Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Expensive baby-sitter, gardener and chauffeur

Or cheap conducting? 

Personal job advert today in the Marketplace of the busy website Külföldi Magyarok –

Konduktorin gesucht
Familie sucht für langfristige Anstellung freundliche, junge Konduktorin/Konduktorin-Studentin für unsere 2 Kinder ( Junge 7 Jahre entwicklungsverzögert und Mädchen 12 Jahre ). Einsatzort: Unser Haus liegt in Deutschland ca. 50 km südlich von München am Tegernsee. Unsere Leistungen sind eine gute Bezahlung, freie Unterkunft und Essen (eigenes kleines Apartment im Haus), Versicherung, PKW sowie Familienanschluß. Voraussetzung: gute deutsche Sprachkenntnisse, kinderlieb, motiviert und engagiert sowie Führerschein. Aufgabe: Kinderbetreuung und Förderung nach der Schule, Mithilfe im Haushalt und Garten. Beginn: Mitte September oder früher. Schriftliche Bewerbungen mit Bild bitte an bp.wagner@gmx.de oder telefonisch unter +49 8022 706783.
Feltétel: német nyelvtudás, jo
Kovács Éva
>>> Jelentkezzen be a kapcsolati adatok megtekintéséhez! <<<


Seriously folks, there is another question here. Conductive upbringing is a noble goal, but is this it? The answer probably will depend upon the people and the circumstances involved, on a case-to-case basis.

There are all sorts of possible questions that open up here. Conductive upbringing is not for the child but for the family – but one could foresee situations where the presence of an in-house conductor might absolve the rest of the family from the responsibilities – and the joys – of bringing up this disabled child..

Of course, in a context where a child is to be consistently brought up by an Ayah or an old-fashioned Nannie, for years, that would be another matter. And quite another matter still would be a succession of conductor-upbringers.

Presumable after twenty-odd years' internationalisation of Conductive Education there are all sorts of variants to report, by conductors, families and by-now adult children. As ever, in Conductive Education, however, such experiences remains buried, with new generations left to reinvent the wheel.

Over  the years more than a few conductors have worked as conductor-nannies around the world – and more doubtless will in furture. They are not trained for this role. What lessons can the participants in such arrangements pass on?


  1. I prefer to treat it as a private problem of THIS specific family. THEY do not understand the role of conductor and his training. It's like asking a doctor to treat garden and kitchen of the hospital in addition to patient care. It's not a problem of this or that doctor, but a problem of the personnel department of the hospital. It's just an allegory ....

  2. I do not agree that this problem is something that only stems from this family and their understanding of CE. It is a widespread problem and although some parents may wish for an au pair, they have been informed from some source that conductors are available for this work.

    It is something that has developed over the years arising from what conductors and trainee conductors have been prepared to do under the description of a Conductive Upbringing.

    Some of my early work in Germany, that I began in 1994, was with a family with a four year old daughter with CP and three older children. This family had already quite a lot of experience with CE. They had been in Budapest several times and had also had the experience of having conductors in their home during two summer holidays.

    Then I arrived on the scene. I worked for the first two years for one week every month with this little girl. We worked together all day like we would have done in a group at the Petö Institute but within the family home. Mum or Dad, and sometimes even one of the older siblings regularly joined in to learn alongside us. After lunch I had time to prepare for the next part of the day and after an evening meal I was free. These were my expectations, it was what I offered this family and I explained all of this before we began. I also talked to the family about conductive pedagogy and conductive upbringing at the beginning and throughout our many years of successful work together.

    The family were surprised at first at the conditions I set out for my work with them because other conductors had worked in the family virtually as au pairs. They had cooked, worked in the garden and also looked after the children, including the siblings, in the evenings. This is what the other conductors had offered and the family had taken the lead from them.

    I had to explain that I am a trained art teacher, a trained art therapist and a trained conductor and I was prepared to do any of this all day, including getting up, dressing, teeth cleaning, showering, eating, drinking, going to the toilet, sewing, playing, sticking, cutting, baking, walking, hopping, skiing, swimming and even singing, but I was not an au pair and I was not prepared to do the work of an au pair.

    The family accepted this but were none-the-less initially shocked. They really had been led to believe, by other conductors, that conductors did something else when they worked with a family, including cooking, cleaning, baby-sitting and even gardening.

    It is our job as conductors to inform all our clients, whether we are working at a centre or in homes, about conductive pedagogy and to explain how we can work together with the whole family to create a conductive upbringing.

    Parents do not instinctively know about CE they learn about it from somewhere. We need to make sure that they are correctly informed.

    Fifteen years ago the family that I met had certainly not got their information from Googling CE in the internet. They had been informed by the conductors who had previously worked with them at home.

    There is obviously a lot of work to be done before clients and potential clients are adequately informed about the life style they are wishing to embark on.


  3. Again and again the One Million Dollar Question: How do you best communicate what CE is, both the process and the outcomes. The problem is there, whether you talk to parents, health professionals etc. and you may easily fall into the stereotype statements such as "so you are working on the motor aspect of the child" or "with you the child will walk", or "you do a Little from everything, a little of OT, a little of PT...etc.
    Do we really know how to convey in a meaningful manner what does it mean "growing up with conductive pedagogy"? and more than once you wish to say (and maybe you do) "right, this is what it is", or keep silent and nod your head, trying to avoid the need to explain.
    I think that many conductors face this as an everyday, very common situation. How many really cope with it efficiently?
    As with basketball, the responsibility is on the deliver

  4. If conductors think that they cannot explain conductive upbringing adequately then they must pass the job of doing so onto someone else.

