The first training course was started by FM Alexander in London in 1931, under the patronage of the Earl of Lytton, Dr Peter Macdonald and Sir Lynden Macassey, with the support of a number of educational and medical authorities.
Courses are now run by a Head of Training and are approved by Alexander-Technik-Verband Deutschland (ATVD) e.V. before G.L.A.T. - Gesellschaft der Lehrer/innen der F.M. Alexander-Technik e.V., which is a widely recognised professional teaching body, established in 1984.
In addition to the German training courses, similar courses are run by affiliated societies of Alexander teachers in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Israel, The Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA.
On completing a course satisfactorily, students receive a certificate and the ATVD’s authorisation to teach the Alexander Technique. Qualifying students are eligible to apply for Ordinary (ie teaching) Membership of ATVD.
Since Alexander teachers are often called upon to work with people of widely differing ages, needs and interests, almost any form of previous training and experience can be an advantage, but is not essential. A thorough course of instruction in the Technique on the basis of individual lessons is necessary before training as a teacher.
Following an initial visit to a school and an interview with the Head of Training, candidates may be accepted for the course of training which lasts three and a half years.
The usual academic terms are observed: mid-September to late December, early January to Easter, and from the end of the Easter holiday to late July, amounting in total to 36 weeks per year. Classes are held for three and a half hours per day, including break, four days a week from Tuesday to Friday.
Students also undertake additional study in their own time and need to be able to organise their routine of work and practice without undue stress and fatigue. It is essential for students to know how to employ the Technique personally before they can learn to teach it to others.
In class, the work is mainly of a practical nature and instruction is usually given individually or in small groups (the student:teacher ratio is never more than 5:1). Time is provided for lectures or discussions on relevant basic anatomy and physiology and a wide course of reading is recommended according to the special needs and interest of the individual.
The study of FM Alexander's own writings and other set works is essential. Other topics are covered by lectures and practical demonstrations.
In the final year practical teaching experience is gained by working under supervision on members of the public.