Monday, 31 August 2009

Supportive evidence

Third example from Holland

It has been suggested on Conductive World that, instead of seeking some magic research bullet to 'prove' Conductive Education through specially mounted comparative outcome trials, the evidential case for Conductive Education might be found and argued from amongst accumulating research evidence with findings compatible with the position of CE.

Two such recent studies were noted earlier this year. Here’s a third, just published, coincidentally like the previous two from the Netherlands.

Steenbergen, B., Crajé, C., Nilsen, D. M., Gordon, A. M. (2009) Motor imagery training in hemiplegic cerebral palsy: a potentially useful therapeutic tool for rehabilitation, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, vol.51, no 9, pp. 690-6.

Converging evidence indicates that motor deficits in cerebral palsy (CP) are related not only to problems with execution, but also to impaired motor planning. Current rehabilitation mainly focuses on alleviating compromised motor execution. Motor imagery is a promising method of training the more 'cognitive' aspects of motor behaviour, and may, therefore, be effective in facilitating motor planning in patients with CP. In this review first we present the specific motor planning problems in CP followed by a discussion of motor imagery and its use in clinical practice.

Second, we present the steps to be taken before motor imagery can be used for rehabilitation of upper limb functioning in CP. Motor imagery training has been shown to be a useful addition to existing rehabilitation protocols for poststroke rehabilitation. No such study has been conducted in CP. The age at which children can reliably use motor imagery, as well as the specific way in which motor imagery training needs to be implemented, must be researched before motor imagery training can be employed in children with CP. Based on the positive results for poststroke rehabilitation, and in light of the motor problems in CP, motor imagery training may be a valuable additional tool for rehabilitation in CP.

Anyone for intention?

Unfortunately, this is not published in an open-source publication:

The full text is available for $50.16 plus tax.

I shall continue noting such items as they appear. There are many others for those who care to dig back into the literature.

I very much hope that others do so too.
Would sharing what's found be an unreasonable suggestion?

Previous items on this topic

Sutton, A. (2009) Cerebral palsy: research results compatible with developmental disorder, Conductive World, 21 April

Sutton, A. (2009) Study stuck in old ways of thinking, but interesting, indicative findings nevertheless, Conductive World, 5 May
http://www.conductive-world.info/2009/05/study-stuck-in-old-way-of-thinking.html

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Who is ‘Ági’

I am in her debt, so should be others too

On Monday of this week Susie Mallett posted on her Conductor blog an enquiry from one of her teenage chients:
‘What do conductors need to know?’
She had a shot at answering this herself, then threw the question open to her readers. In response she received a simply stated response from a conductor who signed herself just as ‘Ági’.

What 'Ági’ said

'Ági’ had no access to her ‘green books’ to help her respond, so she drew directly from her own conductive experience. From this she derives the following, what I would call ‘pedagogic principles’, or others might dub ‘proverbs’:

I need to know how to be open, intuitive and accepting toward others and myself.

I need to see and act according to my values, rather than through learnt knowledge only.

I have learnt that:
  • there is no rule, only a guideline
  • there is no bad idea, only a bad attitude
  • there is no conductive equipment, only lack of resourcefulness
  • there is no laziness, only lack of motivation
  • there is no useless attempt, only a missed opportunity
  • there is no right or wrong, only learning experience

You might prefer to describe these more prosaically as guidelines, or precepts. As such they are not there to be read and learned, then operationalised at the time appropriate. They are rather rules for living, for pedagogue and for pupil alike, perhaps a little like the rules of a religious order. I hasten to add that the word ‘rules’ here should not be understood prescriptively but rather than as orientations to be taken seriously into account in the course of everyday goals and judgements.

Principles, proverbs, guidelines, precepts, rules, orientations…

Call them as you will, ‘Ági’ has produced a more convincing set of pedagogic principles than the ‘five principles’ bandied around so uncritically for forty-odd years now. And she has done so humbly and directly from where it count, the experience of practice.

Susie Mallett has called for others to help answer her teenage client’s question. Just what does a conductor need to know? I would classify the list from ‘Ági’ as representing:

  • principles of action
  • certain values
  • certain personal attitudes and orientations

So much more plausible and healthy a list of pedagogic principles than that exemplified by pedagogic tools such as ‘that bloody furniture‘.

Are they distinctly ‘conductive’.

Are these principles peculiarly conductive? Are these not simply excellent pedagogic principles such as can be found in most good padagogies?

There is nothing distinctively ‘conductive’ here. That essence remains to be distilled.

This in no way diminishes the truths and values embodies in what ‘Ági’ writes. Do step forward, ‘Ági’, and take your much deserved bow.

And others would like to chip in with their own versions or comments, them please do so, either here or on the Conductor blog where these propositions of ‘Ági’ have been published:

http://www.susie-mallett.org/2009/08/todays-starter-for-ten.html

Friday, 28 August 2009

'Partnership’: an abused word

'Parent partnership': an abused relationship?

‘Partnership’, this is one of those words that so much irritates me when I read or hear it, and I read or hear it a lot.

As often happens when words are abused, the word itself is an honourable one. What irritates me is the way that it can be used and abused in the provision of public services. In the United Kingdom at least, its use often now signals that somebody is trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

I resent that, and my resentment is in no measure diminished by my suspicion that the people using the word have already been bamboozled themselves and may sincerely believe that this warm-sounding utterance actually means something, something unproblematically warm at that.

My response is not therefore generally ad personam, that is not something directed against a fellow human being. It is directed against the sloppy use of the language, and the sloppy thinking that this may bring with it to blur distinctions, blunt functionality and perhaps even sour the experience of the services that people receive.

‘Partnership with families’

A familiar phrase, hackneyed even, is ‘partnership with parents’, over the care, welfare, upbringing, education, etc of their children (though I am also aware of the same sort of usage slopping around in the care etc of adults, collecting the rubbish/garbage, maintaining the highways, in fact in all sorts of public services).

To me the word ‘partnership’ implies that parents enter voluntarily and informedly into some sort of equal, formal relationship, explicitly defined and contractual in nature, over services provided.

The dictionaries go along with this. Here for example is what Collins says:

Partnership n. 1. a. a contractual relationship between two or more persons carrying on a joint business venture with a view to profit, each incurring liability for losses and the right to share in the profits. b. the deed creating such a relationship. c. the persons associated in such a relationship. 2. The state or condition of being a partner. (1979 edition, p. 1070)

This is just not true of so much (most, all?) so-called ‘partnerships with parents’ or ‘parent partnerships’, as many will readily testify who have been entrapped in such arrangements. If they dare, that is.

