Monday, 25 September 2017

THINGS COME TOGETHER

Perhaps it is wrong to discern connections
Perhaps it is careless not to

Image result for "walking with the enemy"

Blogger has reminded me that four years ago I was posting items on the context in which András Pető was living during the siege of Budapest. Specifically it reminds me of one posting about how very close András Pető came to being murdered by the Arrow Cross (Hungarian Fascist militia).


That in turn made me think of a further reminder of those days, but one never explicitly mentioned – András Pető's address from shortly after the end of the War up until his death in 1967. He had take over the flat of the Brody family on the corner of Béla Stollar utca and Balassy Bálint utca (there is a commemorative plaque on the side of the building to commemorate his residence there). A small ceremony is held in front of this plaque each year, on the anniversary of András Pető's birthday.

Stollar Béla utca is named after Béla Stollar a young Hungarian anti-Fascist who was killed in another apartment further along the street, on Christmas Day 1944, in a gun battle with the Arrow Cross:


Every mention of Stollar Béla u. should serve as a reminder of the vicious campaign to exterminate András Pető and his kin, and how close his own escape had been.

I sometimes wonder whether we outside Hungary who have dealings with Conductive Education have much understanding of how horrifying were the circumstances out of which it emerged, the sensitivities that can surround these, and their continuing salience today.

They might consider that, in yesterday's General Election in Germany, second place after Angela Merkel's governing Christian Democratic Union Party has been taken by AfD (Alternative for Germany), a right-wing nationalist party, with 12,8% of the vote.

The next Hungarian General Election will take place in or before Spring 2018. The most recent opinion poll there shows support for Jobbik (Movement or a Better Hungary) standing at 19%, in second place and to the right even of Viktor Orbán's governing Fidesz party.

And the UK is struggling to disengage and clamber out of Europe

Nothing to do with Conductive Education?

Heading picture. This is a still from the film Walking with the Enemy, a clumsy and Hollywoodised account of what happened to Jews in Budapest in 1944-5, but a rare opportunity for even a glimpse:




Saturday, 23 September 2017

NOT JUST CONDUCTORS

Hungarian special-education's brain-drain...


Increasing numbers of Hungarian special educators prefer working abroad. Their union states that they are very under-paid at home but receive a decent wage in Western Europe, mainly in Germany.

Train as a special educator in Hungary, the teachers' union says, and expect poor working conditions, at the bottom of local authorities' priorities.

Source

Includes video of news report on Hir TV:





Friday, 22 September 2017

ANTON MAKARENKO – MOVING ON

Next step: public presentation


Following publication of the new edition of the works of Anton Makarenko, the next big step will be its public presentation.

This will be under the title of 'Basic directions in utilising the new collected works of A. S Makarenko in developing the contemporary theory and practice of upbringing'., and will take the  form of a round table, to be held in Nizhnii Novgorod on 7 December, at the Kozma Minin Pedagogic University.

Thank you Elena Ilaltdinova for this.

Previous posting on this topic


Thursday, 21 September 2017

SOMETHING RELEVANT

In case it be forgot...

Image result for ferrari spastic forms
p. 91

...the CNS's ability to increase the sensory system['s] receptive capacity by modifying the functional setting...  without which it would be more difficult to reach an adequate perceptive attention level.

...it is often impaired in CP children...

And in Conductive Education, what can happen, and how...?

Five years later it seems worth reminding of this again for those who wish to argue Conductive Education's in relevant scientific terms:


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

MÁRIA HÁRI – A MESSAGE

Motor learning

Message: pp.237-248

In the last few weeks of her life, already confined to her bed, Mária Hári said to me – 
I was too rigid,' she declared, unbidden.

You, Mária? Rigid? Never!'

– See, it is all there, she said, indicating a heavily over-scored chapter in David Legge's collection of readings on skills, on learning to fly, to type, to ride a bike...

As often when chasing a particular line she rather overstated her case. It is not all there but, stripped right down, much of the motor learning involved in CE is.

