Tuesday, 14 July 2009

What use is Conductive Education?

The discussion continues...

Over the last two weeks readers of have been raising important questions in the Comments pages of Conductive World:

Events march on, new items appear and it is easy for discussion like this to be 'buried'. I am therefore taking the most recent posting from these two threads and republishing it here with greater prominence: so that more readers may see it.

Jo Lebeer MD PhD, University of Antwerp, BE said...

Interesting discussion. I am particularly concerned that CE has been classified by the AACP (American Academy of Cerebral Palsy) as "insufficiently evidence based" and therefore not recommendable treatment, which puts CE along the same (poor evidence based) line as NDT such as Bobath and Vojta.

Gone are the 20th century paradigms (in the eyes of the academics). On the EACD (European Academy of Childhood Disability) conference in Monaco, then AACP president Charlotte Butler placed CE amongst the list of quackeries. In the EACD Barcelona conference, I had a talk on "the dilemma between inclusive education and activation", where I presented, as an example, the inspiring results obtained in a small CE+inclusion project in Hengelo, NL, as well as referring to Rony Schenker's and Roby O'Shea's positive results in this respect. After the talk, I received a comment: "It's a pity that you mentioned CE examples, because CE is not an evidence-based therapy".

However, listening afterward to Elisabeth Bower's talk on Collaborative Goal Setting, I had a feeling of "old wine in new barrels"; the idea of functional and goal-oriented treatment seems to be the 21st century approach; the underlying philosophy has been advocated long ago by... Andras Petö, who, however, is not cited by E. Bower.

Strikingly, Maria Hari's chapter in the "academic bible" on CP therapy, Management of motor disorders of children with cerebral palsy, London: McKeithPress, has been replaced by Elisabeth Bower's chapter on collaborative goal-setting. Equally, when you carefully read Diane Damiano's article on Activity, Activity, Activity, this is precisely what CE also advocates, right from the beginning. It has been the cornerstone of CE.

So, don't throw away this cornerstone, but Damiano (and Rony Shenker) are right that we need more research to measure the effect of activity. Why is it that CE people never present research results in the EACD or AACP conferences? It is difficult to prove any effect of any therapy in the field of pediatric rehabilitation systems. I tried to explain this in my article "Towards an ecology of rehabilitation: Methodology issues in evaluating intervention, in Conductive Education Occasional Papers, N° 9".

11 July 2009 22:14

Nice to see you here Jo. I have a couple of things that I woud like to say about what you have written, but perhaps other people might like to get in first!

22 comments:

  1. Hi Jo,
    When was that decision of the AACPDM made?
    I would rather relate to Darrah et al's AACPDM evidence report from 2004 and I quote:"The present literature base does not provide conclusive evidence either in support of or against CE as an interventions strategy...The focus on CE intervention in education, function and activities of daily living may fit with the needs of many families. A review of the literature assists researches to identify what is needed in future research studies...")p.202

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  2. Shouldn't we therefore start with the parents as our main study population? Shouldn't we search there for evidence? I think this might be a good starting point. They are the BASIC of the world conductive movement, they are the ones to choose conductive upbringing, they are our clients as well, if not the key clients. We can ask them what change did the conductive experience made in their lives, we can explore change in attitudes towards disability, we can measure hope as an essential components of change, we can measure quality of life and stress factors and much more. The Family centered approach as presented by the CanChild is a good platform or paradigm for studying these issues, with reliable and validated assessment tools for measuring family centered services from parents point of view. We can also use qualitative research method to explore narratives of families regrading the conductive experience, change and development , and we can preferably use both quantitative and qualitative methods of research.
    The ICF (although it is a health Model rather than an educational one), provide us with the opportunity of many 'entry point' for measuring performance either from the body function and structure, activity or participation within an ecological context which takes into consideration the environmental and personal factors and the interrelation between all aspects of functioning. We can indeed adopt this widely validated model to be used in such studies as well.

    So who start?

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  3. This is what I was going to respond to Jo.

    Most of what people conventionally refer to as ‘Conductive Education research’ is not research but mere evaluation, and consequently undertaken not by scientists, thinkers, but by technicians applying techniques.

    Scientists would immediately and humbly see that absence of proof of effect is not necessarily proof of absence of effect, and critically ask whether failure to demonstrate effect of the kind sought, in the ways that it is being sought might not logically also be due to the choice of effects and those ways of looking. They would be very, very concerned that these consistent evaluation results have been consistently at variance with consistently reported experience.

