating zoo humans, and I want to do as much as I can to change that. Look at the unfairness of my situation – school occurs in institutionalized environments where children are forced to learn how to sit in confined spaces for minutes, sometimes hours at a time while moving very little. Although initiatives are in place to encourage daily physical activity, the fiscal and time allotment given to athletic programs and physical education programs are constantly being reduced (sadly, so are the arts). I have always tried my best to look for ways around the budget constraints to make student learning not only fun but also relevant and meaningful….and like the students that I teach, I also need to move!!!! Now that I have this new found understanding and skill I feel an essential duty (and desire) to integrate it into my teaching practice as much as I possibly can.
Added to this, I also have the extra adversity of technology – in some ways it makes teaching so much more effective with the access to greater quality visual examples, but it is also my greatest enemy when competing with video games and it’s contribution to an even more sedentary lifestyle for many kids. Each year I teach I can see how young children are becoming resistant to moving and are beginning to lose their natural movement patterns at an earlier and earlier age. One of my professional goals as a MovNat instructor is to look for ways to bring it into the public education system. I’m starting small – merely at the level of my classroom for now, but I can see this branching out to school level, and eventually the board level…and beyond.
Something I have realized is that not only are there personal growth/development opportunities within the 13 MovNat movement skills (which is a lifetime volume of work in itself for me!), but also I feel within the 10 MovNat Principles. For the school setting (and as part of my teaching standards of practice of Leadership in Learning Communities) I am most interested in exploring more possibilities with the MovNat principle of Co-operation. How incredibly amazing would it be to help children learn movement aptitudes that they can then practice with others in order to achieve a goal/task that they couldn’t have achieved alone? Seriously amazing! Bullying is a predominant cancer in the school system, and I’ve found this type of emphasis to be the best cure. Students realizing that they are strong and can move and live with purpose and meaning on their own, and as part of a group. There is comfort in that sense of belonging that improves their esteem and self-worth.
“Too much comfort is not in fact very comfortable.” ~ Erwan Le Corre
One of my best friends in the whole world (who is also a teacher) taught me to “try one thing each day that absolutely terrifies you.” It started out almost like a giddy school-girl game – being incredibly shy (which I know is hard to believe given how much I love to talk), I can remember building up the courage to talk to that cute guy, or tryout for a club or team I wasn’t sure I would make….but it quickly evolved into one of our mantras for life. Look for ways to make yourself uncomfortable, completely out of your comfort zone (mentally and physically) and find ways to make peace and accept the situation calmly and with grace. Easy to say, extremely tough to do. I was always good at connecting this idea physically – in sports I always liked to push my limits to the point where I would want to quit, and would practice controlling my breath and becoming at peace with the pain (in the good way, not the stupid get injured way). From there it wasn’t hard to also adapt to mental situations – changes in routine, work environments, eating patterns etc… This ability to adapt and find comfort with the uncomfortable is one of the biggest things I ask from my students. If it is the expectation I have for my students, then it HAS to be something I am willing to model for them.
Experiencing the MovnNat cert was one of those scary moments for me. I had to put myself out there in front of others and allow my movement to be scrutinized and evaluated. I was terrified. But I did it. And the best part? Not having to do it alone. I’d like to say that there was something unique about the people in my group – and there definitely was. We all shared the same interest in MovNat and used that common bond to support one another. That support helped me make it through the course. However, I had the same experience during 2 , two day workshops that I have attended, as well as the 5-day expansion course in West Virginia. That, and the support and patience that also comes from the amazing high quality instruction you receive. Erwan and Kellen are truly amazing in every sense of the word. I think it is MovNat that is unique and that creates the environment, for those who are willing, to experience something that pulls you together and creates a lasting impact and connection….but none of that personal growth can happen if you resist or are too rigidly dependent upon staying comfortable.
My advice to someone wanting to take the MovNat Trainer Certification:
1. Take a MovNat Workshop first. Seriously. No matter how athletic you are (or think you are), you need exposure to the movement patterns and how to perform them efficiently. I attended 2, two day workshops in Toronto, as well as the 5 day West Virginia expansion course, and I know for a fact that without those experiences I don’t think I could have passed (and I come from a very athletic background). The only exception might be gymnasts or pole vaulters (have you seen Amy Heidbreder? She’s a MovNat goddess!).
2. Practice, Practice, Practice. I know…. a little obvious. But once you have some knowledge about how to move efficiently, you actually need to reset your body. This doesn’t happen overnight. Awesome results if you are willing to commit. After 2 years of practicing MovNat I lost over 20# and I move better then I did probably 20 years ago! I should also add to practice your weaknesses. Don’t just do the stuff you’re good at because it’s fun. You’ll have much more success if you are equally comfortable across many different movement patterns.
3. Free Your Mindfulness – Be willing to learn something in a way that you might not be used to, or may seem uncomfortable at first. Step outside your comfort zone and pay attention to how your body (and mind) reacts to it. Breathe. Knowing how much tension or relaxation to give and when to give it is very connected to your state of mind.