Who can teach the Rock and Water Course?
Any educator can use the ideas and materials from this course. By trying out the exercises in pairs and in groups, participants feel the physical reactions and can make their own mental links to the issues of strength and confidence. Female educators comment that they find the workshop energising and useful. The simple exercises are powerful tools for the classroom.
The information below complements the overview. There are a number of Rock and Water books and DVDs available for purchase from the Family Action Centre. Go to our publications section for details or to download a catalogue.
Rock and Water for primary schools
A major task for the students and their educators is to learn to value and to control the enormous energy which is so typical for students in the eldest groups of primary school. These students have a very strong focus on physical action and achievement, so that is the starting-point of each lesson. The program teaches them to use their power in a more effective way and shows them how to deal with different kinds of conflicts(the 'rock-and-water' attitude).
Students learn to stand stronger in many ways. In the playground and the classroom they learn to identify their limitations and possibilities, learn to communicate more effectively, learn to feel, set and defend their own boundaries and to respect others' boundaries too.
Some basic self-defence skills are taught. The emphasis is on simple, harmless wrestling forms such as the tai-chi exercise of "pushing-hands". Physical contact exercises are linked with other forms of communication in order to improve communication abilities. This physical approach encourages discipline and perseverance in the students and teaches them how to deal with conflicts without losing self control.
Rock and Water for secondary schools
Students learn to stand stronger in many ways. As an important part of communication they learn to sense, set and defend own boundaries, particularly in situations of group pressure. They also learn to respect other boundaries, particularly those of girls.
Students learn how to use their imagination in enlarging their mental power in reaching a physical goal, but they also learn to use positive thoughts in order to reach their goals in everyday life.
Some basic self-defence skills are taught in order to teach students how to control and develop their power. This physical approach demands discipline and perseverance and teaches students how to deal with conflicts without losing self control.
The Rock and Water Program at secondary level addresses the themes of: standing strong; rock-and-water attitude; mental power; awareness of boundaries; empathetic feeling; intuition training; prevention of sexual violence; group pressure; homophobia; body language and groupdynamics; success strategies; and expressing respect to others.
The program is very active with lots of physical exercises alternated with group-discussions. Each lesson is supported with questions and simple assignments in order to make a successful integration with everyday life.
Non-teachers working with students
During Freerk Ykema's tours of Australia in 1999 and 2003, police, youth, community health, juvenile justice, Aboriginal liaison, drug and alcohol, mental health accommodation support staff (as well as bouncers, karate instructors and parent volunteers) all participated in and completed the course. Their evaluations were extremely positive.
The lessons are adaptable and the physical/social approach is applicable where any service is trying to connect to young males.
Educators concerned about making students "even stronger"
Some educators are understandably nervous at the idea of making students even stronger. They are afraid that this will cause more trouble, strengthen the "be tough, be cool" culture and make life more difficult for girls. They don't trust the students to develop well.
But trusting that the students can be strong and respectful is the basis of this course. Trust is also essential to forming good relationships with students. It is not the same as blanket approval. A boy knows and feels when someone doesn't trust him, when someone only sees his misbehavior and can't see his qualities. This can be the turning-point: you can't feel connection with a person who doesn't trust you, and without connection it is very difficult to accept and integrate knowledge.
We will need trust to understand our students and help them find their way in society and help them to develop themselves. The Rock and Water program tries to do this.
As an educator I do trust students. I want them to grow in their self confidence and I want all of us be proud of our students and their qualities.