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Fibromyalgia and the Feldenkrais method: Action research examining the teacher–student dynamic in transfer of learning

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This action research brought together a group of Feldenkrais teachers and two groups of primarily female students living with fibromyalgia. The aim of the study was to work together to develop ways to allow the students to transfer knowledge acquired during weekly Feldenkrais lessons into their everyday lives. Based on the analysis of the empirical data collected, the research team developed a theoretical model of transfer of learning that calls attention to the importance of the student–teacher dynamic in the transfer of learning process. While this process may be different for each person, we argue that it occurs in three identifiable stages: (1) learning about the Feldenkrais method in the classroom; (2) applying the content and/or pedagogy of the Feldenkrais classes in everyday life; and (3) integrating knowledge gained through Feldenkrais classes into various spheres of one’s life. Despite the positive testimonies obtained throughout this action research, the authors of this article emphasize that the Feldenkrais method should not be seen as a panacea. Emphasis on the first-person experience, which is the basis of the Feldenkrais method, may run the risk of depoliticizing the broader social forces that contribute to the production and reproduction of fibromyalgia.
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Keywords: Feldenkrais method; action-research; fibromyalgia; post-structuralism; somatics; transfer of learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Université du Québec à Montréal

Publication date: December 1, 2018

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