    Simply, a scientific mind would have ground to posit that that the wrong things might be under the microscope here, and that perhaps a different instruments might be needed if the possible object of study were reconsidered.

    They might even raise the question whether this might be a task for a different branch or branches of science.

    Developmental disorder involves transactions through learning, between the physiological and the psycho-social levels, through a process that is active, dynamic, mediated, systemic, ecological, dialectical, whatever). It is not the unmediated, mechanistic outcome of laws at the biological level.

    Conductive Education (pedagogy and upbringing) is a psycho-social intervention, achieved through psycho-social means, aimed at adjusting the ‘dislocations of development’ that stem from disruption to impediments to the normal (no apologies for the word) developmental processes.

    This principle is now such a commonplace in developmental disorders, so implicit, as not to need stating, with doctors long chased out of anything but a supportive role in these fields in the advanced economies. Imagine for example, an otologist or ophthalmologist nowadays plausibly pontificating about the processes of the upbringing and education of deaf or blind children.

    Such medical specialists are of course as much entitled to an opinion on these matters as is anybody else, and they may have long, rich personal experiences of such children that makes such personal opinion particularly welcome Further, of course, their medical knowledge and interventions may a times contribute significantly to the dynamics of children’s development, and may be exceptionally valued in return.

    When it comes to deciding the processes of deaf of blind education, of evaluating their outcome, they may have a contributions to make of the orders just mentioned, but they themselves cannot ‘research’ these processes. That is a matter for educators and social scientists.

    It used to be different, of course, but the world has moved on . I can remember in the United Kingdom, in the sixties and early seventies, when we chased the doctors from their then controlling role right across special education. Once the doctors were no longer in power, of course, it became much easier to see and to say that the Emperor had no clothes.

    (to continue)

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  4. (continued)

    Somehow or other, the motor disorders got left behind on the way, perhaps because in those days there was no real pedagogic platform to stand upon.

    It is not we in Conductive Education who are ‘stuck in a twentieth-century paradigm’. What uninformed impudence! It is the cerebral palsy establishment (and similar establishments) who are digging in, entrenching, in a nineteenth-century one. I don’t know what medical specialism is chiefly represented in the two organisations mentioned. I suspect though that they comprise mainly paediatricians.

    There is, I understand, doubt expressed within other medical specialisms that paediatrics is a legitimate stand-alone medical specialism at all, as paediatric neurologists etc nibble away at paediatricians’ former territory. Childhood, it may be said, is hardly a disease! In such circumstances cerebral palsy may seem a last redoubt, to be defended at all costs come what may.

    And now here comes Conductive Education, the pedagogic platform that now overlooks their embattled encampment and sees it for what it is. Don’t expect to be welcomed with open arms.

    From my view point, if it is more ‘research’ that needed, then maybe one thing required here is a good dose of political science, and the sociology and history (of childhood and of medicine), with these ‘academies’ in America, Europe and Australia, and perhaps on other places too for all I know, serving as the subject of study.

    Conductive Education should demand no less than the well knows 3Rs of educational research, real, relevant and rigorous investigations based upon educational and social science models, referants, methodologies etc., conducted with criticality, flexibility and humility (compare and contrast!).

    In the meantime, we will proceed faster and further if we disembarress ourselves of the notion that the continuing problem of Conductive Education research is about ’science’ (Wissenschaft, nauka, tudomany, call it what you will). It is diversionary to waste time over the specifics of the existing ’research’ endeavour, its methods, instruments, chosen outcomes, even the people involved and their established institutions. It is worse to waste energy into fighting battles on territory and with weaposns of other people’s choosing.

    My advice to the world of Conductive Education is FORGET IT. Comparative evaluations of the ‘outcomes’ of Conductive Education, with children or with adults, framed within dysfunctional old paradigms, will always come up with the same answer. Conductive Education should turn its back upon this charade, walk away, start the long overdue conversations with educational research, and begin belatedly to identify and test out more appropriate research questions, methodologies and instruments more appropriate methodologies to the tasks before us.

    Please do not let another twenty years go to waste.


    Andrew

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  5. Am I missing something?

    "It's a pity that you mentioned CE examples, because CE is not an evidence-based therapy".

