Sunday, 19 July 2009

Researching Conductive Education

A continuing discussion
  • On 4 July Conductive World posted an item called 'What use is physiotherapy?' This generated 14 comments, not about physiotherapy but on the need to evaluate Conductive Education.
  • On 7 July the discussion spilled over into Norman Perrin's Paces blog, generating three more comments
  • On 8 July a further posting on Conductive World asked, ''What future for Conductive Education?', attracting eight further comments.
  • On 14 July this thread of comments was then carried over with a third posting on Conductive World, called 'What use is Conductive Education?', that now has 19 comments appended to it.
  • On 18 July, one of these comments prompted a reflective piece on Susie Mallett's Conductor blog, about the complexity of the process-outcomes of conductive upbringing.
Perhaps therefore, it is time to refresh this discussion by bringing it back again to the top of the pile. I am therefore taking a very recent posting from the long thread that started on 14 July on Conductive World and republishing it here with greater prominence: so that more readers may see it.

This comment was written by Rony Schenker, in response to Judit Szatmary

Dear Judit,

You asked for a concrete suggestion. I can share with you what we in Tsad Kadima did.

A. I didn't ask what is stopping others to set up such research project, but rather 'What is stopping ME to set up such or other research projects?'

When I realized that it was nothing but the fear of finding again no significant results, I decided to search beneath the obvious and the already repeated studies which yield nothing. I decided to study my own backyard, Tsad Kadima's conductive services.

Nothing that pretends to be too grandiousic or too ambitious, just on a small scale as Tunde suggests. I was looking for evidence that something from what we do (whatever it is, the Israeli model/version of CE) can be proved to be beneficial.

Why study us? because I care about us, because I have the know-how, because it's accesible and it is relatively easy to receive consent from participants, we train students who are obliged to submit small-scale research thesis, and we have a board of directors who see the importance and advantages of running studies. It is also just the right thing to develop a service and reflect on it scientifically. Centers that, beyond providing services, run studies and train professionals are highly valuated nationwide.

It is also a great vehicle to spread the knowledge in national and international conferences, based on evidence.

B. What to study? That was easy! Tsad Kadima is a parent association and is claiming to providing a family-centered service. Many studies have shown that providing a family-centered service reduces parents' stress, increases parents' satisfaction from the service provided, as well as positively influencing the child's progress.

To my joy, today family-centered service is considered the best practice and there is a considerable number of assessment tools to measure with. I contacted CanChild in McMaster University, Canada and asked for permission to translate the measurements that it developed into Hebrew. It is now the third year in which I study this issue in a wider and wider manner.

The results for the time being are very interesting, I have presented them in various conferences in Israel, Practical applications were made according to the results, and actions have been taken to improve different aspect of the service. Currently I'm studying conductors' attitudes regarding working with families and measure the correlation between conductors attitudes and the degree to which our center is family centered.

C. I hope to present the whole study at the upcoming World Congress in Hong Kong.

Do I measure CE? Yes I do. Maybe differently but, as parents are the most essential part of our service-providers as well as service-acceptants, it is relevant to the Israeli CE system. It is one part of a whole, comprised of many elements, but again, we should be modest, and try to focus on what it is, rather than on what it isn't.

What's next to be studied? I'm sure that different people have different ideas, and if we could really find or create the leadership to develop this thinking into a large-scale project, it could have been the right thing to do. In the meanwhile let us start step by step and keep each other updated.

19 July 2009 18:45

Democratising this discussion

There's a lot to be said in response to this, to some of the other points raised in earlier threads of comments, and perhaps even more importantly about some of the questions that have not been raised.

So why not do so?

Conductive Education has no 'hierarchy of esteem'. The conductive world is a flat one! Nobody's views are more important than anyone else's and everyone's opinion is just as welcome.

And in view of the sad lack on extensive, accessible public discussion over the years around questions of 'Conductive Education research', it is less important at the present state of the art what precisely is said than that people get into the habit of expessing themselves at all. In other words, don't be abashed, express what you think anyway.

So take advantage of this, whoever you are, parents, disabled people. managers, fundraisers, complete outsiders, and even conductors! There are so many angles to be taken, share your perceptions and see how they chime with those of others.

Read the comments and perhaps add your own

Some people seem to find this difficult to manage but it is fairly simple as long as you are patient.

Click on the word COMMENTS at the foot of the posting and you will see all the comments so far posted on this item.

Below these you will see a box for your own comment if you wish to make one. Write what you want to say in the box provided. It does not need be long!

When you have finished and want to post it, ignore most of the complicated stuff that comes next. Just click on the button for NAME/URL and write your name (or a pseudonym) in the space provided. There is no need to give a URL, it will work without it.

Click on PREVIEW to check what you have written. Scroll back to change this if need be. Once you are satisfied, press PUBLISH.

If you want to remain anonymous then click the Anomymous button instead. Then there is nothing further for you to fill in. Or you might prefer to use a pseudonym or false name. Why not? Andras Peto used to (allegedly).

This discussion so far

Mallett, S. (2009) Quality of life, Conductor, 18 July

Perrin, N. (2009) Authors of their own life story, Paces, 7 July

Sutton, A. (2009) What use is physical therapy? Conductive World, 4 July

Sutton, A. (2009) What future for Conductive Education? Conductive World, 8 July

Sutton, A. (2009) What use is Conductiver Education? Conductive World, 14 July



  2. No, Judit.

    I cannot let you get away with this unremarked.

