Several months ago I happened to run into Susie Mallet (http://www.susie-mallett.com/) and Andrew Sutton (http://www.conductive-world.info/) at the institute in Birmingham where I was in placement last semester. They “suggested” I (independently or with a few other students) submit an abstract to present at Conductive Education World Congress in Munich this October. For those of you not aware of the ins and outs of CE, the CE world is spread far and thin. So the world congress offers a fantastic opportunity for conductors from around the world to come together, present, learn from one another, and strengthen conductive education as a profession. Andrew and Susie thought it would be nice to have students attend, as this has not really happened in the past.
Hannah Silcock (a fellow 3rd year student) and I decided to give it a go, what could it hurt, it wasn’t like our abstract would be accepted right!? Well, turns out it was accepted and we are poised to be the first ever student presenters at World Congress in a few months! To get the ball rolling I am going to post our abstract here.
A quick bit of background. Our abstract addresses the need for sufficient training time for conductors. This is in response to the current a push in CE toward shortened conductor training. For example, a year add on to a previous degree or conference style training that is given in short spurts. While this could make CE more accessible in some ways we fear there will be too much lost without the underpinnings of CE properly taught. I have heard many people say they could deliver CE after seeing a few sessions or even ask why a full degree is needed to be a qualified conductor. A big issue here is that people are seeing the methodology of CE but not the underlying principles (psychological underpinnings), a massive part of the success of CE. Any conductor knows just how much lies behind the simple statement “I put my right foot flat.” With that said, our current abstract follows, but is still being adjusted for October.
The Makings of an Orthofunctional Conductor
Why is it vital that conductor training is given sufficient time to change and develop a student’s attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives?
An analysis of students’ developments in attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives whilst undergoing the conductive education undergraduate course at the National Institute of Conductive Education (NICE)
First hand life history and observations by two third year students attending NICE
We assert that conductor training is not simply about changing what we do but about shaping how we think. In order for this to take place; students must have adequate time in training for the philosophy of CE to impact their own personal beliefs and consequently their practice. This is important because it prevents CE from becoming simply a methodological approach. The undergraduate course should be seen as a process of development underpinned by a philosophy and not just a module teaching methodology.
We see a general pattern in the way our thinking is changing throughout the course:
- 1st year: learning and putting into practice. Students are generally concerned with what is being done, how it is being done, and what we ourselves are doing
- 2nd year: learning about and allowing the philosophy to impact our thinking. Generally focused on what we are thinking and what we believe
- 3rd year: using the philosophy to make the methodology work. Students understand how practising a philosophy led methodology impacts those we are working with
These are some of the areas that we believe are important to be continuously changing over the course of the three years.
- How we observe
- Our capacity and skill in observation; what we observe and how we use our observation has changed throughout the course. We observe with more precision and understand the impact of what we are observing to a continually greater degree.
- Our observation encompasses small details and links together to give a more holistic picture including emotional, psychological, and personal factors; interplay of what we are doing, the environment, and the individual.
- How we view and relate to people
- We believe that everyone has the capacity to learn and develop and that we and the participants both have an active role to play in this development.
- As our belief in the individual develops, so does the appropriateness of our expectations about their present ability and future potential.
- We are discovering the importance of how conductive education seeks to not just change behaviour but also personality.
- We are becoming more positive in many respects including our outlook (seeing ability rather than dysfunction), language (the impact of words), and interactions (our approach to individuals).
- We are learning how to achieve better relationship with the participants; built on mutual trust and respect.
We believe that a combination of these personality traits and beliefs are the makings of an orthofunctional conductor and students must be given ample time to develop these qualities.
We are very excited about the opportunity of presenting. We are happy to answer any questions and listen to feedback. We are also doing our best to raise support for the trip (alas we are only poor students :)). We have a letter detailing the expenses and would be grateful with any amount of support. Also, if anyone knows of organisations or individuals that might be willing to contribute please do put us in contact with them.
Jalyss and Silcock