    I am as bewildered as ever when I hear or read about the comparison between Conductive Education, physiotherapy or physical therapy and the Bobath Method.
    Please forgive me also for asking this: where is the evidence-based proof of physiotherapy or the Bobath Method?

    If there is such a proof, these therapists must be miracle workers as I daily hear it from our children that they have to sit in a wheelchair for approximately 7 hours a day. I am talking about children who are independent walkers, or managing safely with monopod sticks.

    How can anyone achieve any progress, dare I say orthofunction by being doomed to sit in a wheelchair and made to be a passive observant and recipient of life, deprived and segregated from all essential functional activities which are the foundations and the source of invaluable cognitive challenges and health and well-being etc.?

    How could a physical therapist agree with this and actually demand it to be? Threatening to withdraw services if the child doesn’t follow their ways.

    A Conductor or a person with some common sense would never agree with this.

    It is against anything we know about life, growth and development and health and well-being.

    Why do we have to prove this to the academics? Isn’t it obvious?

    Another question if we are so hung up on academic research: are we actually planning to compare full systems of provisions or physiotherapy and The Petö System of Education?


    Ps: By the way some of our children who are fully toilet trained have to wear nappies at school against their own will.
    (one of them at the age of 9 was reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. That was her favourite book. Wonder why?)

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  6. Dear Judith,
    I'm afraid you are missing somethings...
    1. NDT Bobath is in a deep trouble world wide. In many place around the globe the NDT course is not being tought any more because of lack of evidence!
    2. There are however updated Bobath courses (especially in EBTA (the european Bobath Tutors association) where Bobath courses have changed and adapt to the current understanding of the ICF. Where one should still call it Bobath method is a big issue in many distinguished papers.
    What you are describing is an extreme and unprofessional treat not related to either Bobath or anybody else but a real moral and ethical behaviours. Bobath never said that a child of nine year ols should not use the toilet...
    3. You ask: "Why do we have to prove this to the academics? Isn’t it obvious?" No, it is not. Nothing is obvious unless you proved it is.
    We are in and era where 'obvious' is not enough.These days are gone together with the 20th century.
    4.You ask :"Why do we have to prove this to the academics?" I have news for you, not only to the academic but to those who fund your programs as well, to current parents and to service providers.
    This is the name of the game today, It is a 'to be or not to be' issue.
    I don't know if you have lately applied for foundations support. They ask for evidence!!! they want to know how you measure progress etc. NO EVIDENCE = NO FUNDS! So it's not really the 'academics' problem, it has become the field's problem, our problem.
    4. Anger and frustration will not help
    5. Nobody really compared in this discussion CE with Bobath. But unfortunatelly both methods are going into one direction if not emergancy acts will take place: within the next ten years (and most probably much less (it depends where on the globe)these two will disapear and only learned as episodes in the history of special education and rehabilitation, important episode in the overall world of edu-rehabilitation, but not more than that.
    I can assure you that there are already places where NDT is not relevant any more. There are loud voices which call to leave NDT to the past, not to lose time and to move on to those methods and approaches which are evidence based.
    So it leaves us with two options: Either to say that it is 'obvious' (no body seems to listen to such a statement any more), or start moving (very quickly) towards searching evidence were it is and not where it isn't

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  7. Dear Rony,

    I wasn’t talking about Bobath only. I was talking about physiotherapy general (some of the physios are NDT trained some aren’t) and the whole special education system and ‘inclusion’.

    What I was describing is the reality we have to live in everyday with our children and parents. These therapists and the system are responsible that intelligent and mobile children are not allowed to walk and participate in normal everyday school activities.

    Bobath probably never said anything related to toilet training (accept that these children have problems with it) as the method never reached to the level of real functioning, education, behaviour management (I dislike this phrase) and supporting individuals to lead a dignified, empowered and self-contained life. I agree with you what I described is an extreme and unprofessional treat, but it is happening in the UK in the 21st century and no one seems to care or do anything about it.

    What kind of a world are we living in as responsible grown up human beings where we have to prove the obvious? This is the real question!
    Who are we obeying and pretending that it is OK?
    Can we ask the ‘questioners’ to prove us that CE doesn’t work so therefore we are not allegeable for funding? Can we? Should we?
    You are right the name of the game has to change…
    Can we start asking questions, instead of being questioned and ask them back how they measure progress? How they want us to measure progress?
    What is the evidence of life?

