My visitors today

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Looking at things from a different point of view

"Bird's-eye view", Susie Mallett, January 2010

Contributions to a much-needed discussion

In his posting on 24th February Andrew Sutton hoped to open up a discussion when he listed the following points that he had discovered somewhere presumably somewhere in cyberspace.

  • One conductor leads the class through a series of repetitive excercises
  • Use of special equipment (ladders, chairs, plinths, tabletops) to create the prescribed environment
  • Activities include teaching life skills and age appropriate academic and social lessons (i.e. potty training, snack time, music)
  • Classes are typically grouped by children's age and ability

Clearing up some common misunder-standings

Yes, one conductor may lead a group at a given time. Sometimes the conductor is alone in a group with four or maybe ten clients, then the one conductor must lead the whole session. The conductor could be there with two or three colleagues then one of the others will take over the leading when planned and sometimes when not planned.

There is never a series of repetitive exercises. There is a series of movements devised for each group, with individual solutions for each client. The movements included in a programme are those needed for learning specific skills. This cannot be" repetitive", it must continuously change as the clients become more and more skilful.

Most people know my views on furniture: it isn’t the do-all-and-end-all of “Petö”. Conductive Education is just that, an education. It is not reliant on furniture to be successful. How the use of such furniture creates a good environment I have no idea, unless it is when the plinths get used as an easel, or get thrown on the bonfire. The atmosphere in a group has to do with people, personalities and souls.

An atmosphere is not prescribed for a group, it develops. The aim is to create a desire to work, though fun, enjoyment, motivation and activities. And not one piece of furniture is needed to achieve that!

Activities in Conductive groups include all sort of things, Conductive Education is to do with learning to live a full life, so we do everything that anyone else would do to achieve this. If that means rolling, we roll. If it means baking, we bake. We also sing, climb, stick, sew, paint, read, crawl, act, dress up, drum, play hospitals and schools. We pretend to dive and swim, or we really dive and swim, we ski, ride bikes, hop, skip and jump. Why do we do all of these things? They are the "skills" that we need to live.

These activities are provided in the appropriate situations to encourage learning something very specific, or even just for fun using skills already learnt! We learn skills to become as independent as possible and as active as possible in lie.

Age-appropriate? I don’t think so. Whatever the age of clients, eight or eighty, if they want to learn something, and are motivated to learn something that they haven’t already achieved, then it is taught regardless of it being “age-appropriate” or not. If a client of thirty-five wishes to learn to dress alone than we find out how we can help. If a child of three can learn this then we help here too. All of the movements used to dress are used in other activities, so we are not only teaching someone to dress it is the motivation to learn that is important and one movement and motivation leads on to another. We don’t teach people to eat a biscuit or clean their teeth. We motivate them to want to do it alone, then we teach them how.

"Classes are grouped by age and ability". This is a bit contradictory isn’t it? A Kindergarten group will have children in it aged from under three years old to seven. Just like all Kindergartens these children will not be able to do the same as each other, or even the same as others of the same age. They all learn from each other and they all teach each other, that’s how groups work.They are not all put in a group because they are all five or because they can all sit on the toilet alone! The learning that takes place depends on the child’s needs at the time.

In an adult stroke group ages can range from thirty to eighty, their abilities likewise have just as wide a range.


This is Andrew's original posting.

Maybe no one else thinks it important to respond to such things. But if people who know better hold their tongues, for whatever reason, then whose fault is it that we still hear suck poppycock, and worse, about the job that we love?

I don't want it to be mine.


I counted seven too.

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