Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Search for "Conductive Education" in languages other than English?

One window on how diverse the CE world has become

The previous item on Conductive World was a quick note about using Twitter. Towards the end of this came a simple a practical tip, suggesting that one might attract more attention from search engines by including the words 'Conductive Education' in Twitter postings (tweets). I added:
'Conductive Education now seems the definitive search phrase that most people use (and not just in English).
Not long after, one of my regular correspondents sent an email:
What do you mean? Conductive Education is in English. How can you look up Conductive Eduction in another language and still be writing Conductive Education?????
She wrote this in red (in fact, on checking back I see that she wrote it in large red).
I replied as follows:
People often hear about CE before there is a word for it in their own language. Even when there is they may still, use the English words in their own sentences.
Go to Google Advanced Search. Enter Conductive Education in the second line. Scroll down to the Languages box and start searching for Conductive Education in some of the languages of the world.
I have been doing this for years. How do you think that I find out about China, for example?
This received a deservedly stern reply:

I know what you meant but you didn't say it.

Oh dear, that's me told!

Do correct me if I am wrong

I am not objecting. On the contrary, I wish that more people in Conductive Education were just as critical about what they read or say. If you find something that is not clear, then the odds are that the author or speaker is not very clear on this point either.

Push the issue, don't let it go, help purge the system of some of the awful junk that is clogging its intellectual arteries! I write that as someone who has contributed more that his fair share of perhaps questionable material, to an almost total lack of critical public debate.

If you think something that you read or hear to be questionable, do what my correspondent did, challenge it (that's 'challenge' in the real and original sense of the word!)

The challenge

Personally, of course, I considered what I wrote to be pellucid and self-evident, forgetting that it related to a series of questions that have occupied me for more that thirty years, in and out of Conductive Education.

What I wrote, however, might appear less obvious when introduced as a throwaway remark, as if everybody already knew about this matter.

So, there are two questions, one of communication, the other of substance.

The communication question

All I can say is 'Sorry' and hope that the elucidations above now make things clear. I shall do what I can to minimise this problem, as far as I am able.

Discussion of Conductive Education has for years been plagued by the lowest common denominator problem. One of my tasks in the time remaining to me is to share as much as I can of what I have stumbled upon over the years, this in a meaningful way, before it vanishes. It is not necessarily for me to judge whether what I share is 'good' or 'bad', simply to be sure that others have the choice of making their own decisions over this.

Apologies therefore to my correspondent who points out that I may be relying too much upon my audience's previous knowledge, or that I do not explain myself with sufficient patience to key in to what other people do indeed already know, albeit in somewhat different terms.

In mitigation, the circumstances seem to offer limited purpose to 'teaching down to the level' of existing understandings. I have therefore to follow my inclination and to stay ahead of present development and draw it up behind me.

Sound familiar? It should do, to every living soul in Conductive Education. And if it doesn't, then you should do what my correspondent did, write in and complain! Before you do, however, do please check what is knowable to you through other sources.

The substantive

I hope that this is clear enough in my email response reproduced above.

To check for yourself the justification for what I have written, follow the course that I suggested to my correspondent. I have just broken off writing this item to do a quick spot-check to see whether I was in fact talking through my hat about the use of the term 'Conductive Eduction' in languages other than English.

Number of hits for "Conductive Education" on Google (today)

Chinese (Traditional) 614
Chinese (Simplified) 855
Korean 423
Portuguese 57
Hebrew 113
Thai 135
Arabic 124
Russian 120
Polish 199
Farsi (Persian) 62

That's a list of just ten languages/writing systems. Try some of the others on Google's Advanced Search page: there are plenty more to chose from.

What on Earth are all these people communicating about? In some cases it it obvious, more so if you have a knowledge or even a smattering of some of the languages involved. In others, this has to remain a total mystery.

It reminds me of when I was a kid, sleepless in bed until the early hours, roaming the short-wave dial on my wireless in search of illumination. All that cacophony. The occasional English-language wavelength, and even that often in unfamiliar accents, and the rest a Tower of Babel with only the occasional English word breaking through.

No, I don't think that I was talking through my hat. In the present instance the odd snatch of something familiar is the phrase 'Conductive Education'.

Accumulating the store of knowledge

One of the tasks that the National Library of Conductive Education had set itself was to collect everything that it could find, written on or around Conductive Education. At one time this seemed a more than manageable task but a quick multi-language search of the sort described above shows the enormous proliferation of potentially interesting material out there now in the twenty-first century.

And that's before taking the job to the higher level of searching not for "Conductive Education" in English but in one of the burgeoning number of apparent equivalents now establishing themselves in other languages!

And that in turns opens out the superhuman task of working out what is going on across the planet, in the name of Conductive Education, in people's minds and in their practices.

Dr Spock (the one with the ears)

'It's life, Jim, but not as we know it' (apologies to Trekkies: apparently there is no video on line to illustrate this extraterrestrial aphorism).

It is now only eighteen months to go till the Conductive Education World Congress in Hong Kong.

I do hope that I make myself clear.

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