In a modern liberal democracy, if I have recourse to the public services, I should expect just that: a service. I am a citizen, I pay my taxes, I vote. Moreover, I am also in most other aspects of my life, a consumer in which role I know what I expect from the people who serve me.

In neither context, public or private, do I want a ‘partner’. I am paying and I want something done.

Public and private

When I go to the public sector (which I pay for from my taxes, as the people who work there should never cease to be reminded) I should be able to expect the respect and courtesy that I (usually) get from the private sector. If in a shop or a restaurant, for example I do not to receive the 'service' that I expect, then I can chose to complain, to return the goods, to leave, to go elsewhere or if necessary take other action. My actions may or may not be reasonable, but that's life and there are mechanisms to deal with this too.

In fact no such negative response on my part is needed in most situations because the staff in the private sector are very well attuned to avoiding the very need for me to do any such thing, and it is the business of local managers to make damn sure that they are.

Yes, I am sure that the courtesy and attentiveness that I receive in a given shop or restaurant might not be ‘genuine, even outright phoney, but what the hell? I like it and if I like it enough I might even go again. It is, after all, part of what I am paying for.

But oh dear (hardly an original thought this), I cannot shop around in the public sector. The staff know it, and (usual disclaimer: I am not referring to everyone) they can get away with murder because of this. Their managers know it too. And so do their political bosses.

If it's ‘partnership’ that you want, then bring it on

I am willing to believe, in a charitable moment, that public functionaries (in the United Kingdom, believe it or not, they are often referred to a ‘officers’), along with the bureaucrats, politicians and academics who blather about ‘parent partnerships’, really do believe the verbal tosh that masks what they do. Perhaps the word really does cloak the true nature of their actions so thoroughly that they themselves can no longer see what is going on.

Look at my own definition (in italics) above, and the rather more comprehensive one provided by Collins.

I am not at all certain that all the services provided by a state to the families of disabled children, might indeed be better delivered if somehow the financial structures and administrative responsibilities could be so adjusted as to provide public-sector employees the same imperatives to serve (or get out and find something more suited to their talents) as exists in the world of commerce.

But it would be very nice to see a thoroughgoing trial.

In such a context then perhaps no one would ever need to play the game called ‘partnerships’. Just in case a reason should, however, emerge then what about doing so in the light of what the word 'partnership' really means.

And just see whether you can find a single public agent or institution willing to play by the real rules of partnership.

Glossary

Is behoves in this context to be precise.

staff n. employees, workers, professionals

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

FREE promotional issues of academic journals

Towards Conductive Education as a matter
of serious academic study

One way in which the current financial crunch benefits ordinary people is that it is forcing some academic publishers to make give-away offers in the effort to attract fee-paying punters.

This month, step forward Wiley-Blackwell to show what you have on offer.

FREE special issues are offered from five international-level journals:

Academic Freedom
British Journal of Education Studies

The Educated Person
Curriculum Inquiry

The Training of Adult Education Professionals in Europe
European Journal of Education

New Perspectives on Preschooling
History of Education Quarterly

Literacy and Identity
Literacy
 
Were I still teaching, and were Gill Maguir still at the National Library I would have some recommendations for her.

Conductive Educational is a self-avowedly educational endeavour. Within this collection are items of the sort essential for consideration if the future development of this endeavour is to incorporate a significant academic component.

One of several such sorts!

References

If you would like to dip and browse, you will also find this whole promotion at:

http://dmmsclick.wiley.com/view.asp?m=g7c4pm3exl70z5sq299n&u=5599877&f=h

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Swine flu : an experience from Hong Kong

Hong Kong, where they know about such things

Following yesterday’s posting asking for experience or information on Swine Flu (H1N1), the following email has arrived from Ivan Su of SAHK.

Dear Andrew,

H1N1 is not lethal but highly contagious.

One of our day clients in a sheltered workshop had contracted H1N1 in July and the whole workshop cum hostel was immediately quarantined for nearly two months, with Tamiflu administered. Still, more than 15% of its staff and clients were infected. The worst thing is, one Tamiflu-resisted case was reported.

Attached are three guildelines from the Social Welfare Department of HKSAR, one for general welfare units, one for day centres and one for residential centres.

Hope that they can be of use to you.

rgds,

Ivan

Thanks Ivan. It will be interesting how the experience of other countries compare with this over the coming months Anyone who has been to Hong Kong over the last few years will know how seriously influenza is taken there, and of the extensive measures, individual and social, taken to combat its spread and mitigate its effects.

Think local, where you can

It seems likely that public health and education authorities around the world will have already circulated their own country-appropriate advice to establishments, programs, services etc under their particular aegis. On the other hand, the very nature of some Conductive Education organisations may mean that they stand outside local networks.

Perhaps the best advice should this have happened is to contact the relevant local public authorities to find out what they are telling their own establishments.

Failing that, I am sure that I will be breaking no copyright if I pass on copies of Ivan’s attachments. Let me know if you would like copies.

Explanatory notes

HKSAR

The HKSAR is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, that is the territory of the former British Colony of Hong Kong.

SAHK

SAHK is the name of the former Spastics Association of Hong Kong (organisers of next year’s International Conductive Education Congress).

Reference

Previous posting on H1N1

Monday, 24 August 2009

H1N1 (Swine flu)

Here it comes, ready or not

The first concrete mention of swine flu and Conductive Education came at the end of July, from parent-blogger Lightnur, from Australia. In the event, the question of flu was buried in the everyday tasks and indignity of living, though Lightnur did take her daughter home from school.

In the Northern Hemisphere the schools’ summer holidays mean that the expected wave of infection will likely be with us soon, when school is back. In the meantime, in the United Kingdom at least, the summer holidays have allowed the whole matter to drift out of the public mind

September, October, November…

What swine flu might mean over the coming months may be something that CE centres and programs have been actively considering. Then again, it may not.

The following might be of interest for those just starting out on this:

There is plenty more to read about H1N1!

‘Other health problems’

In the UK, before the summer, some national comfort had been drawn (or was that encouraged?) by the fact that the deaths so far has been in those with ‘with other health problems’, for example:

Here are some other health problems:

  • cerebral palsy
  • Parkinson’ disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • the effects of stroke
What specific advice can you find for the guidance and reassurance of families, service-users and staff?

Scaremongering?

Who knows? We shall all be very wise after the act, however things turn out.

Due prudence

In the meantime, it seems at least prudent to have given some possible scenarios serious consideration.