    I am not angry, I am driven to ask intelligent, common sense questions and expect more from us who are out there on the leading edge of making a difference in the 21st Century.
    Judit

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  8. Yes I am.
    You are right the name of the game has to change…
    The new name is ‘remember who you really are…’

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  9. Hi all,

    A bit below in this blog it is discussed why exactly everybody is so busy in this time of year and not taking part in such and great conversations. I would love to say more things to the adapted Bobath - but I have no time (I have read the new point of view and seen the actions through one of my children; it very much seems that Peto has won the “battle” and probably they further discuss it in heaven. It is of course not "Bobath" anymore.

    But I originally wanted to say, to Jo too, that there was written a PhD by Wilna Dirkse van Schalkwyck in 2007, Holistic Approaches to Stroke Rehabilitation: A Comparative Study ( Liverpool John Moors University)
    which research study was undertaken by the PhD researcher and the thesis seems to be given truth to CE.

    And this is from my last posting from my blog:
    “ In addition to the measurable benefits of Conductive Education -Brittle N, Brown M, Mant J, McManus R, Riddoch J, Sackley C. at the School of Health Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK. Short-term effects on mobility, activities of daily living and health-related quality of life of a Conductive Education programme for adults with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and stroke, Clin Rehabil.2008 Apr; 22(4):329-37)”

    I understand you looking for evidences for children.

    The Munich “research” by von Voss (2002) found partly very good evidences in CE, however, I personally would argue if it was investigating CE at all.

    Anyway, CE was never an evidence-based therapy to me but a very useful life experience-based complex teaching possibility which also not new at all – “old wine in new barrel” again. No one wanted to took CE like that, everybody wanted to handle it as a therapy - still, evidences of its successful acts in front of us.
    Andrew, I think you kind a right when you were suggesting to Forget It! and try to make a useful a twist.

    Laci

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  10. Dear All,

    I enjoyed reading this thread of postings and would like to add a few comments as one who encouraged for a long time (on this blog and on other forums) the importance of dissemination of work in order to advance the knowledge of CE.

    I think when we talk about ‘research’ very often something mysterious comes to mind, an activity which is mainly associated with academics. However, we do research every time when wanting to make informed decisions about any aspects of our life or work. We seek and we use information. This information comes with any forms, statistics, comparative data, narratives of others, etc. etc. Conductors do lots of small scale ‘research’ in forms of inquiry, case studies, evaluations and so on. They also disseminate their work with each other, with parents, with other professionals both in a written format and by engaging in discussions. They seek and share information. They also complete post-graduate studies, attend conferences and help conductor students to complete dissertations. They read blogs and contribute to them, refer to publications and reflect on practice. They identify challenges and contradictions and seek new ways for CE. All which may well be part of a research process.

    There are lots of discussions within the field of educational research of who should carry out investigations which are describing, exploring, explaining or comparing aspects of pedagogy or the educational field, and how this should be done - and CE is not different to these. Practitioner research has been gaining a great status and recognition of that the input from an educator into a research process brings something different and more what a scientific, qualitative study may offer. The government in the UK in the last few years have put great emphasis on encouraging for example teachers to engage in practice-related research, we also know that action research itself is gaining recognition within research methods. The need for practice-based investigation has changed the way of methods used, for example action research is increasingly undertaken.

    I must agree with Rony. Evidence-based research is what gate-keepers with resources are looking for. Published reports and disseminated work. Not simply about how effective is CE but first of all what is it? How its stakeholders perceive it. What are the priorities for a conductor? What makes practice pedagogically so distinguished? Who is it for? Etc. etc. Many, many questions can be raised and should be answered by conductors or those who are in direct contact with the practice. Once we have critical, conceptualised accounts about various aspects of CE we can start to talk about a cumulative knowledge which may allow larger scale studies with the support of more experienced researchers, perhaps until a generation of conductors are ready to do it themselves. This may also be a very useful information and knowledge source for those researchers who are not conductors but who want to touch on CE (why not if the context is rehabilitation or special pedagogy?) or elaborate its shared knowledge. It also may contribute to the avoidance of illegitimate claims regarding who is doing what in the field of CE or physiotherapy, and may reduce the possibilities of misinterpretations or biased explanations.