Anyway, this was a message that she wanted to leave with me and I am pleased to pass it on here to those who care about such things...

Reference

Miller, G. A., Galanter, E., Pribram, K. H. (1970) Motor skills and habits, in D. Legge (ed.) Skills (Penguin Modern Psychology Readings), London, Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1970, pp. 237-248

SOMETHING OF RAILWAY INTEREST

One of Hungary's Great Little Railways

What lies beneath?

Five-km narrow-gauge line between Alcsútdoboz and Felcsút.

So very unlike the home life of our own dear narrow-gauge lines elsewhere in the world...

Such PR and lavish graphics, such capitalisation, such a nerve.

They do things rather differently there, in all sorts of ways. It looks terrific, but it is not really the same sort of institution as we know.

The Vál Valley Narrow Gauge

https://www.valvolgyikisvasut.hu/ (in three languages)




BABSI SCHWARTZ

Co-founder dies

Traueranzeige Babsi Schwarz

FortSchritt Düsseldorf mourns our Babsi Schwartz who died on Friday aged only 70.
It was Babsi Schwarz who, with her husband Dieter, brought Conductive Education to Duesseldorf in the mid-nineties. After the founding of our association, she served as its first chair until 1998. This time also saw establishment and opening of our first facility in Hilden. Babsi Schwarz was our association's engine. Without her there would no option for Conductive Education in Düsseldorf.
We owe her much. Our sympathy goes out to her husband Hanni and son Heiko.
We shall keep Babsi Schwarz in honourable and grateful remembrance.

Forschritt Düsseldorf:

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

FROM FLORIDA

Ralph tells it rather well

@LawyeronWheels
Ralph Strzałkowski

It is always a pleasure to find a pretext to quote Ralph Strzałkowski again. Four years ago Ralph blogged this – 

Blessed

A friend's sister who has cerebral palsy ended up in an ICU [intensive care unit] again. As I'm in shock and in fear of what may come next I can't stop thinking how lucky me and my family were to have been spared all of this. Every few months I hear about these young people. Bed-ridden. Much younger than me, didn't really to experience much in life – their condition more extensive – facing life-threatening conditions. Nothing left to do but pray.

As much as I don't want to turn this into a discussion on theory of cerebral palsy's origins, I can't but stop to wonder. What is the difference between us? On the books we have the same disability. A few seconds, a few millimetres, a few more dead brain cells? Why am I here and they're there? Is it all random? Why was I spared?

That's why you will never hear me complain about my disability. What do I have to complain about? I feel blessed. I'm alive. I get to explore the world and meet people. I get to move around. I see, I hear, I speak and I talk. I open my arms and experience the surroundings with all my senses. I have my plans. I have big dreams. Not for myself, but for the things I can do for others. No sir, I have nothing to complain about.

So people give me odd looks on the street. Should I even care? So some are more likely to prejudge and dismiss me. So it's harder to do some tasks and I need help with others. So wheeling is not as fast as walking. Big deal. So I don't look graceful in my chair. So what? I don't get to climb stairs or tango, and getting a date is not as easy, I will never become a painter or a dancer. Who cares? Life is precious and I love mine.

When I ask why me it's not out of frustration for being in a wheelchair – it's why am I doing better than people who have the same thing. And whenever I feel sorry for myself, because I have those moments just like everybody else, I think here's nothing that puts things in perspective quite like this.

Yes Ma'am! I'm blessed. I have everything that I need.. And I should give back more to pay back this huge debt I owe the universe.

http://blog.lawyeronwheels.org/2013/09/blessed.html


At the time I commented on this posting, in the immortal words of the Sex Pistols –
'Never mind the bollocks', this is what it's all about

Ralph's CE writings

View Never, never quit by Ralph Strzałkowski
Book of a blog
What, you haven't yet read Ralph's book? On his growing up with cerebral palsy, his life as a pupil at the then Pető Institute, and starting a new, independent life in America? Why ever not? The world of Conductive Education is desperately lacking in the perspectives of adults who have grown up under the aegis of CE.