Maybe some or even most Conductive Education services and programs have already considered the possibilities and what they will be doing in response, what advice they will be giving families and staff, what might be the knock-on effects upon income etc.

Perhaps some have not.

Do share

It would be nice if those who have prepared contingencies for HiN1 could publish what they are doing on their websites, for the benefit of the others.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Another new blog on the block

Another English conductor hits Cyberspace

The newest member of the CE Blogosphere went on line less than two hours ago.

This latest blogger is Jules (Julia) Macdonald (Rashleigh as was).

You will find her blog, CE and me, at http://ceandme.blogspot.com/

You are not alone

Then again, maybe you are

My name must be on countless data bases, sold on from company to company as part of the business data market, bringing me from time to time all sorts of strange offers. I suppose that everybody is in the same boat.

I received one this morning, however, that really caught my eye, an invitation to a one-day workshop.
'Demonstrating Outcomes' on September 8th, October 15th or October 29th at the Resource Centre, London
 
How do you measure growth in self-esteem, put a value on independence or calibrate hope?

If you work in fields such as social care, housing, health and disability, children and young people, employment, faith-based projects or international development – you will be changing lives in ways which few funders or policy makers fully appreciate.

'Demonstrating Outcomes' is an intensive, one-day workshop designed to help you demonstrate the real worth of the services which you provide and your impact on the quality of life of your beneficiaries. The training focuses primarily on how to measure 'soft outcomes' – those changes in individual capacity and quality of life, to which a crude, quantitative 'numbers count' will never do justice.
Crikey! On the face of it, this could have been written with Conductive Education service-providers specifically in mind. The invitation continues with what this day might provide. The product seems tailor-made for the sector!

[It] helps you apply a range of participatory evaluation tools which can show just how far your clients, volunteers and beneficiaries have come since being involved with your project. It will provide:

  • understanding of how to measure outcomestools to measure 'softer' qualitative outcomes

  • opportunity to test these tools

  • pointers on how to use evaluation to maximise your fundraising.
Crikey again! Do these people know something that the ‘researchers’ might have missed (why not, they miss plenty else)?

Or is it just bullshit (and if so, do you have a problem with this if it is applied to a good cause, and it works)?

These training events take place in Central London and the fee is £185.00. per person.

It might be worth a pop, though most Conductive Education organisations in the United Kingdom may feel themselves unable to afford the time or the money for this (and anyway, they are all so well up to speed on this one, aren’t they?). Here would be a wonderful opportunity for a bit of inter-agency solidarity and collaboration.

Once centre could send someone, then take the trouble to share whatever might seem of worth with everyone else.

A bit hard on the company selling the course? Well, that’s show business, folks.

Not that the company needs worry. Such collaboration in Conductive Education in the United Kingdom would be unprecedented (as ever, do please correct me if I am wrong).

Further information

Action Planning Strategy and Fundraising Consultants
http://www.actionplanning.co.uk/outcomes.pdf

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

From Brazil, upbringing with love

A lesson for life
from Sergeant Machado of the Environment Police

Last month Leticia Búrigo’s group visited a police animal rescue centre, and saw how the staff there treat both domesticated animals and wild ones that will later be returned home to nature.

The children had the chance to play with penguins recovering from an oil slick, and saw monkeys, cats, owls, toucans and various native birds.

But the big lesson for Leticia came from Sargento Machado, who described the process of recovery (or should I write ‘healing‘?):

They come to us in a cage, with little agility in that space to move around. Then we transfer them to a slightly larger space, so that they can try out the sensations of flying again. Then we move them to an even bigger one so that they can adapt themselves better to the natural environment. Food is always placed in a different location so that they can hunt it out for themselves, with their own efforts, taking into account the needs of nature.

Leticia was struck by analogies with her conductive group:
  • the series of routines and series of tasks that increasingly approximate the children’s living environment
  • the effort and responsibility to seek independence, and
  • 'food each day in a different place'.

The considerable postings on Leticia's blog are written mainly in Portuguese. They have been providing Portuguese-speakers with a steady stream of insights into conductive upbringing from the humane, loving standpoint of a thoroughgoing conductive mother.

Here is how she concludes this present posting:

Nature is our life, Conductive Education is our school.

Nice one, Leticia.

My Portuguese is hardly up to it but someone whose is really should plough back through this by now condiderable body of work and collect some of these little aperçus of hers.

'Leticia's proverbs'.

Reference

Búrigo, L. (2009) Policia Ambient, Educação Condutiva - com amor, 18 August
http://educacaocondutiva.blogspot.com/2009/08/policia-ambiental.html

Fernsehreportage über KF im ARD Morgen!!!!

In aller Eile noch rasch eine Mitteilung

Morgen!!!!, Donnerstag - 20.08.09 im ARD Mittagsmagazin in der Zeit von 13Uhr bis 14 Uhr kommt eine Reportage über die KF, die mit einem Interview mit Wolfgang Vogt in unserer Tagesstätte während der Sommerförderwochen (heute) gedreht wurden.

Wäre schön, wenn es jemand aufzeichnen könnte!!! Bitte ein Exemplar indie Tagesstätte.

Liebe Grüße, Lisa
tagesstaette@fortschritt-wuerzburg.net

No need to apologise for the short notice, Lisa, that's how such things are.

Basically, Lisa Pitz writes round urgently to inform that some time between one and two tomorrow afternoon ARD television's Midday Magazine will be screening a report on CE, just shot at the summer program of the Tagesstätte (day centre) in Würzburg.

Viel Glück, Wolfgang and all of you (and if there's a spare recording of the report going, I'd love to lay hands on one!).

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Upside of the downturn

Might this apply within Conductive Education?

Emma De Vita, books editor of Management Today, has provided a brief review of Geoff Colvin's hugely successful business book The Upside of the Downturn: 10 Management Strategies to Prevail in the Recession and Thrive in the Aftermath, written in the context of the ‘third sector' (that is charitable or non-profit) organisations.

According to Colvin, the smart manager, rather than slashing costs and firing staff, sees the recession as an opportunity to restructure, reinvent and re-imagine the organisation, and to lay the groundwork for future growth.

Colvin offers 10 management strategies to guide you, which include resetting the priorities of your organisation from lofty ideals to practical goals and investing in the areas that make your organisation unique and valuable.

Of particular interest to the third-sector manager is the chapter called "Protect Your Most Valuable Asset". This is about your staff and why it's a stupid idea to make them redundant: it's better to keep them on your books and loyal to your organisation. This might mean reducing hours or offering them sabbaticals, but it will also mean that when the upturn comes, you'll have highly committed staff, grateful that you've seen them through the bad times.

