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Tropical Teaching

What a special treat it was to be invited by Complmentary Health Seminars to be one of the lecturers presenting at the first inaugural COMPHS International teaching series. Over all there were three factors that made this teaching experience special for me, the environment, the student interactions outside of class time and the unparalleled opportunity to teach and learn outside of the regular routine of life, which can often detract or diminish the teaching/learning experience.

First of all the surrounds for the teaching experience were simply divine. It was like teaching in an enchanted tropical forest, fragrant flowers around every corner, trees swaying gently in the breeze and the ocean and gorgeous pools right outside the door of the teaching room. The room itself was well laid out, spacious and comfortable for all of us.  Each morning and afternoon tea was a different selection of hot and cold tasty sweet and savoury treats. The venue was perfectly suited to three days of intense study.

The next special feature of teaching/learning off shore is that of the bond it created between myself and the students. We were together from the beginning of the day until the end, sharing our breaks and also delicious lunches, which were provided for us in the restaurant on the beach. The opportunity to find out about each other while enjoying meals meant that we got to experience each other as individuals with life stories, rather than just classroom peers. I feel that this really gave each of us a deeper understanding of why we are all massage therapists, which in itself is therapeutic.

We all agreed that massage is a lonely profession at times and sharing our wisdom in such a casual environment made the classroom time even more profound for each one of us, me included. In my opinion the students were more tolerant of each other and willing to help in the classroom environment through encouragement and honest interaction.

Finally learning in an ‘away from home’ situation is definitely a bonus when it comes to trying to intake and retain new information. None of my students had to go home and deal with getting dinner organised, seeing clients, helping kids with homework and any of the other tasks which must be performed every day in our ‘usual lives’. The most they had to get done was choose somewhere for dinner, have a relaxing dip in the ocean or pool and re-read their notes, usually while enjoying post class cocktails in the beach bar.

As a teacher I could see the difference that this made in their ability to remember the teaching from the previous days. It was also obvious how relaxed everyone was and this vibe carried through into the classroom, helping to free up their minds and hearts for learning and applying the new technique. And the best bit of the MLD course in Bali is that unlike Australia, which is a two-day class, this one is a three-day course. This meant that students could perform full practice sessions with me to guide them. This built not only their confidence in the new technique, but also their hands on skills, which is the basis of any great MLD treatment.

I absolutely loved my time in Bali teaching MLD and wish to sincerely thank all of my students who made it so fun and memorable. I look forward to doing it all again in 2014!

By Michelle Vassallo

Australia's principal supplier of massage equipment & accessories

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