Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Pictures and practices

Blog sparks real debate on conductive practice?

Yesterday's two items on Conductive World, stemming from the recently published Chinese study on CE and Frenkel have occasioned parallel attention on Susie Mallett's Conductor blog, where Judit Szátmary has taken exception to Susie's choice of picture and more fundamentally to how she works with ataxia.

The following is what I have contributed there (typos corrected!) to what I hope will be a continuing discussion.

Pictures and practices

1. Pictures

I think that the very first CE blog was Leticia’s Con Amor. I have always been cheered and attracted by the photographs that have opened her every posting (though I have never had the nerve to ask her whether she takes them herself!).

I wish that I had the know-how and the energy to put pictures on Conductive World. I really envy those who can brighten up grey acres of the written world. I would particularly like to include cartoons, like ‘real’ newspapers and magazines do. If I did I would soon run into copyright problems. I would also doubtless cause frissons amongst those whose taste and sense of humour are other than my own, less ’British’ perhaps.

I doubt that I would favour either froggy threesomes or winsome babies wearing large glasses. I would care about being chased over copyright but as for the other, Frankly my dear…’

2. Practices

When I began by own activities in the blogosphere, I wrote:
  • This blog is private property, the facility for comments grants open house and I shall treat visitors here as my guests, with respect. If the analogy helps, think of this blog as my front garden on the Internet. If I see litter, offensive material or other rubbish left there I shall just clear it up.
People should be free, nay encouraged, to criticise whatever they see on the Internet, be that images or text. On my own site I have never yet felt the need to clear anything like that away. Where Comments have jarred I have welcomed them as objets trouvés and integrated them into the design, and advanced my own understanding by doing so.

Here we have something of absolutely fundamental importance for Conductive Education as a whole. We have a genuine disagreement of opinion over conductive pedagogic practice, publicly expressed. Is this a first for Conductive Education. It certainly will be if others join in the discussion, corroborating on opinion or another, or introducing others. The joints of conductive pedagogic practice have grown arthritic over the years for lack of intellectual argument of this sort. Keep at it ladies (and gents).

For me the fundamental question here is not simply a question of ataxic movements, or speed of movement, or tremors, important though these be for children/adults with ataxia and their parents/carers, and for the conductors who work with them. Behind this specific there looms a huge general problem within CE, unspoken, but I can hardly believe unrecognised. How to adjudicate between two different practices/understandings? How to resolve conflicts of opinion? Should one even try to do so? Where is the authority’? How is it decided? Where is the evidence for this or for that way of doing things?

This is not a matter of ataxia or any other such specific. It runs through the system like the lettering through a stick of rock.

How do we get somewhere technically better founded that then present system seems to offer? One can think of expensive ways to doing this, for example:
  • some open-minded and basic critical evaluation of a range of present practices,
  • leading to some basic R&D (research and development)
  • more frequent written reports of actual conductive practice (by conductors and their clients, as well as by outsiders)
  • discussion groups, debates, working parties around particular issues
  • just good old fashioned argument.
Judit asks Susie:
  • I don’t know what you mean when saying slowing movements down “with ataxic clients”. Susie please explain…

Quite right, Judit. We should all be asking such questions all the time. Could you then also please explain your own position on this.

That these things even need saying is a mark of something deeply worrying the state of Conductive Education.

At the moment, twenty-odd years since CE first came West (topographically, anyway) I am faced with the spectacle of two experienced conductors, trained in the same place (both under then steely gaze of Mária Hári), with apparently diametrically opposed approached to a particular problems. What questions should I and others ask in such a situation?

  • Are they talking about the same conditions?-
  • The same age-stages?
  • The same tasks?
  • Or (as I naggingly suspect) something more fundamental?-
  • Where in the ‘conductive literature' can I look any of this up?
Please, if you have practical contributions to make to this discussion, direct them to the Comments section at the foot of:


1 comment:

  1. When I hear, see, feel a genuine request I am eager to participate. This is just my way, and my point of you. I am aware that what I hear, see and feel is just my own interpretation and I could be so wrong… I have a need to communicate that way… I am still patiently waiting for an authentic group and/or individuals who are prepared to really converse about everything related to Conductive Education… Soul, heart and mind together. The rest is just bubbles in the air. I set up my blog on 3rd October 2008 on my birthday…it has been nearly 6 months. I posted my comments on fellow blogers’ blogs, I also e-mailed them privately and I also expressed my own points of views on my blog. It has been a good exercise and I learnt a lot about where we are and what we are about.
    My conclusion is that CE is a personal issue to most if not everyone (including myself). There is a wonderful and incredible gift in Conductive Education and also in other methods and systems, but up to date we the Conductive World failed to work together, respect each other and come up with the standards and credibility we all richly deserve.