And if a charity can't offer a little charity, who can?

References

Colvin, G. (2009) The upside of the downturn: ten management strategies to prevail and thrive in the aftermath, London and NY, Penguin Books

De Vita, E. (2009) Off the shelf. The upside of the downturn, Third Sector, 11 August

Some businesses – and some people – will emerge from this downturn stronger and more dominant than when it started. Others will weaken and fade. It all depends on critical choices they make right now.

Geoff Colvin, one of America’s most respected business journalists, says even the scariest recession has an upside. The best managers know conventional thinking won’t help them win in these tough times. They’re taking smart, practical steps that will not only keep them strong, but will also distance them from the pack for years to come.

The dozens of top-performing leaders Colvin interviewed reject the common view that slashing costs and firing employees are all that matter. They see the recession as a rich opportunity to reinvent their organizations and lay the groundwork for future growth.
Colvin’s ten solidly grounded strategies will increase your company’s competitiveness and build its long-term value. A sample:
  • Reset priorities. Easy to say, harder to do. Pursuing the lofty goals set in good times can be disastrous now.
  • Reevaluate people and steal some good ones. Mass layoffs are a tempting way to cut costs, but great companies often find smarter alternatives. And if your competitors are dumb enough to fire their best people, grab them.
  • Keep investing in the core. Trim the fat from your budgets but not the muscle. The best companies actually increase some spending in a recession, funding the areas that make them unique and valuable.
  • Don’t rush to cut prices. Many companies assume they must – yet the long-term damage often outweighs the short-term boost.

Colvin shows how these strategies really work, using examples of major companies that have applied them with inspiring results.

After the event, it will be most interesting to review how such principles might have applied within the little world of Conductive Education.

Monday, 17 August 2009

An American Conductor in Cyberspace

Welcome to the Conductive Education blogosphere

Keep'em coming, Kasey Gray...
And may there be many more like you!

Gray, K. (2009) An American Condutor, 16 August

Parents and professionals

It’s an old story.
Where will conductors stand?
 
Norman Perrin on his blog this morning has drawn attention to the summary of an article in Interconnections Quarterly Journal, published under an apparent pseudonym.

In this article, Mary Camplin, a parent of a child with special needs (who does not wish to identify herself to IQJ readers in the interests of maintaining good relationships with the powers-that-be) relates her recent experiences as a Parent Consultant and founder of a Parents’ Forum.

She discovered that professionals have a much more positive attitude to parents groups that are led by professionals than to parent groups that are led by parents and carers.

She also discovered that it is felt appropriate for parent groups to discuss decisions that have already been made, but not for them to make their own decisions.

I was moved to write the following, immediate Comment on Norman's blog (though I did not succeed in posting it there).

[Interconnections Quarterly Journal] is a great little publication, and excellent value for its modest price.

I shall not, however, be buying access to the lady's article. Her experiences are wholly in accord with my own miserable and disillusioning experience of 'the professionals‘, not just in special education (and latterly 'special needs') but in child care as well. Furthermore:
  • I have no reason to doubt that these bureaucracies are in any way different from any others avowedly there to serve the interests of others.
  • I have no reason to suspect that the large charities (non-profits) are in any way better than state institutions in this respect.
  • I have grounds enough to understand that this is not particularly a British disease, an affliction of the Anglo-Saxon nations, or European, or indeed anything other than a universal blight.

Worse, I have every expectation that as I grow older, I shall like everybody else in the world fall increasingly under real threat of joining the ranks of the victims of such bureaucracies, in 'health' and/or 'social care' (does not anyone else notice what Orwellian hypocrisy such terms can be?).

I am very glad that Interconnections has offered a platform for such an article. It will reassure some people that they are not alone as they shake the scales from their eyes. There are so very, very few places where they can see this issue aired.

I personally no longer believe, as I once did, in the universlly beneficial nature and unproblematically benign outcome of the organised doing of good. I cannot bear to hear any more about such shabby iniquities as 'Mary Camplin' documents, or contemplate the feared professional retribution that might be masked by the bland phrase 'in the interests of maintaining good relationships with the powers-that-be'.

Please, please, please, though, can I read about a solution… I tried forty years' kicking against the pricks. I do not recommend that as a solution for a whole new generation.

Why do parents go for Conductive Education?

I have been asked many times why so many parents have struggled so hard. and make such personal sacrifices, put up with so much aggro, to arrange Conductive Education for their disabled children. And continue to do so.

I reply that there are two reasons. There is a pull, and there is a push.

First, I outline in as much detail as I judge that my audience will want the benefits for both child and family. This is the sort of thing that people expect to hear (though emphasis upon families may come as a bit of a surprise). If I have judged my audience right, and pitched my response appropriately, then this seems to go down OK. Though I say it as shouldn't, I think that I became fairly effective at communicating the positive benefits of Conductive Education over the years. It is after all quite an attractive, feel-good story, the creation of HOPE.
 
Next, though, I tell them that there is flip side to this, a dark side if you prefer. Parents have not been flocking to Conductive Education just to achieve something that they desire. They are also trying to escape from something, something really terrible that they hate and fear. This is not at all what most people like to hear (excepting of course journalists and politicians in opposition) and I have never really found a way to pitch this message in a way that people whose families have never been in such a situation can really grasp and empathise with. It tends not to go down well. After all, it is not a pretty story, it involves challenging too many Holy Cows, and nobody wants to hear about the creation of DESPAIR.

I offer a simple analogy. If you are in a burning building and you feel yourself being overwhelmed by smoke, then you will jump at any apparent way out. If you find a window, you jump through it. In this case the window is called Conductive Education.

Professionalisation: an awkward contradiction

One can fruitfully continue this analogy in various directions, but here is not the place. Just one, perhaps...

Conductive Education around the world has been largely built and financed by families constructing their own fire escapes. Oh conductors, your jobs have been largely dependent upon the structures that parents have created to help themselves to a place of greater safety, bolstered by public support that comes from positive stories of what Conductive Education can achieve. It does little good to run a campaign, locally or nationally, on the basis of how truly awful, iatrogenic even, existing services can be.

Even so, conductors, do you not know what a dirty word 'professionals' can be?

Understandably, when you settle in a society, you want to be 'accepted', 'recognised', 'registered', part of the gang. Do remember, however, as you contemplate this, that there have been (and remain) negative as well as a positives sides to the equation behind the parental enthusiasm that continues to be the mainspring driving and sustaining the conductive movement in the Western world.