    (to continue)

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  11. ... continued

    However, these are external stimuli for research. Conductors should consider the internal ones too. Research is very often aimed at scrutinising practice and professional competence. As a reflective process in CE research should also aim to link to conductors’ claims regarding the discipline. It should help conductors to re-consider the ‘obvious or common sense’ claims we often make about CE. It should look at what are the successful aspects of our practice and which are the ones where perhaps where we are not so great. Research conducted by conductors would help them to learn more about themselves as well as about our profession. Practice-based research is part of professional development and the route to improving practice or increasing professional competence starts from small-scale investigations to larger scale studies.

    I have just completed an advanced research method course for my own study. In my group there were mainly educators who were researching the ‘obvious’, for example how children learn foreign languages, how drama may be used to teach history, what ways a mainstream school provides for dyslexic children. All very ‘common sense’ topics which may have knowledge already but where the changing educational, political climate calls for continuous effort to learn more about them.

    A final point to argue for is the need for practice- and evidence-based research. Practice-based research in education is very closely connected to the researchers’ personal values - beliefs which inevitably determine research design and interpretation of data but also challenge and elaborate on those studies which were conducted by those without the pedagogical perceptions of conductors. This will support the growth of academic discourse and should contribute to non-biased and legitimate knowledge base which should make others more comfortable with our philosophy and practice.

    Tunde

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  12. Szia Tunde,

    It is so hard and time consuming to write in a way that it can’t be misinterpreted and misunderstood. So I hope that the following will come out in a way that you and the other readers will know that I am writing from the heart and with good intensions.

    We all have different perceptions of things, different points of views, that makes life interesting, inspiring and this is what moves things forward.
    Everybody has a valid point form his or her own level of involvement and angle. This is how it is and how it should be.
    I enjoyed reading this thread as I felt that it was honest sharing, it was informational and educational.

    I have a question in mind…So what is stopping you to set up such research project with Rony or at least make a start?
    I believe that you are in Israel working closely with her.
    I personally wish that it was done instead of just talked about.

    Another question…Why this hasn’t been done over the last 20 odd years? Is there a good reason behind it?

    Last question… What do you suggest as a first step to create an evidence-based research?

    Thank you, Judit

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  13. Judit,

    Thank you for your reply. I think you misunderstood my posting in which I tried to suggest that conductors should start research with small-scale investigations and inquiries to start to build some body of knowledge of CE and to give the world some meaningful accounts of what it is about.

    I am afraid you are wrong when you ask why I do not get involved with such activities. Obviously you are not aware of the activities and publications I tried to do in the last few years, perhaps Gill will help you out with this one. I am also studying and my thesis will include CE but other things too. I have taught on the BA Hons in CE course which made me realise that you cannot expect students to work towards certain academic standards without you being the role model. Also I left CE three years ago because amongst other reasons one was that there were no opportunities to get involved with research or more academic activities. I had to leave CE to understand more about it, to see where are its excellent and unique points and what are the vulnerable or weak aspects. To do this I had to learn new ideas and issues and had to see CE from a more objective way (was not easy!). I am not suggesting conductors to leave CE to advance it. Instead I encourage all to think about how pertinent and topical is the issue, for conductors, CE managers, trustees etc. those with decision-making capacities and those who carry out the daily tasks.

    Judit, I think it is a bit unfair to tell me that it is time for action instead of talk? However, if you wish to discuss this further I am happy to do so but not on the www.

    Regarding Israel: it was a great pleasure to work with such a dynamic and forward-thinking organisation which repeatedly shows the world that CE can be done once their own context for education and rehabilitation, own culture and national characteristics are taken into consideration. I wish one day I can be involved in any sort of research with them, but I keep emphasising that first we need to pour fresh water into the glass and clarify what is CE. For example this blog, professional publications, master's degrees etc. will contribute to this. I hope anyway.

    Andrew’s blog opened a real critical forum to go beyond potty training and to stimulate thinking regarding CE in a different level. Don’t you think we should start to take each other perspectives without putting bitterness into it?

    On a final note: I would like you to read my posting again. I have suggested that before large, scientific, quantitative studies take place (for which we perhaps will need a very large population of people connected to CE) we should start to talk about what is CE in the 21st century. This is a long-standing issue but a rather urgent one. If conductor miss the boat then cannot complain about how others do it, ignore it, criticise it or interpret it.

