Monday, 27 September 2010

Families and conductors getting it together

The basic cell of sustainable conduction?

Two blogs from British Columbia in Canada, one by a parent and the other by a conductor. A posting on each over this last couple of days, each on its own topic and both generating comment:

Together they pose a question that has arisen so many times in different ways over the last twenty or so years: in the modern Western world, what is the appropriate size of arrangements (sometimes askes in terms of tghe minimum size) to ensure proper conductive life and learning?

Here is a range of notional responses:
  • a family alone faces enormous difficulties, not least being that success brings not knowing what to do next
  • a conductor working alone is a vulnerable organism on too many, too familiar counts to be elaborated here
  • two conductors together are stronger but may be prone to the same vulnerabilities
  • as the size of the unit increases then so increase the risks of change of direction, at board or management level, or both – perhaps resulting in a commodification of what is done that results in a facility which understands neither what its clients are there for nor what its vital staff are trying to do to meet such needs.
Károly and Magda Ákos  who were the first to pose the distinction between institutional and family conductive upbringing favoured the model of family ubpringing supplemented by review and intervention by a large conductive institution as need might arise. That is fine, if your family has a large, flexible conductive institution handy for when it is needed. Most people may never have this.

Tsad Kadima, the Israeli Parents' Association for Conductive Education, has a different model, with parents (and grandparents) very much in control of the organisation itself and the notion of 'family' having the status of ideology in everything that it does. This model seems unlikely to be widely exportable, though maybe one might build towards it.

An ideal resolution?

What are the real-life choices for most parents seeking consistent personal conductive input and for conductors looking to work somewhere their chosen field. Workplaces may be:
  • too small and vulnerable, or
  • too big and detatched.
There can of course be no ideal or universally applicable solution to this dilemma but maybe the very nature of the two blogs that sparked this chain of thought, reinforced by successful experiences reported from around the world – and unsuccessful ones too – offer a pointer to a different way of posing the problem:

  • one family trying to follow a conductive road is a lonely family

  • one conductor working alone in a family oriented way is lonely conductor

  • a conductive family in long-term association with a family-oriented conductor is a group of people, a collective to be fuzed around a common goal and common labour to achieve it.
In the third of these options, people, fellow adults, are defined in this situation primarily by working together, collaborating to achieve a common purpose, with different roles and tasks and contributions, different backgrounds and different financial requirements/obligations. They are not on the one hand primarily parents and on the other primarily conductors. They are united within a conductive cell.

Such an approach may at least diminish some of the problems of aloneness and vulnerability that one family or one conductor might experience, since at the very least there are now a least two adults involved. And if such a collective were to grow, bringing in more families and/or more conductors, then in such a context there could be better solutions tried for how to do this than the common one of creating acentre and/or an organisation, and hiring help.

Crudely put, I am sure, and certainly not a novel formulation, but one that does not presently stand as a common icon for how one might create sustainable and secure conductive services for children, adults, parents and carers.


It has not escaped me that 'getting it together' is one possible English translation of the Latin word conductio.

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