Conductive education is a system of education specifically designed for children and adults who have motor disorders (problems with moving) of neurological origin (damage to the movement areas of the brain). It is based on the premise that the person who has a motor disorder does not have a medical condition requiring treatment, but rather a problem of learning requiring education.
The system pioneered in Hungary by Professor Andras Peto (1893-1967) approaches a physical disability from an educational rather than a treatment perspective. The practice has not been well documented. In fact Peto bequeathed a living practice not a well-documented theory.
Conductive education provides children with a variety of active learning experiences, which leads them towards understanding of their own difficulties and a move towards independence. Peto used the processes inherent in human learning and function, his knowledge of neurology and psychology and his observations from working with children and adults, to create a holistic and integrated system of learning that addresses the physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs of the child in a simultaneous manner.
Conductive Education was developed to take into account the different learning needs of a child who has a motor learning problem. It offers a structured learning environment where the child becomes an active participant in her own learning and thus learns to adapt and adjust to his natural and social environment.
WHAT IS A MOTOR LEARNING DISORDER?
When the child has a motor learning disorder he exhibits a wide range of developmental difficulties which include:
- problems with movement and maintaining upright position;
- perceptual problems (this means the child will find it difficult to co-ordinate and understand what he sees, hears, smells, touches, etc.
- difficulties in learning
- difficulties with speaking and understanding.
A combination of these difficulties can isolate a child from the normal social interactions of life, and result in a child feeling insecure and having a negative image of himself. The result of all these difficulties has a significant effect upon the child’s motivation and personality. The development of a healthy self-esteem for these children requires education of breath and balance that truly enhances quality of life.
HOW DOES CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION HELP?
The whole educational experience offered by Conductive Education is summed up in a quote from Peto-‘Do not ask what can I do to help but rather what the child can do to help himself’. Peto observed that a motor learning disorder resulted in more than movement difficulties. He saw it affected the whole personality development. Peto’s principle is that the ability to participate is more important than intelligence scores and thus the foundations of his work are rooted in the basic principles of human learning, that is, learning is conscious and active and occurs through social interactions. The underlying philosophy is a belief in the child’s ability to learn. Every activity within a child’s day is regarded as an opportunity for learning and for the child to make progress towards achieving a greater degree of independence through a set of realistic achievable goals. All activities therefore provide contexts for children to learn, practice, generalize and transfer skills.
Facilitation is a word associated with Conductive Education. Facilitation is simply the help and guidance which enables the child to reach her goal.
CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION FACILITATES LEARNING THROUGH:
The conductor is the holistically trained professional who leads the children through their learning. Conductors are responsible for planning and implementing integrated educational programmes aimed at developing the child’s physical, cognitive, communication and emotional skills simultaneous.
The Principal need to gain the confidence of Zara Zoe as part of the learning process
The children are educated in groups. The group provides the opportunities for social interaction and communication with a peer group. The group provides security and opportunities to try things out. A child can not be made to do something but the group provides an atmosphere, which motivates the child and offers competition.
THE DAILY ROUTINE
The daily, weekly and termly routines are planned to ensure that the children are experiencing broad, balanced and relevant learning experiences. The daily routine allows time for all the learning skills to be practiced. It has structure that provides rhythm and security for the child to develop.
The task series are a complex series of activities that are designed to teach a way of ‘doing things’. The tasks are based on the skills the children will need to meet the various requirements of life. The activities in the task series start with what the child can already achieve and build upon them.
Rhythmical intention is another phrase associated with Conductive Education. Simply, this means spoken language is used to prompt or cue the child in learning a motor skill. The aim is for the child to learn to use ‘self talk’ to help in solving their own learning of movement. This is well illustrated by a child who told her father after school that her work in school had given her a telephone in her head so that she could tell her body how to move.
Physically assisting the child to learn movement requires skill and sensitivity that allows the child to understand the movement required, initiate that movement and thus be as independent as possible in the execution of that movement, experiencing success.
A ‘hands off’ philosophy.
The personality of the conductors and the staff who work with the children are vital to each child’s success. The conductor must, in her behaviour, show a fundamental belief in the child’s capacity to learn. She must have expectations of the children and provide the opportunities for each child to achieve at his particular level. A spiral of interconnections between expectation, activity, success and praise create the environment where children are happy and motivated to learn. The Conductor always sees the child as a whole person and looks at what the child CAN do.
A smile from Ella is a big reward for Mum and Ildiko. Ella's confidence grows with every task. Success builds upon succes.
Conductive Education is not a treatment but a practicing way of life orientated towards the development of the human being as an active participant in society.