Today, after my second stroke group session, the group coordinator and me had a little talk. We were both excited what we just witnessed. One of the ladies recently attending the stroke support group and my stroke trial just had a major break-through. She was able to move her arm for the first time by herself since she had the stroke but more importantly was the confidence she gained from it. She was literally glowing at the end of the session, enjoying the praise and attention that 60 minutes earlier would have made her blush and run out of the room.
She wasn’t the only one who gained from this session. A lot of people attended and gained from it in different ways. I don’t think it’s your typical CE session. For most attendees there has been no initial consultation, even though some of the basic forms have been filled out. If I could describe it, its like a drop-in CE session like the yoga/pottery/wood-work classes in the other rooms of community centre. Yes, its not ideal but when the stroke group coordinator and me first got together, we wanted to make it accessible for everyone in the group. We had a group that met every week to socialize, exercise, play cognitive games, switch information and learn from each other. Not unlike any other conductive group. So to utilize this in way to make it a conductive group, was the challenge we set ourselves. I put together a program that differentiates a lot to be useful as an introductory course for all levels and abilities and I think everyone took away at least one new thing from the session. This was the second week of our eight-week trial and so far so good.
I don’t think it will stay as useful for all over a long term, unless we are able to split up in smaller learning groups. But it’s great for an introduction and accessible for people, who otherwise do not attend for various reasons.
Anyhow, in our discussion about the session, the coordinator said she knew from the beginning that this is something great, something big and she is very passionate about it. However-and she told me to not take it the wrong way (oh dear, here it comes) – the members of the group were surprise to hear that the “girl with the soft voice” will be back, to teach the group. Ummphh, “the girl with the soft voice” is definitely not the greatest compliment I ever had. But I understood what she meant, because yes I do have a softer voice and as my boyfriend puts it a slight “British” politeness in my voice that makes it softer. I also know that I am very passive when it comes to sell CE. I do want people to know about it without pressurizing them. I wish sometimes I would be a bit more aggressive in my approach to promote CE and I will try to work on it. I also wish I would be better with words. In my head I thought I actually did quite a good job going out there and talk about CE, but I also know where my talents lie. I convince people by showing them what I do and explaining while doing it. During group sessions I feel at home, in fact quite safe. That’s where my passion and knowledge glows (or at least I hope so).
Funnily, I know a lot of conductor colleagues, who are like me: Shine in their practice and not so much in their public speaking. But I also know, met, read from conductors who are naturals in public speaking and feel at home doing that. I hope that some more of those will step it up and talk/write more about CE. Also, the ones who are less natural at this, try anyway. Isn’t that what we teach our clients- trying is more important then achieving. At the end of day, without me “trying” I would have had the opportunity I had today, to teach some amazing individuals some new skills and help them glow.