To help parents and children better understand what Conductive Education and learning is (and is not) we are doing a series of educational interviews and articles. This is Part 3 of a multi-part series. In addition, we are launching a Knowledge Resource Center for Conductive Education on our website. Let us know what you think!
The Group Environment
One of the outstanding principles of Conductive Education is the use of the group as an educational means. The group is one of the motivational factors that characterize the system. The special nature groups in Conductive Education stem from the fact that despite the great differences likely to exist between group members, the educational objectives are the same.
Members of a group work on the exact same task series even though there are differences in performance of the individual tasks with regard to the time required, manner, and level. Although all the activities in the daily routine take place within the structure of the group, there is no attempt whatsoever to set a single standard of behavior. Conductive Education emphasizes that problem solving and development vary among individuals.
The conductive group serves as a micro-community. The efforts and accomplishments of each member are celebrated by all in this positive, supportive, learning environment. The net result is a sense of security and a positive self-image. Conductive Education makes conscious use of the group; it is a community of students with the Conductor as the source for generalization and reinforcement of new intention and motivation of the members.
The makeup of the group is imperative for the functioning of the system as a whole. Overall programs for the groups can be devised only after careful evaluation of the children. Correct assignment also serves the individuals by providing the environment most conducive for development.
The evaluation process requires continual examination and reexamination according to various measures. The group is comprised not only of children but also of staff; therefore, selecting staff appropriate to the children and to one another and capable of working as a team, is also an important consideration in forming groups.
The Group Serves the Fundamentals of Conductive Education
Beyond serving as a motivational factor and providing the children with an incentive for working to their utmost to meet their own needs, the group serves the following fundamentals of Conductive Education:
- The learning model for adaptation to the environment requires that the child learns within his natural environment. Group learning represents one of the factors for creating realistic demands. In this manner, the group serves as an environmental stimulus for development.
- The group is the main tool in Conductive Education for developing an interpersonal relationship and developing social behavior.
- The group simultaneously spurs the individual to action and serves as a liberating element. Participation and involvement in the work of the group liberates the individual from pressures to perform and achieve. Working in a group increases positive reinforcement and avoids negative criticism.
- The group, while being organized around common characteristics, must be large enough to allow for individual differences.
- Independence and responsibility are values realized within the working of the group. This realization is related to the manner by which the group detracts from attention or concentration on the individual and prevents the likelihood of the child’s becoming dependent on the adult, yet enables the individual needs of each child to be met.
- The group should create a positive atmosphere for both teacher-student interaction and student-student interaction. It should ensure success and set the stage for activities by which the group members will find solutions to their individual problems.
End Part 3
Thanks to Rony Schenker, Academic Director of the Tsad Kadima Organization for the resource material for this article.
About Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati
The Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati teaches Conductive Education to children and adults to help them lead better, more independent lives. Conductive Education is an intensive, multi-disciplinary approach to education, training, and development for individuals with Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Stroke-related Disabilities, Acquired-Brain Trauma, and other motor challenges.