    It is the responsibility of all conductors to know whether they are able to explain what they are doing or not, and to teach the families to bring up conductively.

    If they think they are not able to do this then it is also their responsibility to learn to do it, otherwise they will never be able to work independently of those conductors who can.

    Surely conductors do not fall into the traps that you mention when talking to anyone about conductive upbringing. These statements maybe stereotype statements for therapies but, as what we are trying to convey is education and upbringing, doing “a little of OT, a little of PT” can not come into it.

    Conductors do not do either of these therapies, OT and PT, they educate. A conductor does not “work on motor aspects of a child” or “walk with a child”. Conductors teach a child to get from A to B, to leave one toy to play with another or to get from the bedroom to the bathroom. Walking could possibly be the child’s way of doing this but it might just as easily be rolling or crawling.

    The responsibility certainly is with the person who delivers to give the clients what they are paying for. All those who buy conductive upbringing from me must have all the information they need to be able to learn to live conductively. That is my job, it is how I earn my living, it is my responsibility to know how to do it, other wise I should not be advertising my wares.


  5. Susie, I couldn't agree more, yet I think, that these episodes do happen, and that is why students should be taught not only what is CE but also how to defend the profession, how to market properly what conductive upbringing is. Let us not assume that by learning conductive education, a conductor becomes a spokesman/woman of the profession. If so, how could you explain the conductor-Nannie phenomena? It is in my opinion not only a problem of professional integrity but also unlearned skills of communicating the profession to non conductors. It should be in the curriculum of the basic studies of conductive education.
    You know, when I come to think of it, may be this is one explanation for the sparsity of active participation of conductors in these blog discussions. Maybe this one of the reasons for their mutism (and I know there are more than one).

  6. And no Susie, I totaly disagree with this one:
    "If conductors think that they cannot explain conductive upbringing adequately then they must pass the job of doing so onto someone else."

    If conductors think that they cannot explain conductive upbringing adequately then they must ask for help in learning how to do it properly

  7. And no Susie, I totaly disagree with this one:
    "If conductors think that they cannot explain conductive upbringing adequately then they must pass the job of doing so onto someone else."

    If conductors think that they cannot explain conductive upbringing adequately then they must ask for help in learning how to do it properly

  8. Rony,
    I think you will read that I wrote just this in the sentence after the one you quoted.
    I wrote:
    "If they think they are not able to do this then it is also their responsibility to learn to do it, otherwise they will never be able to work independently of those conductors who can."

  9. i disagree with the first part of your sentence:
    "If they think they are not able to do this then it is also their responsibility to learn to do it.
    Will they never be able to work independently of those conductors who can? I'm not sure, maybe than they become expensive baby-sitter?

  10. Emma McDowell writes, under the heading of 'Somebody Who Knows' –

    Please somebody explain to this mother – somebody who speaks German – how very easily this plan can lead to mutual disappointment. I am using a Hungarian idiom by saying “Two skins cannot be pulled off the one hare” (or conductor). Yes, the mother needs help with housework, but only because she herself has to learn to become a conductor to her own child. This takes a lot of time, ingenuity, patience, EVERY DAY.

    She also needs to find out about CE by visiting a good centre with good conductors in it. These days young parents (like everybody else) tend to look for the Internet for enlightenment but nothing can substitute participation. She can also read “Dina”. It is in German.

    From my own example, I mean that a mother of a disabled child needs help with housework (I certainly did) if she wants to become a conductor to her own child. I used to invite young Hungarian friends for the summer holidays (they were not called au-pairs then); I made sure that it was a holiday for them, as well as giving them some pocket-money. They were treated as family, and sometimes they played with my son George the way that I asked and showed them how, but mostly I worked with George and they gave me a little help with household chores.

    After my second son Andrew was born these girls (and once a young man) mainly played with Andrew, again to give me some time with George. The girls (and boy) were of course all hand-picked, through family friends, and they very easily picked up the right ways with George.   

    I am trying to say that this mother has to learn (based on what she has seen and learned in a proper conductive group) how to become “conductive” in everyday things, in her own daily routine.


    PS  I have only ever heard the Hungarian idiom as “Egy emberről nem lehet két bőrt lenyúzni”. It is not actually hares but people that are referred to; but I found this too harsh an image in English. The Mongols did skin people alive, so Hungarian folk memory possibly goes back to that for this drastic image. “To skin poor people”, = utterly exploit the poor, is a live expression in Hungarian (but you can’t skin them twice!) I know at least two other idioms in Hungarian, expressing the same truth, that you cannot over-exploit people (or things even), it leads to no good.

  11. Thank you, Emma, for shifting the focus across to th user's pespective, someting that I myself can only appreciate second hand.

    I have tried to respond to what Rony and Susie have been discussing and am doing so on a separate posting:


    I am very aware, however, of the one-sidedness that so easily creeps in, and I do hope that other parents will ahare their viewpoints on the dilemmas involved.