Saturday, 4 February 2012

HOPE AND DESPAIR

Importance of both cannot be restated enough

Norman Perrin on his Facebook page – 
‎'When faced with any disability or challenge, one of the primary motivating factors is hope. Hope reflects the fundamental belief that there is a possibility to bring about significant change, which in turn leads to a more optimistic future.' I like that. If you want to read more, take a look at the website of the International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential. http://bit.ly/bkOtmY
By the way, I seem to recall Andrew Sutton once writing that the opposite of Hope was not 'false hope' but Despair.
http://www.facebook.com/norman.perrin/posts/185058554928048
Not just 'once', I am afraid, Norman! I recall saying (often!) that the opposite of Hope is not 'false hope' but Despair – even using that capital D – but I cannot off-hand find a specific example. Here though is an example of the wider theme –
I not know when precisely, a long time ago, I first twigged the vital importance of hope, not only in the pedagogy and the upbringing of Conductive Education but also for the whole panoply of social action that these soon became so bound up with outside Hungary. All I know is that it was parents who 'told' me. That is not to say that they came out with some formal statement, such as 'Hope is central to Conductive Education, a prerequisite, mechanism and product. Rather is soon realised that the word came up again an again and again in what parents said, both in innumerable casual conversations with myself and in the often more intense, concentrated things that they would say to politicians and the media. Once spotted, then the word was impossible to avoid – like the word 'knife' in Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller...

Moreover, I saw that it was not just the English word 'hope' involved here. With the spread of the conductive message, parents (and other family-members), with little or usually no contact with what had been said before, came up with the equivalent in their own languages, spontaneously, again and again, in statements like:

Conductive Education has given us back hope.
Horror of horrors, however, in this as in much else, the insights of families did not seep into the 'technical literature' of Conductive Education. Nor did it penetrate the 'research literature 'Why not? Don't people talk with parents? Don't they read the newspapers? Or does the Siren call of reductionist science drown out this clarion-clear message. Perhaps it it hard for those with little or no background in humane psychology or in other ways of thinking about thinking, to see that something like hope (or its lack, despair) is no an irrelevant metaphysical abstraction but a powerful material force in human health and well-being, in pedagogy, upbringing and education. Surely they see and act upon this when it comes to their own selves, or to the selves of those dear to the them.
Despair destroys

It is good to emphasise the positive, the life-affirming, the life-enhancing – and again and again to reassert that 'hope ... is no an irrelevant metaphysical abstraction but a powerful material force in human health and well-being, in pedagogy, upbringing and education'. Hope is both a pedagogic aim and a pedagogic tool (ditto in upbringing too, and ditto in adults as well as children, ditto for those who teach as much as for those who learn). Use it or lose it!

But forget not the dark underside, the potentially stifling, anti-developmental affects of lack of hope, hopelessness, despair, on teaching and learning, pedagogy and upbringing (ditto in adults as well as children, ditto for those who teach as much as for those who learn). Think and speak of this too, recognise and combat in yourselves – as in others.

Dysfunction, orthofunction... how to define, how to differentiate, how to switch? Consider the roles and balance of hope and despair.

Mediated learning

Thank you too, Norman, for reminding of another recurrent theme, overlap between Conductive Education and the work of Reuven Feuerstein. Most recently on these pages:

http://www.conductive-world.info/2011/12/some-hope.html

PS

As quoted above –

'...the vital importance of hope, not only in the pedagogy and the upbringing of Conductive Education but also for the whole panoply of social action that these soon became so bound up with outside Hungary...  in this as in much else, the insights of families did not seep into the 'technical literature' of Conductive Education. Nor did it penetrate the 'research literature 'Why not? Don't people talk with parents? Don't they read the newspapers?' 

They might try this, for starters:

http://www.e-conduction.org/CEP/?page_id=14

1 comment:

  1. Do people talk with parents? It seems to me that the 'talkers' are too busy talking (and writing their technical blather) to talk to parents; and parents are too busy being parents to talk & blather. That's one of the reasons why CE is so catchy, because so little time is needed for that flicker of hope to begin burning the dusty drapery of despair. When one sees the child's face light up, and a laugh come out, and THAT LOOK they get when they want to do something with the other child; well,I was sold on CE at that moment.
    Not to say I don't have my decades of despair, but that's just me taking a break from all that sunny hope in my face.
    As for penetrating the research literature, and somehow making an insight seep somewhere; holy smokes, no time for that. After being snubbed several times by folks who are designers and deliverers of education (even those who wave the flag of CE) one sees that there are too many hands patting their own backs. It's waste of time trying to talk to any of these 'systems' and things. Rather, 5 minutes with another parent, or the conductor, or the DOG.

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