Wednesday, 12 June 2013

WC8 – ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Online publication of Congress Abstracts

As I did for the Seventh World Congress in Hong Kong I submitted more than one 'Abstract' to the forthcoming World Congress. After all, I reasoned to myself, they are paying me to go all this way and putting me up there, I really ought to give value for money. More selfishly, I ought to keep my hand in and, anyway, I quite enjoy it.

The invited keynote address (my ticket there) needed an Abstract to go in the programme, so along with it I submitted Abstracts for three oral presentations and, jointly with Gill Maguire, a poster.

Come the day, one of my oral presentations was not accepted.

No sweat, it is turning a very full programme, and I had a job fitting what I regard as important to say under the stated theme of the Congress ('Rhythm and balance').

Abstracts on line

A few days ago, Ralph Strzałkowski published the Abstract of his keynote Address to the Congress, on his blog, Lawyer on Wheels:


I am surprised that the Congress itself has not taken the opportunity itself to publicise some of its actual content in this way – particularly before the 'early bird' price-offer expired. This could have have been good PR and and probably an effective aid to recruiting punters.

Following Ralph's lead, I publish below the Abstract of my presentation that didn't make it. And I shall also be posting on line my Abstracts that did.

Few of those who will be presenting at Munich will have their own blogs, but surely many will come from centres with their own sites. I hope some these will also follow Ralph's lead and publish their Abstracts on line, accepted or rejected.

Munich, the book

Following the Seventh World Congress in Hong Kong I collected my various contributions together and published them in a small book.

I shall repeat this exercise after the German Congress This will include the full wording of the presentation on CE literature that will not be given at the Congress.

That abstract

The 'CE-literature':
some problematics
Andrew Sutton
Conduction, UK

Background: A first overview of the available 'CE-literature' (Cottam and Sutton, 1985) found it small, largely in English, often mistaken, and not very helpful. Nearly thirty years later, immensely more is available, but this may still mislead as much as inform about Conductive Education. This 'literature' by now includes academic and professional writings, PR and marketing, paper and electronic materials. Now as then one has to reserve this cautionary position:

Perhaps the art of education is ultimately conveyed only by a work of the imagination (ibid., p. 27)

In 2013 there are many materials out there, for all to see. In these years of CE's internationalisation, the author's personal intervention has promoted a few books some serial publications, and created a publishing house, with emphasis on encouraging others to publish. Others have made their own interventions.

Continuing problems: Now in the Internet age, everybody can publish but most people need considerable help and encouragement to become 'writers'. In writing about CE, quality control and describing practice remain persisting problems. Developing 'the literature' is not a priority for CE's institutions. There is little time for mentoring, and little market for CE publications.

'Three estates': CE once largely comprised three groups –
  • users and would-be users
  • conductors
  • a 'third estate', a small number of involved professionals and academics from other fields, who once contributed disproportionately towards the literature
In the twenty-first century the third group has become very small 

A 'technical literature': This needs to be plausible to those outside CE and useful to those within. Its creation is more than the quantitative problem of generating a growing number of unrelated works, plus the qualitative problem of how good these are, but evolution of a systemic whole, an organic body of knowledge linked together by sensible and critical reference to what had gone before and what happens elsewhere, kept alert by critical review, and clear and lean from disposing of what is no longer worth knowing. It should be dynamic and holistic. CE's literature remains neither.

Without prospect of a strategic plan for Conductive Education, how might one progress from here?

Reference:

Cottam, P., Sutton, A. (eds) Conductive Education, Croom Helm


References

Strzałkowski, R. (2013) The Abstract, Lawyer on Wheels, 10 June

Sutton, A. (2011) Last Year in Hong Kong, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press
http://www.e-conduction.org/CEP/?page_id=36

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