My visitors today

Friday 27 March 2009


Lake Louise, 1997

It really is hard to find time and energy to sit down at the computer to do anything on my blog these last two weeks. I have scraps of paper in every pocket of my cycling gear and more lying on every surface in the flat.. These scraps are covered with notes about this, that and the other, jotted down while making tea or waiting at traffic lights, or when I jumped on a tram with the bike to avoid a snow storm (yes it is still winter here). I hope that I will get round to posting some of them before the week is out.

The problem is that the pile of paper scraps just keeps on increasing. I will just about havestopped thinking about one theme when another one pops into my head or something crops up in a newspaper, at work or on someone else’s blog.

I remember last Wednesday when I was catching up on the blogosphere that I read on Andrew Sutton’s blog and knol about making assessments and taking care over the use of the word “assessment”. I immediately wrote down my initial reaction on one of those scraps:

I am sometimes really very glad to work in German, in Germany. In our conductive centre we don’t have initial assessments, which I hear talked about by English-speaking conductors. If in fact we have anything we have voruntersuchungen - preliminary investigations. I like to think of this as both parties getting together to investigate each other to see what is on offer.

Andrew tells us in his posting that the term “assessment” is taken from taxation, meaning ‘How much have you got so I can find out how much I can get out of you?’

I like this definition, and if I change “how much” to “what”, it describes quite well what I try to offer my future clients before they decide to take the plunge into a conductive lifestyle. First they receive a house visit so we can get to know each other and I can provide a bit more information than the flyers give. Then there comes an invitation to visit the group, to watch or to participate, to ask questions and to chat with the other group members. Then they can decide what it is we have on offer and whether they would like any of it. If the response is postive than I just have to decide how and when I can offer what they need.

Initially no “assessment” takes place, if then if anything it is of the Conductive Education and the conductors, certainly not of the clients. I have no need to know what the client can do, the only question that I need to ask is what is the best programme that I have to offer this client, so we can get to know each other and start problem-solving.

Assessments? No thanks.

Sometimes it is nice working in another language.


Andrew Sutton -


Anonymous said...

I am very sad reading this no assessment approach.
It makes me wonder why am I surprised when people say Conductive Education cannot provide any evidence that is acknowledged.
I hope you will realise sooner rather than later, how important and significant appropriate assessments are.


another Conductor

Susie Mallett said...

Dear Anonymous,

Don’t be sad.

I think it would be much better if you could suggest what would be an “appropriate assessment” for providing evidence for Conductive Education, bearing in mind that what I was writing about was the initial Voruntersuchung (preliminary investigation).

It would be wonderful to have a real debate about this.

Susie Mallett said...


Over the weekend I have had a few more thoughts about your comment:

I would be interested to know what your definition of the word “assessment” is. I quote again from Andrew Sutton’s blog that sparked me to think about the word used in German and then to write my own posting:

“ Why not work out what precisely you mean when you are about to say or write ‘assessment’, then say or write precisely what it is that you intend to do.”

I was writing about the term “initial assessment” which I hear used in the English-speaking conductive world and I went on to define quite fully what I find important about my initial meeting with a client. I said that I am happy that in German this is called Voruntersuchung, “preliminary investigation”. I found Andrew’s definition in his Knol about the tax-man model also worth thinking about in terms of checking up what is on offer from both sides. Clients nearly always have very little knowledge about conductive upbringing when they meet conductors for the first time and they need to “assess” the situation too.