By Anna Mitchell
Dubai is the second largest Emirate of the UAE, a country bordering the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia and Oman. It’s the trade and transport hub of the Middle East with over 2 million residents, over 80% of whom are expatriates. It’s a place that’s often in the news for its amazing architecture, tourist attractions, glamorous visitors and is the home of superlatives: biggest, best, shiniest, richest, tallest, most expensive. It’s an interesting and exciting place to live and work.
The climate is certainly different from home; we all love the winter as we get to put on our shorts and go to the beach, warm clothes are only for inside (the air conditioning can be quite intense!). Summer is the favourite time to escape the heat and this is the time that most expats choose to go visiting family back home. People here work hard and play hard. Life is stressful, people work long hours and the commuting traffic is insane, yet we make the most of the holidays with tourist attractions, sporting events, concerts with internationally famous stars and lots of nearby travel opportunities.
The school day here is busy, most schools start at 7.30am and the day is fast paced, children finish at 3.30pm and then most have an intense programme of after school activities as well as homework to complete. Outside play and unsupervised free time are often compromised. Access to nature is interesting — our choice is the desert or the beach! Children travel to and from school by car or bus, it’s rare to see children walking any distance or cycling.
There is an increasing focus on the use of technology in schools and the UAE Vision for 2021 has called for a “complete transformation of the current education system and teaching methods. The National Agenda aims for all schools, universities and students to be equipped with Smart systems and devices as a basis for all teaching methods, projects and research.” Everywhere has wifi: Dubai is really becoming a ‘Smart City’.
In this climate there is a desperate need for balance and that’s where we come in! There are many, many people that we can help.
Here at Kinesiology Dubai we teach Touch for Health and Brain Gym®, see lots of clients, hold talks in the community, as well as hosting visiting teachers.
Initially parents make appointments for their children. With a majority population of expatriates, all of whom must be employed in order for them to gain a visa, parents are both well-educated and employed in a good job, good enough anyway for them to leave their home country and afford to be able to live here. Dubai is an extremely expensive place! Schools for expatriates are all private, selective and claim to provide outstanding education although provisions for children who struggle with aspects of their learning are limited. People have come to Dubai with open minds and are open to exploring alternative ways to support their children.
We use Educational Kinesiology, Claire Hocking’s retained reflex programme, Touch for Health and other Kinesiology techniques to help children with basic skills; coordination, homo-lateral and cross-lateral movement patterns, eye tracking, handwriting as well as concentration, communication and emotional balance.
Parents enjoy helping their children complete the exercises at home and teachers at school are often interested to incorporate the techniques into their lessons. Once they have seen the results of kinesiology sessions then of course adults want to try it and even learn it themselves.
Brain Gym® and Touch for Health classes are popular here. We schedule some classes in the mornings so that students, who are mostly mums, can arrange their school runs! Although students come from all over the world and represent many different cultures and religions, classes focus on sharing common ground, the similar challenges that we are all facing and how we can balance to deal with them.
We continually look to enhance opportunities for our students and to this end we have hosted many visiting teachers; Paul Dennison, Sandy Gannon, Claire Hocking, Henry Remanlay, Nikki Barratt, Anne Jensen to name a few. Dubai is a useful place to stop when you are on your way to somewhere else so it fits in very well with teachers who have an international schedule. It’s important to create and maintain links with the rest of the world and we are very lucky to have the support from the fabulous TFH community in the UK with Sandy Gannon as our Faculty.
Dubai is a transient place. Work visas here are for 3 years only and whilst some people do stay here for many years it’s not uncommon to relocate back home or accept another contract abroad somewhere else within 2-5 years. As such it’s really important to us to ensure that our students gain skills that are easily transferable. Our students love the fact that they are able to begin the TFH or the Eduk curriculum here and complete it should they move.
In the past year in fact we’re delighted to let you know that a few members have started their own practices on their return to their home countries:
“Back in my home country Austria, I realise how fortunate I was to live in Dubai and do my Kinesiology education on an international ground. I had the opportunity to meet amazing teachers and colleagues from all over the world. I had the honour to do my TFH instructor training with Matthew Thie. We were lucky that Sandy Gannon became a mentor for us and she taught many fabulous courses in Dubai – Reactivity, Vibrations, and 5 Elements In Depth. Paul Dennison taught us with Total Core Repatterning and Movement Re-Education and I was able to soak in his extensive knowledge. Henry Remanlay, always an inspiration to me and Claire Hocking from Australia with her powerful integration of the infant reflexes. I am grateful for every single experience!”
Renate Dietz was a founder member of Kinesiology Dubai and is now establishing her own practice in Vienna, Austria, seeing clients and teaching Touch For Health and Brain Gym® www.kinesiology.at
“After 9 years living, working and studying in Dubai I recently returned home with my family to Devon and I am in the process of setting up a practice to bring these wonderful techniques to my home city of Exeter.
Whilst living in Dubai I completed my qualifications as a Touch for Health Practitioner and Brain Gym Instructor I joined Kinesiology Dubai and became part of a wonderful group of Practitioners and Instructors, contributing in a small way to the vision of growing awareness of kinesiology in our incredibly diverse community. My journey of learning was very empowering as well and enjoyable and I made some wonderful likeminded friends along the way.”
Sian Worth is now setting up her own practice in Devon, UK.
Anna Mitchell, founder of Kinesiology Dubai is a Brain Gym® Instructor, Professional Kinesiologist and IKC trainer for the UAE. She has been working with Kinesiology for the past 12 years and formed Kinesiology Dubai 5 years ago with a vision to create a platform for learning and sharing throughout the region.
She teaches the TFH Synthesis, TFH Proficiency and Holographic TFH as well as Brain Gym 101 and Optimal Brain Organisation. She is also an experienced teacher with over 20 years in primary and secondary schools.