    The first of these links is to a song that includes the line, sung by a child:

    '...I can't be what I'm not'

    Is that a sentiment for a conductor to approve in a child?

    I couldn't find a text in the third of these links to see the context of the phrase in the URL: '...we cannot change the cards we are dealt with'. But again, as it is stated, do you really think that this is a proper sentiment (a theoretical stance) for a conductive pedagogue?

    I sure that your own actual practice in reality belies both the above sentiments, in which case why say them?

    Naive people might stumble upon your words and happily construe Conductive Education as some sort of Rousseauesque passive-acceptance of children's present state of development as the essence of what they are, and of what they should be.

    Is that what you really want people to think?


  3. Andrew…Please never let me get away with anything…
    I cannot ensure, that people will think what I intended them to think with any of my postings. People think what they want to think, or prepared to think, as they see what they prepared to see etc.

    With all my postings I aim to stimulate people’s creative essence.
    The heart and mind of those who are dealing with children and adults in education and rehabilitation. Basically anybody who cares to read my blog or my comments.
    I have enormous respect and compassion for humanity and I trust that they will pick up what they meant to pick up at that particular time of their life’s journey when they read me.

    I have been listening individuals whose life is affected by ‘ability and disability’ issues from many angles.
    Recently I was facilitating a little boy to make his first steps after a mayor surgery. He refused to make steps prior to our session. He knows me and was willing to give it a go. After the first few steps he had tears in his eyes and said to me: - it is so hard.
    Is it hard to step? -I asked. No he said- it is hard that everyone is given up on me. I am trying so hard with all the little strength that I have left, but I need people to help me to encourage me. I don’t need much, just this little and he shown me about a centimetre space between his index finger and thumb. By that time he was sitting on my lap…

    I was telling this story to another class of children later on when we had a little rest between preparations for standing tasks. One of the little boys who cannot speak yet leaned to my shoulder and shown me the same distance between his index finger and thumb, and with his eyes he said –we need only this little.

    These children work and want to work very hard for every little ‘steps’ towards their dreams. It takes lot of effort from them… but when they are not taken seriously and not encouraged they tend to give upon themselves. Who listens to them… really listens to them…

    “The first of these links is to a song that includes the line, sung by a child:

    '...I can't be what I'm not' “

    I cant be what I am not… can you read it this way… that I cannot be just a medical condition? I cannot be just a case? I cannot be put in a box and labelled as… (fill the gap)…and my whole life is to be set out only by people’s predetermination who are in charge of my whole future?
    Have we grownups arrived to the point yet in our lives and in our work to really listen to the children? They all have a message, but sometimes we are too busy following other people thoughts on the subject. Petö allegedly said: listen to the children, they will tell you how.

    Every child comes with a message for us to hear and change our perception and approach accordingly.

    The clip is about children singing, at some places slightly out of tune about… No matter what… they will try and try and try… and there might be a time when they don’t try anymore, as no one is there to hear.

    The end of the posting I put up a picture…light between two hands.
    These children and adults are precious lights of creation between our hands…

    “'...we cannot change the cards we are dealt with'.”
    At times we cannot change the circumstances we put in, the only power we have is how we play the hands with the cards in them.
    I was thinking more along this line …Circumstances don’t matter only state of mind matters.
    Are we doing enough to encourage people to be able to ‘step up’ and play the hands differently?
    Petö allegedly said: The pianist doesn’t play with his hands…the surgeon doesn’t operate with his hands… They both use their minds.

    Are we doing enough to remove the invisible straps around our hearts and minds, which are put on, positioned and fixed at the time when given wheelchairs, standing frames, splints etc.

    My whole being is far from promoting passive acceptance. Thank you for giving me the opportunity and the platform to clarify.

    Please never let me get away with anything…

    Best Wishes, Judit

  4. Just another thought…Readers might also ask why did I put up those links to this posting?
    Are they relevant at all?
    I thought they could be relevant when making decisions about how to research and what to research.

    When we teach any skills to any children generally… we don’t assume that these children are sick just because they don’t know those skills yet to be learned and mastered.
    Also they are not passive, empty ‘information receivers’ to be fixed, but living, thinking, knowing individuals with a lot to say.

    Petö believed and built his whole system of education that neurological problems are organisational problems thus a better organisation needs to be taught.

    Any learning is an organisational problem in a sense that the new information, which is given, has to be integrated into the already known to create something new.

    So if we can accept that, the research must be set out to outline the strategies and structures in which the newly learned and desired skills are introduced, the environment in which is to be delivered, with all its factors, and the skills it produced. This is something very complex and the research has to somehow reflect that.
    Yes, it could be very challenging. I just picked out one of the challenges as follows…

    Although with Petö‘s pedagogy we work in groups, which are essential part of the system, the learning is broken down to individual ways for individual needs.
    The complexity of organising myself in time and space through my own individual ways to succeed in my own learning, I am also challenged to be part a cohesive whole and to organise myself in relation to the others within that group to create something new also for that group while maintaining the dynamic equilibrium of the ever evolving conductive group.

    With the links I would have liked to highlight some of the issues, which could affect the ways these researches might be drawn up.

    I am just here like any one of us to sing my song, so it might help to compose a new song, which everybody is happy to sing.
    Tweet tweet :))

    Ps. I put in Tweet tweet, in the hope that we smile and lighten up a bit about this process. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful or sound silly.

  5. Jerry,
    Thank you for your kind and reassuring words. I hope that you and your family are keeping well.
    Warm Wishes, Judit

  6. Jerzy..I am sorry for the misspelling of your name. Kind Wishes, Judit