    Tunde

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  14. Dear Tunde,

    Thank you. I truly appreciate your response. Really I do.
    So this is again about discussing it…
    and agreeing … and disagreeing…
    and agree to disagree.
    I have been part of this since I came to England in 1986.
    You are telling me I am wrong, Rony is telling me I am wrong, I have been told so many times I am wrong, but none of you told me how is it to be right.
    SO the whole purpose of this discussion… is ??
    We all work very hard without exception…we all find the time beyond our complex everyday work, studies and struggle… I don’t know how… We all try to make a difference by writing and discussing this on this forum… and we are back to square one.
    I know this is not about potty training… please; you don’t need to remind of that.

    Quote: “This is a long-standing issue but a rather urgent one. If conductor miss the boat then cannot complain about how others do it, ignore it, criticise it or interpret it.”

    This statement from you cries out for some constructive suggestions and some explanation how to move towards the path, which would lead me/us where I/we conductors should be heading. What do you suggest to do so we don’t miss the boat?
    Have I been missing the boat with my 28 years of incredibly challenging work? I don’t think so.
    If I have, I want to face it head on and correct it! And for now give me something I could work on and I will. I mean it.
    Thank you for your time, Judit

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  15. Rony's comment makes sense to me, too: there are many, many very able and enthusiastic conductors about but they all have to survive because this is the job they do for a living - and it is an exhausting job! Most of them also have to double themselves up to help to 'run the business' - whether they are "free-lancers" or in a more permanent employment.

    Try as they might they have necessarily very little time and energy left for "defending" their profession on a higher level. They must be excused for this, as long as they do their professional best on the practical level. THEY HELP INDIVIDUALS.

    Yes, they need a "shepherd" and also a "Head Shepherd" to fight the wolves off!!

    Although a conductive parent and not a trained professional, I am possibly in the same boat as a "proper" conductor; I have only so much time and energy to offer for the CAUSE, because my life daily contains what I have appropriated from C.E. However, I never leave out an occasion to point out the huge advantages that my (our) conductive lifestyle has over the lives of those parents/individuals who don't know about CE, who had been cheated or intimidated to give it up, or who (a new, and vast category) simply cannot afford it.

    I have just returned from Michigan, USA where we had a get-together with some Hungarian cousins, 'children' of 1947-emigrant parents. During a dinner in Grand Rapids (!!) I met another Hungarian lady whose granddaughter (9) has CP since birth. How severe her case, I couldn't tell (she showed pictures).

    She did know about CE and the centre in Grand Rapids (as well as Budapest!!) - it seemed to be "far too expensive", "no insurance"...

    They went down the "medical way", the poor child had hair-raising spinal surgeries; these were apperently "not successful" and she now lives in some sort of home, having been turned, after the last operation, into a virtual "zombie".

    What could I tell this lady (a real fiery Hungarian, intelligent, president of the local Hungarian Society) during a social get-together?

    Who gave them all the bad advices? Why is the medical profession trying to spoil chances of a more bearable life for these families (no matter how "bad" the case of this child might have been in their eyes, it could have been improved by CE)?

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  16. Dear Judit,
    You asked for a concrete suggestion. I can share with you what we in TK did:
    a)I didn't ask what is stopping others to set up such research project, but rather What is stoping ME to set up such or other research projects.
    When I realized it was nothing but the fear of finding again no significant results, I decided to search beneath the obvious and the already repeated studies which yield nothing. I decided to study my own backyard: Tsad Kadima's conductive Services. Nothing which pretends to be too grandiousic or too ambitious, on a small scale as Tunde suggests. I was looking for an evidence that something from what we do (what ever it is the Israeli model/version of CE, can be proved to be beneficial.
    Why study us? because I care about us, because I have the know how, because its accesible, and it is relatively easy to receive consent from participants, we train students who are obliged to submit small scale research thesis, and we have a board of directors who see the importance and advantages of running studies. It is also just the right thing to develop a service and reflect on it scientificaly. Centers which beyond providing services, run studies and train professionals are highly valuated nation wide. It is also a great vehicle to spread the knowledge in national and international conferences, based on evidence.
    B. What to study? That was easy! Tsad Kadima is a parent association and is claiming of providing a family centered service. Many studies have shown that providing a family centered service reduces parents stress, increase parents satisfaction from the service provided as well as positively influence the child's progress. To my joy, FCS is considered the best practice today and there are considerable number of assessment tools to measure. I contacted CanChild in McMaster University, Canada and asked for permission to translate the measurements which they developed into Hebrew. It is the third year in which I study this issue in a wider and wider manner. The results for the time being are very interesting, I have presented them in various conferences in Israel, Practical applications where made according to the results and actions have been taken to improve different aspect of the service. Currently I'm studying conductors' attitudes regarding working with families and measure the correlation between conductors attitudes and the degree to which our center is family centered.
    C)I hope to present the whole study in the upcoming World congress in HK.

