Moving without Moving: An Exploration of Somatic Learning as Transformative Process in Adult Education

This presentation is about using movement in adult education and learning. Hiroyuki Aoki (of Shintaido) “What is received by the body will . . . ” Just as we started in the session, and Luis had us stand and do two physical movements with sounds of A and O as we were moving. Somewhat strange feeling for me, so I am interested in how he is going to work this into his presentation. As his background, he is interested in martial arts, experiential learning, and movement and physical theatre classes.

How has this movement influenced and engage in learning and reflection?

Somatic learning includes five elements:

  1. breath
  2. stillness
  3. sound
  4. movement
  5. touch

I have experienced some somatic work before, and think it is all over the place in psychotherapy and meditation right now. It is interesting to see how this will relate with learning.

Social construction is another theoretical perspective that is being used, such as generate meaning together with dialogue and inquiry.

Affirmative competence was also used; it is an imagery technique through discipline and practice that athletes use to increase their performance. This is positive reinforcement and focusing on what is being done right.

Telling stories with our body (as per Shintaido):

  • Creates positive images
  • A repertoire of body movement constructs an expanded sense of self,
  • Posture translates into a way of being
  • Enhances relationships with others and nature
  • Encourages  fluidity and reflection

He is now speaking about imagination and metaphor as meaning making. OK, now I am getting lost. I know a bit about somatic work, though I am a bit confused. I am not sure I would be following this much if I did not already come in here knowing a bit off it. Getting distracted. I think I would leave if I were closer to the door, but too far away without distracting everybody. To be kind, I removed the presenter’s name from this session; I think he is just speaking about a topic that is in some way far beyond me. Too bad, as this seems processing. Perhaps reading his paper will be helpful  for me getting his point?

In non-Western ways of thinking, there is a holistic wisdom that already lies in the body. some initial movement is needed to tap into this wisdom.

I cannot figure out how he is linking these martial art disciplines with research. I see them related to somatic experiences. We then did one more somatic experience, standing up and touching a single finger with another person with eyes closed and then one person moving the finger with the other following with eyes closed, and then switching, and then both people having eyes closed and leading / following back and forth.

He ended the session doing an example of this as action research, with the knowing, learning, doing, etc.

Somebody asked a question about how the methodology, which involved interviewing 10 people within the context of a retreat.

I really need to read this paper. Something about it seems filled with promise and possibility, but I think I need to understand it better.