Friday, 15 January 2010

Education, education, education

Can one ever say it enough?

Yesterday's Conductive World reported on the TV news item on Conductive Education in Nova Scotia.

Norman Perrin commented –

As you say, Andrew: 'two-and-a-half-minutes of nice, jargon-free learning-based commentary'. I'd be quite pleased to have such a piece about Paces on local TV. But there's a 'But…' that you can probably hear already. Behind the TV presenter at the beginning is a screen with the single word 'Health', prominently placed. If I'm not mistaken on one viewing, CE is described at one point as a 'treatment'.

What exercises me most is how we can represent on camera, the 'education. in Conductive Education, that is about aspects other than the physical achievements. I do not know the answer to that. I suspect that, to most people who see this nice clip, CE will come across visually as just another form of physical therapy.

I think that's a problem inherent in presenting CE on public television. As I say, I do not know the answer.

Norman, I think that you do know the answer. You are already answering with it. Everyone involved in CE should take the line that you are taking, become hypersensitive to every mention of 'health', 'treatment', 'therapy' etc., and correct every instance where it is found. Yes, of course then one risks becoming a head-banger, a bit of a pain, even sometimes over-stating the case, but the existing imbalance is so enormous that one cannot put the contrary position too frequently.

Point it out, very explicitly, again, and again and again, that motor disorders are at most only partially explained as questions of heath, and the proper response to them has to be 'educational' in the widest sense. This says something not just about Conductive Education but about the very genesis and nature of 'physical disability'.

In the Canadian report, I saw no passive treatment and 'hands on' (contrast that with the US TV report on robotic therapy that I have mentioned earlier today). What I saw and heard was the triumph of the liberated human spirit. I particularly liked what Keith Sherwood said about his multiple sclerosis:

...when you've lost the ability to do it – at least when you've CONVINCED yourself you've lost the ability to do it – and you learn how to do it again, it's quite remarkable.

Mária Hári again

I am currently transcribing and editing something that Mária Hári said about Conductive Education for adults, in which she mentions the first encounter between client and conductor, the 'so-called assessment':

One can give the first time – and it has to be the first time – a perspective because, if one has no goal and one accepts the situation, then it is not easy to learn something. One has to get an energy that leads someone to work for this change.

She and Keith say the same thing. We all have to say this same thing, claerly, emphatically and explicitly, over the pictures of the action on TV broadcasts, everywhere, over and over again. This is not the whole answer, I know, but surely an essential component.


CE in Nova Scotia

On robotic therapy

Transcribing Mária Hári

1 comment:

  1. When I wrote that I did not know the answer, the answer I meant was to the technical and creative question about how one represents *visually* "education" in conductive education. That answer will be about the selection and sequence of *images*.

    The audio track on this clip has some good statements which, like captions to a still photograph, help interpret the image.

    Here, the image to the discerning professional eye, to the conductive education practitioner, shows some good practice.

    My suspicion is that to the untrained eye, to the lay viewer, the visuals look like "therapy". Partly this is an issue of stereotypes: (think of the video clips used in TV News to when the news item is about politicians and schools or education); partly it is about the busy schedules of the director and film crew, their own (lack of) knowledge of the issue they are filming and their falling back on the same stereotypes the viewer brings to the item.

    I actually think it is a difficult nut to crack for these and all sorts reasons.

    I personally - and perhaps others too - would find it interesting to enter into a debate with a TV or video director on how to crack this particular nut. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone!