Thursday, 2 September 2010

Conductive upbringing, a way of life

"Spirals" by Susie Mallett, August 2010

An open letter to Andrew Sutton and Rony Schenker

Andrew and Rony have been discussing the definition of conductive upbringing on Conductive World.

http://www.conductive-world.info/2010/08/define-conductive-upbringing.html

What I have to say in reply is too long to express there. So here it is, in the comfort of my own blog.

Please, this is such an important question, everybody will be welcome to add an opinion.


Dear Andrew and Rony,

I have a question for you both: “Why is there a sudden need to define something that has hardly been mentioned in the twenty plus years since numerous countries imported conduction in some form from Hungary. Even though conductive upbringing was what everyone saw in those early years in Hungary and wanted for their children in their own countries, it was as “conductive education” that everyone chose to promote, and it was often as part of education systems and not as part of the family upbringing that people chose to implement it.

Is there now a realization that having conduction as part of an education system does not actually work and it is only with a conductive upbringing or conductive life style that the life of our clients can begin to spiral onwards and upwards in the way that they hope and wish for?

I find it difficult to understand where the English words conductive upbringing disappeared to. Perhaps they never existed anywhere else than in my own imagination. I have never worked as a conductor in an English speaking environment, I have no idea how trainee conductors are taught in English about upbringing. I have no idea how conductors in various English speaking centres convey the idea of nevelés, upbringing, to the parents of the children or to the adults they are working with. I also have no idea how this is translated into Hebrew and whether there has been a difference in Hebrew between upbringing and education.

I have always used the words nevelés and Erzeihung (upbringing) in my work in Germany with Germans and Hungarians when defining what I do, pedagogy being the means to carry it out. This is what I and my fellow students learnt at the PAI. I have been defining what I do to parents for nearly twenty years in order to find work and have never had to resort to changing its name to conductive education. Many people in Germany decided to use the word Förderung as a means of persuading health insurance companies that pay for therapies also to pay for this form of upbringing.

It would be very interesting to hear from the two of you who are using two different languages in your work, why there is now the need to define something that I presume both institutions that you have been or are involved with have been practising for over twenty years.

Is there a move in the type of practice being provided that has promoted the need for a definition, or is there just a wish to make a change in the language used, a sort of going back to grass roots and translating the words used in Hungarian more accurately, or is it like in Germany there is the hope that by approaching it from a different directions someone else will provide the funding?

Several days ago Rony wrote asking me to contribute my own definition of conductive upbringing. I think there is enough on my blog to explain what conductive upbringing means to me. I have a few more items to post when I have a chance on the child Andrew referred to recently on his blog, which will add even more practical examples of conductive upbringing.

Yesterday I was watching a healthy six-month-old baby and her mother playing with each other, laughing and teasing and trying out new movements and games. The mother wondered why I was so fascinated. I told her that she is a far better conductor than I am!

What they were doing together was what conductive upbringing is, learning how to help your children to develop all the skills needed to live the life they wish to life. You learn from your own experiences, from the children themselves, from books, from Kindergarten, and schools, or from conductors.


Susie.

3 comments:

Rony Schenker, OTR, PhD, Tsad Kadima, Israel said...

Dear Susie,
You asked:
“Why is there a sudden need to define something that has hardly been mentioned in the twenty plus years"?

It's not a "sudden need", I think the need is there although not always expressed. Maybe preparing my lecture to the world congress and the opening of the new Israeli Conductive Education and Cerebral Palsy Studies" were the my triggers for raising the question. But what I asked Andrew and yourself was for an extract definition of conductive upbringing (CU). Many of us know what conductive upbringing is, or at least have a sense of what it is. We can deliver lectures on what it is, or refer to it in our Blogs, explain its meaning to students, parents, etc. Many many words were dedicated explaining what it is, but what I think we miss is an extract definition of CU. We can talk about CU for hours, and days, and years, but who has the time to listen? In times where e-mails, SMS, SMN are common communication channels, we learned to talk short; we have no time for many words, no patient for neither long sentences nor too many words. Knowledge should come in small packages, consuming as little as possible time. The shorter the better. Can we meet this communication demands when talking about CU, when explaining what it is? It is not only a matter of knowledge, it is also a learned skill. We should learn how to do it, but first, we should define it. DD: "Define to defend", "Define to deliver" "Define to Digest". I believe that our tool box should contain this option too.

"Is there a move in the type of practice being provided that has promoted the need for a definition, or is there just a wish to make a change in the language used, a sort of going back to grass roots and translating the words used in Hungarian more accurately, or is it like in Germany there is the hope that by approaching it from a different directions someone else will provide the funding?"

Non of this in Tsad kadima's case, yet, we always dance this dance of a step forward and backword in our developmental process, widening the Arena of theory and practice, while watching carefully not to abandon the relevant grass roots.

"What they were doing together was what conductive upbringing is, learning how to help your children to develop all the skills needed to live the life they wish to life. You learn from your own experiences, from the children themselves, from books, from Kindergarten, and schools, or from conductors".

Is this your extract definition of CU?

Susie Mallett said...

Rony, thank you for your long response to my posting.

Two points:

The first point is that I am sorry but I doubt that I will ever be able to join you in the use of the abbreviation CU for conductive upbringing. This is because in my own English-language upbringing CU has always meant the Christian Union!

The second point: No, I had not meant anything in this posting to be a concise definition of what I think conductive upbringing is. As I said in our correspondence I will need some time to find this, although now I am not sure that I ever will manage it.

The sentence that you quoted described my observations of my great niece and her Mum interacting with each other in the same way that conductors teach families to interact with each other.

I often say that I love my work as it takes place in the slow lane, it has to be outside the rush of the rest of the world otherwise it would not be successful. I do not work in a world that has no time to listen or talk. I do not experience the need that you describe to use less words.

I know that there are plenty of people who enjoy the rush of the fast lane, I do not and am happy to still be in the slow lane where fortunately there is still enough time when I am at my work and also while writing to be able to use more than a few words to define what I do and what conductive upbringing is.

I, and my clients, have enough time and patience to discuss it until an understanding is found so we are in no hurry to use less words. Conductive upbringing is a long, a life-long, process and therefore deserves the time that I take with my clients and other interested people, to define what it is. I think it will be some time before I am able do more than I already do on my blog and with my clients in defining what I consider conductive upbringing/ lifestyle to be. But I will keep on searching for my exact definition. If I indeed find it it will be interesting to see how it compares with what you decide on. Our experiences are so different I wonder how different our definitions will be.

Just one more question: Do you/we have such a concise definition of conductive education and conductive pedagogy?

Rony Schenker, OTR, PhD, Tsad Kadima, Israel said...

"I do not work in a world that has no time to listen or talk. I do not experience the need that you describe to use less words."
Aren't you really? You do work in such a world Susie. Take for example the need to send an abstract to the world congress. AN ABSTRACT!!! What is an abstract if not an extract of a presentation? What is a ten minute presentation if not an extract of a much wider discussion? And this is only one example from many.
"I, and my clients, have enough time and patience to discuss it until an understanding is found so we are in no hurry to use less words."
Enough time? Do we really have enough time? Always? With clients? With parents? With ourseves?It is not only our time, it's their time as well…do parents have enough time??? Do parents to children have enough time? Overloaded as they are do you really feel that their time is not restricted?
Yes, I agree that among the professionals we discuss as much as needed different definitions, dilemmas, etc. but it is time consuming, and there is never enough time.
I want to stress my basic point: I didn't say that extract communication should substitute the long discussions, lectures etc. What I said is that we should in our tool box have both options, no how to use each and when.
Not long ago a competition took place where people were asked to write an SMS short story using only 140 characters. As I am also writing short stories (t the drawer), I selected one of my story and tried to extract it as was required. This was so hard, but I succeeded. It was really a very interesting intellectual exercise. I suggest that you try it yourself. One of my conclusions was is that we generally use to many words…
I must admit that I didn't decide yet whether I envy you for working and living in such a relaxed environment (an island…a bubble maybe?) or not. It might as well be a product of one's own temperament. It is however certainly not mine…