Meet the Scholar, Support the Program!

This week, we are proud to introduce our doctoral student to all of you and announce that Teachers College has established an endowment fund to support research in Psychophysical Education. Our hope is that this fund will eventually provide sustaining support not just for our student, Ms. Fenamore, but for future scholars interested in carrying on work in this field. This is a profoundly exciting time for the Institute. If you agree, please consider making a donation to support this, the first doctoral program in psychophysical education. Your contribution will be directly responsible for establishing Psychophysical Education and Alexander’s discoveries as a respected field within the realm of education and, of course, it will be 100% tax deductible.  With that, let’s meet the talent…

MEET THE SCHOLAR: Tara Fenamore

527588_10152674464405304_1476482809_n-e1470155851168Tara Fenamore has taught children and teens in New York City and Jersey City since 2013. She is a 2012 graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she studied literature, religion, and dance. In 2015, she matriculated into an M.A. Program in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. While at TC, she discovered the emerging field of Psychophysical Education, pioneered by Dr. Theodore Dimon. Excited by the work, Tara subsequently became a full-time student at The Dimon Institute. She considers it a great privilege to contribute to the development of this field.

 

IN HER OWN WORDS

What do you hope to achieve with this program?
This program will examine the formation of habits in childhood education, with a focus on attention, motor coordination, and behavioral issues that interfere with the proper function of the motor system. I have to emphasize that my relationship to the work, and conception of my purpose within it, will develop and transform throughout the next three years of coursework – and beyond. I am at the very beginning of a life-long journey, and the scope of my vision at this nascent stage is limited as compared to its development over time. For now, I am very interested in assessing the precise conditions under which the natural coordination and intrinsic function of the motor system become disrupted. Identifying the culturally and educationally instituted habits of use that result in the disorder of this system is imperative, especially if we are going to introduce remedial changes into the institution of education. It is, after all, the institution of education that systematically preserves our cultural and behavioral habits through intergenerational training. We have to begin by reconstructing educational policy and practice if we are to assuage the system of “routine habits,” to quote John Dewey, that controls our behavior and self-use to deficient ends. I hope that my research culminates in the establishment of a new diagnostic in early childhood development that practically addresses the functional design of the neuromuscular system. Such a diagnostic will more reliably secure optimal health and function throughout the lifespan. With that knowledge, we can develop curricula and eventually launch a pilot program that tests their efficacy in the classroom.

What excites you most about this work?
It is exciting to pioneer a new field! What about this project isn’t exciting to me!? Honestly, I couldn’t have envisioned a project or vocation that suits my interests and sensibilities more perfectly. The work is at the intersection of educational theory, philosophy, ethics, psychology, neuroanatomy, the motor sciences: It captures the full breadth of humanity.

I am most excited about playing a part in encouraging new cultural and educational values that will redefine what it means to be a human being in the world. I can’t help but wonder what the preservation of the natural functioning of our psychophysical design through “intelligent habits,” to quote Dewey, will mean for our conduct throughout the lifespan. My hope is that this work can accord a mindfulness of behavior and conduct that lasts into adulthood. We will see!

Readers, send us your questions!
If you’re interested in learning more about the program, or in hearing more from Tara as she progresses in her studies, send us an email! Next week’s blog will highlight a piece of Tara’s writing that dives into her thoughts on John Dewey, conduct, and Alexander’s means-whereby principle. It’s a unique and exciting perspective on an idea that our AT community has often pondered. We hope you’ll read it and enjoy!