Oh conductors, do be careful about what you want, in the distant off-chance that you might get it.

References

Camplin, M. (pseudonym) 2009 Parent power? Parent power! Interconnections Quarterly Journal, No 6, July
http://www.icwhatsnew.com/iqj/details.htm
Summary only. Not an open-access publication

Perrin, N. (2009) Parent power? Paces, 17 August
http://paces.typepad.com/paces/2009/08/parent-power.html

Invitation to a congress

Application to host the VIII. World Congress on Conductive Education

The call is out from the International Pető Association for an organisation to host the 8th World Congress on Conductive Education: ‘in about three years’ time (approximately in 2013)’.

Applicants will be required to offer acceptable financial guarantees, arrange attractive social events and involve the Board of the International Pető Association in strategic discussions and organising committees.

In return, the International Pető Association’s contributions would include a mailing list of possible participants, advice on inviting plenary speakers and setting up the ’scientific programme’.

It is expected that this congress should be characterised by, among other things, ‘a large number of participants' and ' participation of young professionals and trainees’.

Applications have to be submitted by 31 January 2010.

The 7th World Congress will be held in Hong Kong in December 2010. Its website offers some idea of what applying organisations might have to consider.

Links to further details

Information on the seventh Congress
http://www.ce-congress2010.org/CE/

Thursday, 13 August 2009

What is 'science'?

Just one question that we have to discuss

In November 2oo7 I posted a message on the the Amazon Science Community, a discussion forum, following on from a long and heated 'debate' on what is science.

The question of what is science remains of course far from settled. Here on Conductive World it has come up again and again in the context of the specific question of what is Conductive Education research. I would have liked to have referred to what I had written in 2007, but could not find it on the Internet.

This afternoon I came across the text of that posting, buried in a 'retired' memory stick, which quickly led me to the actual online posting. I republish this here and now, so as to be able the more easily to refer to it when the undead CE research issue next rears up like Dracula from its tomb!

Is our discussion of ‘science’ shaped by a peculiarity of the English language?
 
I am encouraged by the recent contributions to the thread ‘When is science – science?’ to ask a further, broader question: Is such discussion of ‘science’ shaped by a peculiarity of the English language? Examining the linguistic boundary of the concept of science in the English language may shed light on some of the arguments of that earlier discussion and in return I should welcome people’s critical comments on what I say here.

Simply put, the German word Wissenshaft, the Russian наука, the Hungarian tudomány, are all conventionally and lazily translated into English by the word ‘science’. Any acquaintance with scholarship in languages at that end of Europe, indeed any conversation about what is science with an educated German, Russian or Hungarian, makes it instantly apparent that these words are not at all equivalent to the English word ‘science’. Related words, such as are conventionally translated into English as ‘research’, scientist’, even ‘experiment’, also turn out to have wider and sometimes (to us English-speakers) confusing meanings. Relative unfamiliarity with the Romance countries means that I cannot be sure whether the same applies to all the languages of Continental Europe. Attempts to explore the meaning of the French word science, leave me wallowing in the depths of Gallic philosophising that might similarly mystify most readers of, say, Science, New Scientist or Scientific American.

I have no knowledge of usages in cultures further afield.

In their understanding of what constitutes ‘science’, the Anglo-Saxons, the people of the Anglosphere, find themselves in a minority of one. And while I find that Continental scholars, with their usual ready access to English, are well aware of this distinction, often amusedly so, the usually monoglot English-speakers are not, and indeed upon hearing of it often react with denial, protestation and even aggression! Hardly ‘scientific’ responses to an unfamiliar phenomenon, in any meaning of the word.

The term ‘political science’ appears grudgingly accepted in this country, meaning the formal, scholarly study and investigation of its chosen topic. It is hard to see, however, that in my own field there could ever be an Academy of Pedagogic Sciences in an English-speaking country, such as for example the one in Moscow.

The ‘two cultures’ concept, natural science vs humanities, has contributed to an artificial divide in our intellectual life. It has distorted our education system and encouraged Yahoos in Government, and those whose interests it serves to encourage them, to adopt naive and reductionist views of what constitutes ‘scientific research’ in the quest for evidence-based practice. Education, the mental and social sciences have patently suffered from this, but so have health research and provision where well-being and ‘feeling better’ are confronted by the impassable barrier of ‘scientific research’ as she is currently spoke.

‘We can’t measure that' may indeed be a true statement of the reality. This does not mean that 'that' is not something of enormous human concern and, measurable or not, will have to be decided on by someone, on the basis some sort of knowledge. Not ‘scientific knowledge’ of course but preferably knowledge benefiting from some sort of rigour in its creation.

‘Science’ as opposed to other sorts of knowledge, collected, tested and scrutinised by other means, is not therefore simply an abstract or theoretical issue. Solution of real practical problems, both for individuals and for society as a whole, will be impaired when ‘research’ has to be ‘scientific’ rather than scholarly if it is to win credence. This can lead to situations in which impeccable experimental procedures and design mask lines of enquiry to which no educated person would grant credence while more relevant scholarly activity struggles on the margins.

Of course, Johnny Foreigner may have it all wrong and may just have to be left wallowing in his own backward and benighted ideas, till he learns that what we do is better. Meanwhile we can happily ignore whatever it is that he does and thinks. How many times have you read something like ‘We reviewed the complete literature available in the English language…’ That might be good enough for ‘science’ – it passes no muster as scholarship. Unfortunately, of course, Johnny Foreigner is no slouch at science: he can often read and do our ‘science’ and the wider, more scholarly kind too. Remember that the scientific lead of the Germans and other Central Europeans in the first half of the last century, till Hitler’s destruction and redistribution of so many leading scholars.

So, on the one hand the scientific traditions developed in the English-speaking world over the last two or three centuries have served the world remarkably well in advancing human knowledge and welfare. But on the other, ‘science’ on the natural-science model can readily become fetishised, and there are other orders of reality meriting their own paradigms for research and evaluation, without having continually to look over their shoulders for ‘scientific’ approval.

Without suggesting that Wissenshaft, наука, tudomány, whatever, have necessarily got it all right either, we might at least acknowledge that we use the word ‘science’ in a peculiar rather than absolute way, which contributes to some rather peculiar thinking and discussion.
 
Andrew Sutton
21.11.07

Some discussion!

'Denial, protestation and even aggression', these I had suggested are the frequent response of (usually monoglot) English-speakers to the very mention of such a matter.

