Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Just another brick in the wall

Another negative academic account found on line

The Journal of Special Educational Perspectives used to be called the NSW Journalof Special Education. Back in 2004 it added another small brick to the defensive wall around CE:

Stephenson, J. (2004) A teachers' guide to contraversial practices, Special Education Perspectives, Vol. 13, no 1, pp. 66-74

I do not think that I had spotted this particular article, by Jennifer Stephenson of Sydney University of Technology, at the time that it appeared in that journal. Perhaps I have not seached hard enough but I cannot even now find the original journal pages accessible on line. I have, however, just been able to read some of it notwithstanding (I know not why) on a posting on Julia van Tiel's Malay-language gifted-children blog, from the Nethelands, under the heading 'Therapy without scientific support':


The second part of the original article appears missing but these is enough there to offer a flavour. The link given to the original is now dead:


Here for the record is Ms Stephenson's special-educational perspective on Conductive Education:

Conductive Education (CE)CE aims to teach children with cerebral palsy or other movement disorders to achieve personal goals, increase their independence and exercise choice (Ludwig, Leggett, & Harstall, 2000). Ludwig et al. (2000) carried out a comprehensive review and concluded that the effectiveness of CE is not established for children with cerebral palsy. They note that there are many local adaptations of conductive education, which have moved away from the full-time, intensive residential approach originally developed in Hungary, and that these adapted approaches also need rigorous evaluation. United Cerebral Palsy National (1995, 1997), in two fact sheets, similarly call for more research to demonstrate the superior efficacy of conductive education over more traditional approaches.

Skimpy, sterile stuff as it stands. It would be most intersting to see the article's concluding pages, to see what is made of this...

...in order to assist teachers and families make informed decisions about the practices they adopt.

9 comments:

  1. Will Blogger allow me to post a Comment without trying to trap me into signing up for Blogger account.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It looks like I've signed up for a Blogger account but I can't be sure.

    I might be in!

    Perhaps having taken this step into the Blogger unknown I shall never have to do so again?

    Here goes, Andrew

    ReplyDelete
  3. My next post will be a real Comment, Andrew.

    It's looking like I've been through some sort of verification or authentication process but I must say it was very off-putting at first.

    I still don't know if I've signed up (unwillingly and unwittingly) for a Blogger account!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Real comment 1:

    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
    To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete" Buckminster Fuller

    I really do begin to wonder whether we are not wasting our time contending this sort of "skimpy, sterile stuff" - except perhaps to protect the innocents - but ought instead to re-focus as Fuller suggests.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Real comment 2:

    In order to .. "assist teachers and families make informed decisions about the practices they adopt" might we look forward to "more research to demonstrate the superior efficacy of more traditional approaches over conductive education" ....

    > in reducing the number of adults with learning disabilities being imprisoned?
    > in reducing the number of adults with learning disabilities who are unemployed?
    > in reducing the number of school-leavers with learning disabilities among the NEETS? (UK term - "not in education, employment or training")
    > in reducing the number of pupils with learning disabilities excluded from school daily?

    > explaining why some say 40% of school-leavers are functionally illiterate and innumerate? (and how many of these have learning disabilities?

    > evidencing how many new entrants to teaching have been trained to teach pupils with learning disabilities including cerebral palsy
    > evidencing how many new entrants to teaching have been trained in an understanding of cerebral palsy?
    > evidencing how many new entrants to teaching have been trained to evaluate alternative specialised pedagogies and curricula?

    > how many (trained) teachers using "traditional approaches" could begin to articulate the theoretical underpinnings of what they do?

    Maybe it's because I've had a frustrating day. But I would nevertheless be willing to listen to anyone who can explain to me that putting teachers into classrooms when they have not been specifically trained to teach children with learning disabilities let alone cerebral palsy has no connection whatsoever with the absolutely appalling outcomes of "traditional approaches" for these same youngsters.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here's something the "superior efficacy of traditional approaches" won't be claiming responsibility for:
    "Government statistics indicate that of the 83,000 prisoners in England in 2008, there were more than 19,000 people with an identifiable learning difficulty. However, for the purposes of this article I would like to focus on the estimated 5,800 prisoners with a formal diagnosis of learning disability.

    According to Prison Reform Trust reports these individuals suffer ‘routine human rights abuses’. Further evidence of their vulnerability in prison is research indicating that they are five times more likely to be restrained and three times more likely to be segregated than non-learning disabled prisoners. These are harrowing statistics. In his report of 2009, entitled Review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system, Lord Bradley noted that “custody exacerbates mental ill health, heightens vulnerability and increases the risk of self-harm and suicide.”
    Source: http://bit.ly/qQWIT7

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  7. Here's something else the "superior efficacy of traditional approaches" won't be claiming responsibility for:

    "One fifth of school-leavers so illiterate and innumerate they struggle to cope with challenges of everyday life."
    http://bit.ly/aGkUIx

    (20% not 40% as I said above - but shocking nonetheless).

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a lot Norman. Forgive me for an omnibus response!

    Blogger.

    There's nothing that I can do about it' Like many things, one simply has to ignore it. If you do get entrapped then, apart from a possible complaint to some quango, then at least you are testing out your hypothesis that joining acts as a sort of vaccination!

    I suspect that they are all as bad as each other. Your blog used routinely to crash my computer (not just mine) but, once I signed up for something, those days are gone.

    Real comment 1:

    My hope/intention, in the nineteen-eighties, was that introducing CE to the UK would serve as a bridgehead, not just for tranformative pedagogy but also for everything that has to go with this (including even appropriate reserch paradigms!). I am still wondering why this has not come about! One (kindly) explanation is that few people have shared this broader aim over the years. I would be happy for alternative suggestions.

    Real comment 2:

    A 'frustrating day? I've had a frustrating lifetime! In full cognisence of the specifics of failed state sytems such as you list (and a few more) I would broaden your question thus: 'I would be willing to listen to anyone who can explain to me that putting teachers into classrooms when they have not been specifically trained to teach children has no connection whatsoever with the absolutely appalling outcomes of "traditional approaches" across the board'.

    Something the "superior efficacy of traditional approaches" won't be claiming responsibility for – 1 and 2

    Let us not pick specifically upon 'education'. Look wider. A long time ago now Eric Midwinter referred to the four Ps of Victorian philanthropy: paupers, patients, prisoners and pupils.

    Change the terminology and all our social science and professionalisation does not seem to have moved us very far – not forward, anyway.

    Andrew.

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  9. There is a (to me) strikingly parallel response to the above posting over on James Forliti's blog, CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION IN BC:

    http://zsippzsupp.blogspot.com/2011/07/wheres-pudding.html

    ReplyDelete