• Yehudit Sidikman

The Essence of our Work


One of my current projects is going through the El HaLev instructor manual and making sure the language reflects the spirit of what we teach.


Over the past twenty-five years, the language we use to teach has shifted in a small but significant way.


As instructors, our job isn’t to tell people what to do. Do we suggest, “Try it this way?”


Or, “Use your voice a little more?” Or, “Use your body a little more.”


Do we talk about what we might do in a particular situation?


Absolutely.


So why is this distinction so important?


Well…. We really want the people we teach to feel they have control over their own choices.

Well…. We really want the people we teach to feel they have control over their own choices.


Our job is to provide our students with opportunities to practice making decisions about what feels right for them.


That is the essence of our work.


If a student isn’t comfortable with an activity, we say, “That’s okay. Let’s see if we can find something else that may feel a little more empowering to you.”

For example, we might be tempted to tell people not to giggle. We might worry that giggling might make somebody seem nervous and lacking in confidence.


But who knows? Giggling might not work for us, but it might for someone else. We have no way of knowing that.


At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves if we got our students to connect to their inner fierceness.

At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves if we got our students to connect to their inner fierceness.


Students deserve to leave class knowing that they have a spectrum of options available to them, and they have the “freedom to choose” (see where the name of the course comes from?) the option that will help them get home as safely as possible.

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