His book Never, Never Quit is a rare bird indeed. You can preview it, and order a copy, here:

http://www.blurb.com/b/4642407-never-never-quit

The book was taken from Ralph's blog, Lawyer on Wheels. His blog continued beyond the book's publication and remains on line.
Ralph no longer blogs about Conductive Education. He has moved on.



Sunday, 17 September 2017

PRACTICE-BASED EVIDENCE

Yes, you did read that right


Over a couple of days rather a lot of people have looked at Friday's posting on Conductive World, on the topic of research and practice:


For myself, it has again had me turning over in my mind the notion of 'evidence-based practice', an excellent concept in general terms but not so far fruitfully applied in the area of Conductive Education. For all the effort that has gone into researching conductive practice, I wonder whether any conductive practice can yet be described as 'evidence based on the basis of evaluations of the outcomes of conductive practice.

It would be interesting to know why this is so.

One line of thought, my own, is that outcome-evaluations of Conductive Education do really merit being problematicised in their own right. In other words, if they really are important, then they too should be researched. As far as I know, this has not yet happened. Research the research, why not? There is no reason to regard 'research' as sacrosanct, a Holy Cow with models, methodologies and practice above critical questioning and empirical investigation.

Come off it, pull the other one. Read the scientific press. Read the academic literature, all the way up to Nature and Science. Look around you and see the world as it is. To recognise that the people or institutions involved in research, their ideas and their practices, are potentially fallible is not to disrespect scholarship and science. It is merely to recognise that this sector can be like any other area of human activity, and for much the same reasons. It is not contrarian to question research and researchers. If the topic matters, as it has done in the case of Conductive Education, it is not just responsible to do so – it is vital.

On Friday evening, taking up again the phrase 'evidence-based practice'. I turned it over to see what is underneath, and wondered about its obvious antithesis: 'practice-based evidence'.

Nice one, I thought, and at once started thinking of how footling outcome-evaluations of conductive practice might measure up from such a perspective. I immediately realised, however, that the notion of practice-based evidence is far too obvious not to have already occurred in the wider world of research, in spades. A click across to Google and... well, you try it.

Practice-based evidence is already becoming a trodden field, with different ways of construing it, and a growing academic literature... Oh well, as ever, original ideas are hard to come by!

'Conductive Education research' is not presently a hot issue. Who knows, though, it might yet again have its day. Come that day and PBE – practice-based evidence – could prove a useful critical tool to have available in Conductive Education's armamentarium (tool kit) for interrogating future evaluations, while they are still at the stage of being planned if you have the chance, or for examining them after the deed is done if you do not.

In the meantime, you might also find that PBE offers another slant on the qualitative qualitative question...




Friday, 15 September 2017

RESEARCH AND PRACTICE

Cake and eat it
Conceptual schizophrenia

'Probably don't do it' – research

In New South Wales, Australia, the charity Cerebral Palsy Alliance in has been publicly featuring its long-established conductive service in Sydney (conductors Gabriel Pinter and Rita Schwerlichovszky):


Another branch of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance is its Research Foundation (Ilona Novak, director). Four years ago Ilona Novak and her colleagues recommended an evidence-based 'traffic-light system' (red, amber green) for cerebral-palsy treatments, among which it included Conductive Education.. On the basis of their review of published research CE came out as 'red', i.e. with the recommendation:

Below the 'worth-it line'
'Probably don't do it'

What should an organisation like Cerebral Palsy Alliance do in such a circumstance? Cover its bets and ride both horses. Take public credit for doing CE itself, as parents in New South Wales appear to appreciate while publicly warning others around the world not to do it themselves...

Previous




Reference

Schenker, R., Sutton, A (2014) Researching conductive education, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, vol. 56, no 4, pp. 402-403, March