    Do I measure CE? yes I do. Maybe differently, but as parents are the most essential part of our service providers as well as service acceptants, it is relevant to the Israeli CE system. It is one part of a whole, which is comprised of many elements, but again, we should be modest, and try to focus on what it is, rather than on what it isn't.
    What's next to be studied? I'm sure that different people have different ideas, and if we could really find or create the leadership to develop this thinking into a large scale project, it could have been the right thing to do. In the meanwhile let us start step by step and keep each other updated.

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  17. To Emma,

    I do not think that conductors would find much use for a shepherd. They are not like sheep, one might as well try hearding kittens.

    For leadership there must also be followership.

    I rather wonder whether the same might go for parents, the more determined then the more so.

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  18. Dear Rony,

    Thank you for this detailed, meaningful and practical contribution. What is admirable that you identified the base strength of TK and started your approach from that strength to find solution to your quest.
    Really the answers you are after will be found in the heart of the community.
    I believe that once you find ways and strategies to put all the pieces together you mentioned and if you are willing to publish it and/ or make it available to us we could open up a larger (maybe a world wide) scale of recording and researching.
    If you need any input I am sure that some of us would be more than happy to contribute if we can. Please let me know if I could be of any help.
    Thank you again. Judit

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  19. Rony, thanks for sharing with us your study, look forward to reading its outcomes and recommendations by time!

    Hope your investigation will encourage many others who are 'close to the fire' to explore aspects of practice. I also seriously hope that this discussion will encourage others to share what they do because it is hard to believe that there are no other small-scale investigations around the world carried out by conductors or those who are closely associated with the practice, including parents. We just perhaps do not know about it. Many from conductors complete post-graduate studies in which it is a requirement now to carry out small-scale investigations and present findings. It would be a shame to leave these works to waste.

    The RACE journal was established to advance this work and I know that the editors have put a great deal of time and effort to encourage and to support those who have something to share. The journal became peer reviewed meaning that it has reached particular standard to be considered to be academic and would be shame to loose this opportunity.

    There are also regular conferences around the world in respect of CE, international and on national levels. Perhaps someone can point me to the right direction where I can find the proceedings from these. We have read in another posting on this blog that there is a very active conductor association in the UK which nurtures research and scholarly activities regarding CE; sorry but I cannot find any information about this neither. I wonder why?

    We need lots of research like Rony’s but we also need to make sure that these studies are not isolated but build on each other in order to establish a firm, cumulative knowledge of CE to finally clarify what is it and why is it pedagogically so distinguished. However this extremely broad task can only be tackled if conductors take responsibility for disseminating their experiences and expertise and if they prepare to share these. Without publishing what we do every single attempt of producing a study will have the initial struggle with the literature review and to find relevant, current and contemporary information about CE.

    Hopefully the very small group which consist of people who care about the advancement of CE but also ‘research active’ around the world would grow by time. Those small scale qualitative studies, surveys, case studies, action research etc. which deals with practice inevitably would mirror the value and uniqueness of CE which would be useful to avoid the methodological and conceptual problems which were observable from the often referenced quantitative studies which never proved anything. Just picked up another one:

    Pedersen, A V (2000) Conductive Education. – A Critical Appraisal. Advances in Physiotherapy. (2), pp75-82.


    Devil in the detail – never mind the large-scale evaluative, scientific studies to prove the effectiveness of CE! Let’s clarify what is it first!

    Tunde

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  20. Tunde,

    A few comments on your most recent interesting comment...

    You wrote: '...it is hard to believe that there are no other small-scale investigations around the world carried out by conductors or those who are closely associated with the practice, including parents.'

