KT/L Practice

My adventures in KT/L are ongoing and varied. To the untrained eye they might seem to be unconnected, but for me all the work has the KT/L thread running through the center. Whether we are exploring fractions or geography or how to read or to sing in key, we’re learning through our bodies and our sense of movement and change.

What’s the situation? Who is this learner? What does he want? What is she trying to do? Where’s the gap? What’s needed to help this learner build his or her own bridge to the material? What do I notice...sense...feel? What is this sensation telling me and how can I respond skillfully and in a way that will help things along? Wherever I’m working with a person or a group, these are the questions.

Below are some aspects of my KT/L practice and some stories that have come from it.

Stories: As I continue exploring KT/L, there are more and more Stories to tell; some of them are here.

Lifeboat Kids & Educational Alternatives: A difficult phenomenon has emerged in our culture: more and more learners, often between the ages of 14 and 21, are unhappily adrift in the confusing world of their own education. Education, rather than functioning as a support and a foundation from which they can springboard into their future, has become a weight around their necks. Scholastically, they have checked out. These are the “Lifeboat Kids,” and they need support--a lifeboat--and they need to know that they do have options. I have had the privilege of working with a number of these amazingly intuitive, sensitive learners. I’ve found that when they get the space and the support they need, they generally create their own pathways towards their futures and regain their original, engaged and curious natures.

Math: One Halloween I wrote math problems, equations, and math word problems all over a white T-shirt. Walking around school that day, I got two kinds of responses: “What’s with the T-shirt?” some would ask, a little confused. Others recoiled in fear immediately. One woman just said, “Now, that _is_ scary!” My KT/L math work began with the story
Just Keep Drilling Her. Today, I work with a limited number of individuals each year, using multi sensory techniques to help learners revive and restore their native number sense, and to reframe and rebuild math understanding from the ground up, creating a new solid foundation for future learning. I think of it as making peace with math, and I’m hoping that the delightful mysteries of math will someday be enjoyable for all of us.

Literacy for Mental Health: Unbelievably, Medicare and Medicaid won’t reimburse treatment programs for teaching attendees how to read, so recovery centers cannot afford to offer literacy classes. Those in recovery (and their support networks) have no problem seeing the vital connection between educational assistance and healing, so why not fund it? Frustrated by this situation, I started a volunteer literacy program at the McClendon Center in March, 2010. These adults know what they want and need, so the learning is self-directed. We work on writing, reading and speech as well as number sense, basic math skills and financial literacy.

Music and Musicking: Music has been part of my life since before I can remember. I have worked as a performer, composer, songwriter, back-up singer, hand percussionist, producer, arranger, and teacher. Some of the most meaningful work I’ve done in music is to help people overcome what this culture calls “tone deafness,” which in some cultures. I’m told, does not exist at all. Musicking is bringing people together for community music making and experiencing. I’ve facilitated Musicking for groups of all ages and with a wide range of cognitive profiles.

T’ai Chi Ch’uan: I’ve been enjoying the benefits of T’ai Chi Ch’uan for over thirty years, and I’ve had the honor of introducing newcomers to the depths and delights of T’ai Chi Ch’uan since the year 2000.I teach in and around the Washington, DC area. For more about this, see my
Tenleytown T’ai Chi website, tenleytowntaichi.com

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense: Suzette Haden Elgin’s ingenious GAVSD program is the T’ai Chi of social interactions. Elgin gives us the tools to achieve the goal of creatiing an atmosphere in which verbal abuse almost never happens, and, in the rare instances in which it does, to take care of it swiftly and skillfully, with no loss of face on either side. Her books are wonderful, but in order to really put this plan into action, you have to practice it _before_ you need it. I’s always an honor to present Elgin’s work experientially to new groups of people.

Biotensegrity: The theory of biotensegrity was originated by Dr. Stephen M. Levin, an orthopedic and spine surgeon. His epiphany regarding the architecture of biologic life came after seeing Kenneth Snelson’s tensegrity sculpture Needle Tower at the Hirshorn Museum here in Washington, DC. Since that day in 1975 he has been sharing his theory of tensegrity in biology worldwide (see biotensegrity.com). My own study of biotensegrity theory has helped me to unravel some of the mysteries of the T’ai Chi Classic writings, among other things, and I co-founded the Washington, DC Biotensegrity Interest Group (DC BIG) in 2012 with Maureen McHugh. I believe that once people are able to make the paradigm shift that biotensegrity theory demands, it will become clear that many assumptions in biology and medicine will have to be re-examined, and the treatments and procedures that have been founded on misleading models of bodies as machines will have to be re-evaluated as well.