Judge this for yourself from the still-published comments:
  • '...self-centered nonsense...'
  • '...pretty much garbage...'
  • '...xenophobic paranoia...'
  • '...seething with hate for the humanities and social sciences...'
  • '...nonsensical rant...'
  • '...pretty ignorant of things like history...'
Ouch. I don't think that I could have expressed myself very well!

There was just one still, small voice of calm amidst the raging, speaking of:

'...this reductionist perspective that prevents serious progress in several areas that could potentially yield new insights about nature...'

Nobody, however, was interested in that, thank you very much!
Discussion forums.
There used to be a lively Conductive Education Discussion Forum. It showed features in common with what is demonstrated above:
  • postings that simply had to be removed
  • people who could not let what they read interfere with what they want to say anyway
  • ad personam attacks
  • ill-disciplined failure to stick to the point, so that discussion thread could wandered off into irrelevant topics
  • an undercurrent of suppressed anger that put off, brushed aside or even intimidated more gentle souls.

All this prompted some to refuse even to look at it, which was a shame because most of what was posted was of interest or even value, and anyway, one shouldn't leave the field to the Yahoos.

Since the CE Discussion Forum closed, no other such Internet sites have really taken off, which is a shame. There has been growing use of the comments pages on CE blogs over the last few months to discuss issues arising out of postings. This, however, is not really the same, as it does not permit people to launch their own topics for debate

Various CE centres and associations have forums tucked away in corners of their websites but, as far as I know, these are little used, or never used at all (do please correct me if I am wrong, so that this can be shared more widely).

There is the Conductive Education Community Forum, which is active, but very quiet, and there are also of course the social-networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter (if you can keep it short!).

One reason that I had posted on the Science Discussion Forum in the first place was to see whether specific experience of the old CE Discussion Forum might be less to do with Conductive Education than more generally typical of what happens in such contexts in the world at large. The result of this brief natural experiment suggested that the latter may well be the case. In spades.

You call still hear a persisting negative attitude towards public online discussion within Conductive Education, blamed on something or other that is supposedly unique to this little goldfish bowl. My brief experience of Amazon's Science Community suggested that it may be nothing of the sort but something more general to the human condition (at least in the English-speaking world). So ignore them, carry on discussing the things that you want to, and seek out and utilise places where this can be done. You never know, it may even get 'lively' again.

Note and reference

Sutton, A. (2007) Is our discussion of ‘science’ shaped by a peculiarity of the English language? Amazon Science Community, 22 November

Conductive Community Forum

"Conductive Education" is now a classified category on Twellow

Advertise jobs, services etc. for FREE

Finding Twellow

A couple of weeks back there was a tweet on Twitter, posted by that most media-savvy of CE centers, ACCDAT in Dallas, informing of the existence of Twellow:


Twellow is a fusion of Twitter and Yellow Pages. Posting your wares on Twellow is of course free. If you are looking for a service or other product there, then you can use its internal search engine or, if you prefer, its contents are classified, just like in any Yellow Pages directory.

Conductive World joined at once to notify what it does but, not surprisingly, found that Conductive Education was not one of Twellow’s classified categories, so I wrote in to make a case or why it should be. Twellow is a human-controlled service, not some robot, and after a few days’ deliberation the site agreed that ‘Conductive Education’ would henceforth be one of its categories.

Specificly, it is a sub-category, of Education:

Society > Education > Conductive Education

Gratifyingly, then, here is one place where Conductive Education does not fall under health.

Lucky that I got in there first!

Market yourself on line, and in real time

Wherever you, are, whatever you do in the world of Conductive Education, are you looking to advertise your wares?

  • conductors looking for jobs
  • centre or programs, or private individuals, with conductors' jobs that need filling
  • centres or programs looking to attract more service-users
  • CE consultancies seeking new clients or customers
  • conferences or meetings looking for participants
  • associations seeking members
  • web-based services
  • whatever…

It seems unlikely that Twellow will solve everybody’s problems or meet everybody’s requirements. On the other hand, Twellow costs nothing, it takes only a few minutes to work out how to use it, and could prove a useful extra string for your bow.

(It is already mid-August, for eample, and the last-minute, desperately urgent appeals for people to fill vacant jobs are appearing elsewhere on the Internet!) 

Already there

Search within Twellow for “Conductive Education” (DON‘T forget the inverted commas) and you will find six CE advertisements posted so far:

  • Heather Bradley, who is inter alia raising money to open a CE centre for children in the North of England
  • ACCDAT, in Dallas. Texas
  • Normal Perrin for PACES, in Sheffield, England
  • Judit Szathmáry in the New Forest, England
  • Kasey Gray, conductor, Ohio
  • Conductive World

Click on their ‘View my full profile!' buttons for the further information about them and what they do.

There are so far 942 million people following Twellow worldwide. It must be worth a try.

http://www.twellow.com/

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Conductive Education 'literature'

Little girls wiser than men

My first attempt to overview conductive practice drew largely from available written sources It opened as follows:

…Perhaps the art of education is ultimately conveyed only by a work of imagination. Unfortunately conductive education still awaits its Makarenko. (Sutton, 1986, p. 27)

That was a long time ago, so long indeed that I was not yet writing Conductive Education with capital letters!

I remembered this earlier today when, responding to a comment by the correspondent whom I know of as ‘Anonymous Aenna’. She had written (see Comments to http://bit.ly/18UuKd) that, over her so-far thirteen years involvement with Conductive Education, she has become aware of the beginnings of a shift in the focus of conductors’ practice:

…communicating more the conduction, the conductive upbringing, to the parents to make it part of and relevant to their daily life.

She added:

Now we just need someone to write this down and I think we are on to something.

Works of the spirit

But how to do it? There are different and legitimate ways to contribute to the task of building a conductive-pedagogic literature. This too has been subject to some recent discussion on the Conductive Education Information blog. So far emphasis has been upon technical, academic, research ‘literature‘. Right and proper, to an extent, as long as the living essence of Conductive Education is not being missed along the way (as so far it largely has!).

Over on the Conductor blog Susie Mallett in Germany has been exploring a quite different approach, taking her justification directly from Pető András himself and his concern for die Seele (German for ‘the soul) as integral to his vision of Heilung (‘healing‘).

I therefore replied as follows to Anonymous Aenna:

[Susie Mallett’s] very personal reports of being a 'conductor' (as the title of her blog announces) are as valid a contribution to the conductive-pedagogic literature as is what people conventionally call ‘scientific research’.

Her writing combines three features:

  • aspects of the pedagogue’s own personal life and values, art, music, interests, concerns etc
  • along with observations and insights of the human, emotional and spiritual lives of the clients (with the word ‘clients’ here being family- rather than individually oriented)
  • - AND the everyday pleasures, displeasures, pains and excitements of what actually happens between conductors and clients.

