The Alexander Technique is a method of carriage awareness and improvement — carriage in the sense of how you carry yourself, grace, lightness, ease of movement. It’s usually taught privately, the teacher certified by a professional society such as AmSAT, ATI, and STAT after undergoing three years of training. It was discovered and developed by F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), and today is widely known among musicians, dancers, and actors. Everyone, though, can benefit from the Alexander Technique. (For more about it, see STAT.)
The American philosopher John Dewey (1859-1952) recommended the Alexander Technique, and today teachers frequently use his endorsement in their advertisements. Further, Dewey claimed the Alexander Technique illustrated his own philosophy, and some teachers repeat that claim in their descriptions of the Technique.
A Google search for “Alexander Technique” shows how often Dewey’s endorsement gets used in Alexander Technique literature. Of the first ten websites it lists, seven of them feature Dewey’s endorsement or furnish a link to a site that does.
The question is: Is Dewey’s endorsement valuable?
The purpose of this website is to show that Dewey’s philosophy has nothing to do with the Alexander Technique, indeed is opposed to it, that Dewey’s philosophy is unattractive in other respects, and that teachers ought to shun Dewey’s testimonials.
The following pages are based on my contributions to an Alexander Technique discussion group. I have edited, reorganized and added to the original material.