Tuesday, 5 January 2010

'Conductive Education' as universality

Who does it?

Something turns up twice on one day, and I think of all the times at which I have come across the same sort of thing, but made no note.

Two reports on the Internet yesterday, one by a father bringing up his young son who has cerebral palsy, one by a conductor involved in the lives of an elderly couple one of whom has had a stroke. Nothing at first sight to link these short accounts – and, though they were written on the self-same day, this was on different continents.

Read them for yourselves to see something profound that they have in common.

Forliti,J. (2010) Impatience, irrelevance and indestructibility, Conductive Education in British Columbia, 4 January

Mallett, S.(2010) Scrabble, Conductor, 4 January

Over many years I have come across all sorts of people who have said things like 'My mother (or my father) did Conductive Education with me, though she did not know it'. Such nonsense,one might retort, your mother could have had no idea about Conductive Education.

The two blogs cited above come from the probably the two best writers on participation in the conductive process (I wish that Jim would write something approaching the amount that Susie does!). What do the circumstances that they describe in these two postings have in common? Boiled down, only a couple of things:

  • they describe interventions that are brought together into a humane whole, and there is a love in there

  • these 'interventions' are not therapy, they comprise psychosocial action in the firm determination that the loved one will learn.

You could call the first of these 'conductive' in the sense that it draws everything human together within the encounter. You could call the second of these 'educational' in the widest sense in that it aims to advance all aspects of the human mind and spirit.

Emma McDowell often comments on these pages to advocate the irreplaceable role of the conductive parent. She does not deny the potential contribution of conductors and their formalised pedagogy. Nor did the Akoses in their seminal book Dina. Nor do Jim and Susie. One reason that Tsad Kadima has done so well in Israel is probably because of its unification of the personal and the institutional Conductive Education.

A large proportion of the effort to bring Conductive Education to the world has hung upon institutional developments. Perhaps we should really be asking ourselves, very critically how far how many are going to get along that path, and perhaps turning rather more of our creative energies towards the family way..

1 comment:

  1. Since you were kind enough to cite me again, I basically confirm – or clarify – the specific role that “Conductive Education” plays in the general parental process of “Upbringing”.

    It is easier to say it in Hungarian, since the idea of being a “jó pedagógus” (a good pedagogue) is commonly understood.


    Well, anybody can be a sensitive, understanding and tactful person, and these qualities are all ingredients of being a “good pedagogue”, but one also has to learn to use these intuitive qualities to achieve an educational purpose. You learn by experience, by your own mistakes and, if you are a professional teacher, you must also LEARN some of the techniques and the underlying philosophy.

    (Learning the latter, of course, does NOT make you a good pedagogue, if you lack the personal qualities referred to above.)

    When you are confronted with the task (or destiny) of trying to bring up a child with disabilities you will have to redouble (or, rather, compound) your parental-educational role with a much more expert and specialized educational role. Basic expert guidance, in the person of a conductor, or, better still, a real (professional) conductive surrounding – through a well–led group – are a must here.

    Naturally, a “born” jó pedagógus will have the advantage of picking up the necessary threads with less effort than a confirmed rossz pedagógus (bad teacher). And (in the latter case) the conductor’s success rate of helping to establish a conductive family background may be lower...

    I may just mention that the wider social (and national!) background will also help or hinder this process. But that is another big subject.

    All this is far too obvious to us, who read these pages, isn’t it?