This is an ad hoc, rough-and-ready analysis but it does seem to generalises as far as the 'autobiographical' writings of Makarenko, which are in part at least works of the imagination. These three features are, however, little apparent in the bulk of what people can presently read about Conductive Education, in Hungarian, English or German. The list is not intended to be prescriptive, though it may have heuristic value for those looking to help create a conductive-pedagogic literature. and of course real, literary 'literature' might be somewhat different, as suggested below.

You may or may not like Anton Makarenko and his pedagogy but there is no denying the force of his methodology when it came to communicating the essence of pedagogic ideas (and practice). I think that I am right in saying that he was the biggest-selling writer on education of all time.

What did he do? He told a story? What about? Life. The road to it!

Not a bad precedent for a school of ‘imaginative’ writing within Conductive Education.

L. N. Tolstoi

Then by coincidence, later in the morning I was sorting through a veritable mountain of lecture materials that I used for teaching student-conductors, going back to 1997, no longer required for their original purpose but still perhaps utilisable for I know not yet what. I came across a photocopy of three pages of a small book from my own undergraduate years, from when I was studying Russian Literature, L. N. Tolstoi’s tiny short story, ' Little girls wiser than men'

I loved Tolstoi as a writer, in all his extraordinary phases. When I used to teach a very long module called ‘Pedagogy and psychology for conduction’, if there was time, I would read the following little instructional tale of his aloud to second-year students-conductors. Partly this was to open for them a window on to a quite different pedagogical philosophy from their own (yes, Tolstoi was an influential educational reformer in his time). Partly it was to illustrate the methodological point that you do not have to say explicitly what you mean in order to get your meaning across very forcefully indeed, and that this goes for pedagogic writing as for any other!

Here it is, in full:

Little girls wiser than men

EASTER CAME EARLY; people had only just stopped travelling by sleigh. Snow still lay in the farmyards, and rivulets ran through the village. A large puddle had been formed in a lane between two farms by streams passing through the muck of the farmyards, and two little girls from different houses, one younger, one older, were playing by the puddle. Both had been dressed by their mothers in new smocks. The little one was in blue, the bigger in a yellow print, and both wore red kerchiefs The little girls had gone to the pond after mass, displayed their finery to one another, and begun playing together. They decided to splash in the water. The younger was about to step in the puddle with her shoes on, but the older one said: 'Don't, Malasha, your mother will scold. Let you and me take off our shoes and socks'

They took off their shoes and socks, tucked up their skirts and waded through the puddle to meet each other. When the water reached Malasha’s ankles, she said: 'It’s deep, Akolusha, I'm scared.' ‘Never mind,’ said Akulina, ‘it won’t get any deeper’. As they came near to each other, Akulina said, ‘Look Malasha, don’t splash. Walk carefully.’ Just as she said that. Malasha plopped one foot in the water, splashing water right on Akulina’s smock. The smock was spattered, and water fell on Akulina’s nose and eyes. When Akulina saw the spots on the smock, she became very angry with Malasha, and ran shouting after her to hit her. Malasha, frightened at the trouble she had caused, scrambled out of the puddle to run home.

Just then Akulina’s mother happened by and saw her daughter’s spattered smock and spotted sleeves..

'Where did you get so dirty, you little wretch?’ she said.

‘Malasha spattered me on purpose.’

Aklina’s mother seized Malasha and gave her a blow on the back of her head. Malasha raised a howl down the whole street. Out came Malasha’s mother. ‘Why did you hit my child?’ she said and began abusing her neighbour. The women’s quarrel became more heated at every word. The men came out and formed a big crown in the street. Everybody was shouting, no one was listening to anyone else. They quarrelled and quarrelled, then someone pushed someone else, and a general fray was about to start when out came an old woman, Akulina’s grandmother. She walked into the middle of the crowd and began pleading with them.

‘Come, my friends, remember what day it is. You’re supposed to be rejoicing, not making trouble like this.’

They did not listen to the old woman and almost knocked her off her feet. And the old woman would never have been able to persuade them if it had not been for Akulina and Malasha.

While the women were upbraiding each other, Akulina has cleaned up her smock and gone back to the puddle in the lane. She picked up a little stone and started scraping away the earth around the puddle to let the water into the street. While she was digging, Malasha came and started helping her dig a little canal with a chip of wood. Just as the men were coming to blows, the girls’ canal released the water into the street. It ran right to the spot where the old woman was standing, still trying to calm the men. The little girls were running along opposite sides of the rivulet.

‘Catch it, Malasha, catch it!’ shouted Akulina. Malasha tried to say something but was laughing too hard to speak.

Giggling at the way the chip of wood danced along the stream, the little girls ran right into the midst of the men. The old woman caught sight of them and said to the men:

‘You should have more fear of God! You peasants are coming to blows over these little girls who’ve forgotten everything long ago, and are playing happily together, the darlings. They are wiser than you!’

The men looked at the little girls and became ashamed. And they burst out laughing and went back to their own houses.

‘And if ye become not as little children, ye shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven’

Tolstoi wrote that in 1885. You might not altogether sympathise with his pedagogic ideas or with the simple values of his New Testament religiosity of that period of his life, but these are not at issue here. You would not have to read many of his little stories to have a pretty good idea of what he was on about.

Tolstoi’s stuff does not conform to the simple guidelines that I suggested above. I can live with that! The important point here is that there are potentially more things to write about education, including Conductive Education, than simply 'scientific' (academic) literature, that these can go straight to the heart of the matter in ways that academic writing never can, and that they can be exceedingly influential (and fun).

And that this point has hardly been realised on Conductive Education.

More than just a Joe Friday kind of literature

'Let’s have the facts, man, just the facts.'

Sure: there are all sorts of good reasons why Conductive Education should be seeking empirical investigation (and through much more than simple comparative outcome studies). There are also all sorts of good reasons for theoretical scholarship and theoretical writing in Conductive Education. Conductive Education needs all this.

But there is something more that the proper exposition of Conductive Education screams out for by its very nature, explicit account of its values, its meaning, its spirit, its soul. You can hear this in what is said bypeople who have experienced Conductive Education, whether this experience has been directly for themselves or indirectly through their family life. Hunt through a couple of dozen good local newspaper reports and highlight what people actually say when asked about Conductive Eucation. You can hear it in what conductors say too, though relatively little of this makes it to the public domain.

