The three-day Language of Movement course has long been an important one for me. The thesis of the course is that the body’s nonverbal language is as potent as words—sometimes more so—and benefits from finding acknowledgment. This graduate level course gives learners the opportunity to notice the layers of expression in their body language and see how these impact their goals and functioning.

To simplify this important concept: I find that the reasoning part of the brain can easily set a goal, yet for achievement such a goal needs to be aligned with the needs of the brain stem and autonomic nervous system. Otherwise a personal intention can activate the fight-or-flight or fight-or-freeze mechanisms of one’s most hardwired movement patterns, such as thrusting the ribs in aggression or tucking the tailbone to hold back in a “freeze mode.” In class, participants balanced daily and experienced the release of patterns they had hardly been aware of beforehand!

I enjoyed building community with these active, curious, and enthusiastic learners. I’ve have often thought that the phenomenal changes that can occur for people in a course like this are possible because of the high level of safety created in community.

Gail and I have long included in our courses forms of interactive play from The New Games Book: Play Hard, Play Fair, Nobody Hurt (New Games Foundation). In the late 1980s, borrowing from activities that our children were doing in the progressive Culver City schools, we expanded these games to include some of the cooperative learning methods. Later we learned firsthand about Spencer Kagan’s Cooperative Learning work when we took a two-day workshop to deepen our understanding of how playful collaboration supports learning.

© 2013 by Paul E. Dennison. All rights reserved.

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