'Who is so deafe, or so blynde, as is hee,
People just cannot see the EDUCATION. They just keep seeing and saying "therapy"!
No different to teaching people to draw
First you have to teach people how to look, you have to teach them to see what they see and not what they think they see.
I remember doing this once really effectively with a group of teenage boys at a secondary school for boys in Handsworth, in Birmingham.
I had asked them to draw their shoes.
You can imagine that in the 80s all those Asian boys had picked their shoes very carefully, so that they could wear fashionable black trainers with their school uniform, not the black leather brogues that their parents prefered. You would have thought that they would know what these prize possessions looked like, having chosen them with so much care and attention.
But they didn’t really.
For their first of two drawings they were not allowed to look under the desks at their shoes. They liked that game, they didn’t cheat, well not much. Not enough to make a lot of difference to the drawings.
Then I had them put one of their shoes on the table. They were not very impressed with the results of their drawings as they didn’t recognise their own much-loved shoes.
Before we started the second drawing we talked about forgetting that it was a shoe, and how to see what was really there. To look at shapes and angles and light and shade. They learnt how to use all of these to make their second drawing. They discovered that they could actually look and see something else, something that they hadn’t seen before, and that by doing so they could draw a very good presentation of their shoe.
They didn’t see the deeply imbedded image of a shoe that they had in their mind anymore. They really did see their own shoe, with all the nobbly impressions that toes had made, and scratches that playing football had made, and tatty shoe-lace ends where the aglet had fallen off. And it was this that they drew, learning to look at the shapes in between and not at the object itself.
Actually seeing "Conductive EDUCATION"
It is not only when looking at the simple phrase "Conductive Education" that people fail to see.
Even when looking at Conductive Education itself, in action, people still see what they think they see.
For observers to see properly what is in front of them takes people skilled enough to retrain their eyes, and then to make connections to whichever part of their body stores what they see, their head, their soul, their heart.
People observing Conductive Education also need to learn to look at the spaces in between that are just as important in my opinion, if not more so, than the more formal parts of the conductive programme. Just as drawing the spaces between objects helps to outline the form of an object, the spaces in between in conductive observation help define what is beginning to be learnt.
Why have so many visitors to the Petö Institute or other conductive centres gone away and set up hundreds of different types of what they thought Conductive Education to be, what they thought they saw?
Perhaps the "art teacher" was not there, the communicator, the eye-opener. Perhaps the visitors have rarely or never had it properly explained and there has been no discussion. That has been a terrible error, with terrible effects.
There should have been someone to say "Look, what they are doing at this moment is not therapy because.....," or "It would be therapy if........" or "It's education because....."
Doing this properly can take a lot of time and patience. And it needs someone who has a clear ability to communicate Conductive Education.
If that “eye-opener” is not there to do the explaining then you can't really blame people for not seeing what is in front of their eyes. Real educators can't blame them for not seeing what they are looking at, not knowing what to look at. And not learning the importance of the bits in between.
I have experienced the need to do something about this so many times, to ask visitors to my group to refrain from chatting when they think there is a "break" in the procedures, when they see the clients walking to the toilets, going to wash their hands, walking to the table for elevenses, collecting plates and cups etc. from the kitchen. Clients doing the “bits in between”, doing what they have learnt to do, clients living and showing off their skills to the visitors.
Visitors nearly always think these are times for a coffee break, they don’t see what it really is, they need their eyes opening, their vision directed.
I always politely ask them to leave the room if they can no longer concentrate, if they feel the need for a coffee break, a chat and a breath of fresh air.
"We're all going on summer holiday"
That's how I ended my last posting a couple of days ago and with summer holidays come the summer camps.
I think that I have already made my feelings more than clear on this blog about people who run summer camps without providing anything like the help that parents often need if they are really going to see "Conductive EDUCATION". Here it is the parents who are often not being EDUCATED. Not learning what it is that is before their eyes. A bad failure for Conductive EDUCATION. Not a failure in learning but a failing in TEACHING.
Managers and conductors who fail to educate the parents, year after year, are just rubbing in the confusion about Conductive Education that already exists, deeper and deeper. No wonder so many parents sincerely go into these camps thinking that their children will get a "therapy", and having spent a lot of money come away again none the wiser.
People like to say that they have learned from the Peto Institute. Maybe they should learn from its mistakes too. Maybe start taking or providing "art lessons", educating those who show interest to see what they are looking at.
Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).
"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know. The proverb has been traced back in English to 1546 (John Heywood), and resembles the Biblical verse quoted (above). In 1738, it was used by Jonathan Swift in his 'Polite Conversation,' and is first attested in the United States in the 1713 Works of Thomas Chalkley..."
There's none so deaf as those who will not hear
Similar to There is none so blind as he who will not see. Cf. mid 14th-cent. Fr. Il nʾest si mavais sours que chuis chʾoër ne voeilt (There is no person so deaf as the one who does not wish to hear).
So there you have it. There's a lot of it about and it's been going for a long time now. Like a lot of things in Conductive Education!