It would indeed be wonderful to have a Makarenko or a Tolstoi on side to write about Conducive Education imaginatively, to convey the deeper human ’truths’ that lie beneath and beyond observable, quantifiable facts. In default of that, might I suggest that blogging permits the enthusiastic and sensitive beginner an easy, episodic way into describing what it is like to follow the conductive road to living.

Anecdotal evidence?. Damned right it is. Let us have a lot more of it.

References

Sutton, A. (1986) The practice. P. Cottam and A. Sutton (eds) Conductive Education: a system or overcoming motor disorders, London, Croom Helm. pp.27-86

Tolstoy [Tolstoi], L. N. (1960) Little girls wiser than men. The short stories of Leo Tolstoy (translated by. A. Mendel and B. Makanowitzky), NY, Bantam Books, pp. 274-276

Monday, 10 August 2009

VYGOTSKII, ICONOTROPHY AND CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION

How resilient are ideas to changing contexts?

A Vygotskii vignette


Last weekend. A drinks party in West London. A lady talks to a bright young man who tells her that he is doing a doctorate at the Institute of Education, training to become an educational psychologist. In return she tells him that back at the start of the nineties she wrote a dissertation within the discipline of the History of Ideas, on a Marxist theory of mind, in which she had focused upon the thinking of Vygotskii.


At that time, she told him, nobody was interested in Vygotskii.

He appeared visibly surprised to hear that Vygotskii was a Marxist but assured her that Vygotskii is now 'big in education' and features on his course. She said that perhaps he had not known that Vygotsky was a Marxist because he may have seen only American publications, rather than Soviet ones. This seemed to have been so. He had not heard of One is not born a personality. Circumstances precluded the conversation's continuing.


I have a copy of the lady's dissertation before me as I write. Its Introduction has as epigraph a quotation from The Dialectics of Nature by Friedrich Engels:
It is precisely the alteration of Nature by men, not nature as such, which is the most essential and immediate basis of human thought. (p. 172)
Her introduction summarises Vygotskii's position on 'human nature' in the following terms 
Vygotskii presents us with a new and revolutionary view of human nature  in that we create it for ourselves by actively participating in the social world created by our history.
That would not be a bad philosophical basis for transforming the nature, role and values of educational psychology, but it is hardly likely to be used as such! It is. however, a fundamental statement of the very stuff of Conductive Education.

Hers was a philosophy dissertation, written within the History of Ideas. It recounts the influence upon Vygotskii of dialectical and historical materialism but also draws attention to his life-long fascination with Baruch Spinoza's concern to understand emotion. The front cover bears the Hindu symbol agni chakra, the fiery wheel that indicates the unity of intuition and intellect.

Iconotrophy


In 1997 I made a presentation to the Tenth Anniversary Conference of Tsad Kadima, in Jerusalem in which I looked at the story of the very complex introduction of Conductive Education to the United Kingdom in terms of myth, specifically utilising Robert Graves’ concept of ‘iconotrophy’.

As a mythographer Graves proposed this term to describe what happenned to a society’s mythical beliefs when invaded by a vigorous new culture, when new peoples swept in, bringing new beliefs and new ways of thinking about natural phenomena, preserving the outward forms of the original inhabitants’ beliefs but in fact imposing fundamental changes on the way in which people actually thought and lived.


For a brief period, at the end of the nineteen-eighties and in the first years of the nineties it was possible from the viewpoint of the United Kingdom to see the ideas and values of Conductive Education as just such an invasion, promising to impose its new belief systems upon old ways of doing things, to achieve fundamental change in ’the system’.

Wishful thinking perhaps. For whatever reasons, however, things did not turn out that way and by 1997 the invader was faltering, with a process of ‘reverse iconotrophy’ already under way. It was the invaders who, though maintaining superficial icons of their own, were showing the first signs of absorbing the beliefs and the structures of the existing system.
…the invader, Conductive Education, has failed to supplant the fundamental belief systems of the established order. Instead, the established order (where it has been affected at all) has incorporated a few superficial icons from the invading culture, reinterpreted them for its own purposes, and carried on doing what it did before in much the same way that it did before, with the same ultimate outcome and for the same ultimate purpose. (Emphasis in original)
I cited the ’plinth’ as a cardinal visual icon of Conductive Education

Not just CE, not just in the UK
The process of iconotrophy in the conductive movement in the United Kingdom, whereby Conductive Education is often reinterpreted as a therapy to suit existing institutions, as a ‘support’ to parents or as yet one more ‘technique’ to be incorporated into an existing special school, is hardly unique to this particular system.
I cited as examples the work and purposes of Montessori, Piaget and Vygotskii as having been subject to the same process, especially the work and purposes of Vygotskii, and spoke regretfully of:
…the revolutionary Vygotskii transformed into a college liberal.
The little vignette from London that opened this posting has offered me an unwelcome reminder of how the puissant ideas of L. S. Vygotskii have been brought to nothing at the hands of the existing belief systems of Anglo-Saxon academe, despite the apparent bulwark of a considerable written record, now cast aside.

Bulwarks

How much more vulnerable has been Conductive Education, about which, in 1997, I had optimistically remarked:
The firmest bulwark for the conductive movement would be a strong, articulate, communicable and shared knowledge base. Continuing existence as a pre-literate society puts us out of kilter with the modern world.
Well, a 'strong, articulate, communicable and shared knowledge base' has not been much help in safeguarding the ideas of Vygotskii, the troika or the school of pedagogic practice that span off from what they did. Maybe if there had been more than isolated examples of Vygotskian practice in the West, things might have been different, but there have not been enough to form a critical, coherent mass.

CE still has no strong, articulate, communicable and shared knowledge base. Its eggs are firmly in the practice basket and even after more than twenty years there is little evidence of a 'critical, coherent mass'. And the practice follows ever more diverse task-masters.

Glossary

Educational psychologists (UK): what most countries call school psychologists

Vygotskii. British Standard transliteration. The US transliteration 'Vygotsky' now has wider currency amongst most English-speakers.

References

Cartland, A. (1991) L. S. Vygotskii: a revolutionary view of human nature, unpublished dissertation, Kingston Polytechnic

Engels F (1940) The Dialectics of Nature, NY, International Publishers


Levitin, K. (1982) One is not born a personality, Moscow, Progress


Sutton, A. (1998) Dissemination of Conductive Education in the United Kingdom. In A. Sutton (ed.) Last Year in Jerusalem: four presentations to the International Conference on Integration and Adaptation, Jerusalem, October 1997, Birmingham, Foundation for Conductive Education