    There have been so many over the years, though hardly any, of course ever see proper publication. Most people need considerable outside help to bring their dissies up to the article stage.. The sad fact is that most people who supervise such dissies have little or no interest or competence in CE, so on the whole they are little help.

    RACE journal as you say did help to bring some up to article standard but the final issue of this will appear in there Summer. And I have to say, that not a few such dissertations are simply not publishable.

    On the other hand, I have just reported on a separate posting the interesting study by your former colleague Wendy Baker. This will of course be published. By coincidence and second-hand I also heard today that another former colleague of yours, Judit Pasztor, completed an education masterate some time last year, including of course a dissertation, at Cardiff University. You might be in a better position to find out more about this than I am.

    One of the functions undertaken by the National Library over more than twenty years (even since before its formal inauguration) was to spot, beg, bind and catalogue copies of dissertation studied at every level from all over the world). I do not say that there are nuggets of gold in such a collection. An exhaustive trawl of this extensive collection might tell you a lot, about something!

    As for RACE, it ceases to exist in its present form after the forthcoming issue.

    You also wrote: 'There are also regular conferences around the world in respect of CE, international and on national levels. Perhaps someone can point me to the right direction where I can find the proceedings from these.'

    One is inclined to respond: 'Please, pull the other one'. Instead I would ask tyou to offer a list of such over the last, say, thee years. Tsad Kadima's 20th anniversary bash was a splendid occasion, ACENA's conference in Chicago last year was pretty good too. People might like to add their own favourites to the list. But you are surely being disingenuous in asking for 'proceedings'!

    Again the National Library was assiduous in trying to collect the records of CE conferences held anywhere in the world and in any language. In the majority of cases the nearest that one got to proceedings would be collections of abstracts, and personal enquiry to presenters for written 'papers' met in most cases either with copies of overheads or just a discourteous failure to respond.

    (To continue...)

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  21. (Continued)

    Meetings that produce no written record of what happened are not 'conferences' in an academic sense, or even a 'professional' one. Unrecorded meetings might be highly convivial and stimulating for those who attend but, if they leave no permanent trace for others to see, they are just meetings.

    Then you wrote: '...we also need to make sure that these studies are not isolated but build on each other in order to establish a firm, cumulative knowledge of CE...'

    Quite. There would be far less nonsense written about ‘research‘ in CE, and less nonsensical research upon CE actually done, if the majority of actors in this farce showed some indication of having searched to find what had already been done and published, and then spent the considerable time that would be required actually to read it!

    From around 1981 onwards I set out to read everything that I could lay my hands on that could be construed as 'Conductive Education research’ (on a more catholic parameter than simple empirical evaluation), and not just published stuff either. I reckon that I just about managed to keep up (none too hard over recent years!) with materials in English. I had a go at quite a bit of foreign-language stuff too (though, abstracts apart, the recent tidal wave of Chinese publication has defeated me).

    What do I deduce from this sad occupation (one that no one will probably ever be able to do again, as I had the advantage of reading it bit by bit as it came in). You can experience the most salient impression with one fraction of the effort by looking at what the overwhelming majority of these writings refer to in terms of the 'literature' consulted. There's your 'firm, cumulative knowledge' for you. There is virtually no building upon what little has been previously leaned, the wheel is being continuously reinvented, there is little of no progress in 'the knowledge'.

    The sad fact is that, with some remarkable individual (not though, sorry to say, institutional exceptions), to an overwhelming degree the world CE just does not read. I single out no single group within CE in this remark, which also goes for many outsiders who turn their attention to CE (including many 'researchers'). How do I know? I read their stuff and see where they get their most cases extremely limited information and often antediluvian ideas.

    I am with you 100% that CE should be researched, and that practitioner-research (inevitably small-scale and none the worse for that at the present state of the art) has a vital part to plea in this. And I wholly endorse the need to be innovative in terms of methods and methodologies.

    But as for the wider picture of 'knowledge' of CE (and not us not forget the question of knowledge for CE as well!), now there's the rub. Is your schoolgirl Russian still sharp enough to work out what naukovedenie means? Can you really see your knowledge goals for CE being achieved solely by leaving it to individuals, or even individual institutions, through their own spontaneous, sporadic and unintegtrated efforts, however long such a process is granted.?

    I am so pleased that people are beginning to explore such questions now. Let us hope that interest will only spread, and outlast the summer…

    Andrew.

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