How We Learn:

C.S. Peirce, Steele MacKaye and more!

The Alexander Technique in the context of progressive education: a look at the social cultural milieu influencing F.M. Alexander and leading educators of his time. 

Workshop by Ed Bouchard

with Ann Rodiger as Irene Tasker and Carol Boggs as Carolyn Pratt


Sunday March 16

2-5 pm


Balance Arts Center

34 W. 28th St. 3rd floor

NYC, NY 10001


Limited Enrollment 

Fee:  $35

Alexander Trainees:  $25

Live Video Streaming available:  $35 

(Live Video Streaming Link will be emailed 24 hours before event.)

Register: HERE

Contact: Ann Rodiger, 646.526.6515


How do we learn?

Early 20th century educational reformers sought to expand the arena of experiential learning and teaching to all areas of knowledge and life. This workshop explores the legacies of 20th century social and educational reform in relation to the F.M. Alexander Technique.

New School Professor Horace Kallen, recalled that during his lessons with Alexander circa 1916, Alexander told him he “had gotten the idea by reading [William] James” (Kallen, 1959, p. 27). Professor Kallen was an editor of James’ last book. John Dewey, who taught James’ educational psychology to his students at the University of Chicago in the 1890's, reported that his repeated lesson experiences with Alexander gave him a ‘means-whereby’ that “bears the same relation to education that education itself bears to all other human activities.”

In this workshop, we will explore closely related pedagogies of William James, John Dewey, their mentor the American polymath C.S. Peirce. Peirce and James’ mutual friend the actor/playwright/scene-designer Steele MacKaye (his method of psycho-physical teaching), as well as Alexander’s teaching assistant Irene Tasker (at Darlington College in England before she met Alexander), and the progressive educators Carolyn Pratt and Lucy Sprague Mitchell (with whom Alexander also interacted in New York City).

Their contributions provide insight as to how to understand the Alexander Technique as a basis for education that we can continue today.

The workshop will include a lecture as well as practical experience.

Ed Bouchard will outline the historical contexts of Irene Tasker’s classes for children at Darlington College and the impetus of Caroline Pratt’s classes at Play School (the school Alexander commented on in Man’s Supreme Inheritance, 1918 edition). To further expand this material, Ann Rodiger will lead us in experiences as taught by Irene Tasker before meeting Alexander and Carol Boggs will lead us in experiences as taught by Caroline Pratt at Play School.

This lecture was first presented at the Chicago AmSAT 2013 ACGM with Ed Bouchard and Lisa DeAngelis.