Thursday, 24 March 2016

OPEN GOVERNMENT

Citizen's action in Northern Ireland

A current application under the Freedom of Information Act –
From: Mr G McCann
22 March 2016
Dear Education Authority, Northern Ireland,
1   Can you please tell me if parents are informed about Conductive Education in Northern Ireland.
2  Can you please tell me how many parents have asked for their children to be Educated at a conductive education in the last 10 years.
3 Can you please tell me how many children have been refused conductive Education in the last 10 years.
Yours faithfully,
Mr G McCann
He has had his request acknowledged and the process is now under way –

From: Liz JohnstonEducation Authority, Northern Ireland
22 March 2016
Thank you for your enquiry. It has been sent to me to liaise with the other four regions of EA and provide a response. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can advise you further.
Liz JohnstonFOI ManagerEA Belfast Region028 90 56 4316
I see from the useful guidelines provided that this is process should normally take no more than twenty working days:



Watching

The process all looks very open indeed. I have registered for email updates (as can anybody, anywhere, anonymously if preferred) and will pass on what I learn.

This is Mr McCann's twenty-fifth application under the Freedom of Information Act, on a variety of topics, not all specific to Northern Ireland:


Reference

Read more, and follow what is happening:

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

MEDIA AND AWARENESS

Whyever not?

Gill Maguire has just blogged on the media attention generated by the recent public awareness campaigns in the UK and the US.

She ends her posting –
Why is it so difficult to get coverage of Conductive Education, I wonder
http://e-conduction.org/ceinformation/conductive-awareness-week-in-the-uk-2016/#comment-38354

What is being done?

One of the tactics adopted first back in the 1980s to thrust Conductive Education to public attention in the West was the scattergun approach to professional and academic conferences and publications. This worked, creating a vortex of interest and controversy, that lead on to a veritable firestorm of media interest, culminating in the UK's highly enhanced public and political awareness in the late eighties and early nineties.

There are conferences and meetings all the time around the world, more than ever, on all sorts of topics, where CE could usefully be presented – not to mention uncountable opportunities to promote CE on line, in the journals and magazines, and in the wider public and popular media.

And CE is chock-full of human stories, scandals, conflicts, 'dramas', emotions, controversies, politics, hope, pain, joy, triumph etc., with wonderful potential for amazing pictures and film coverage, real media-fodder, and no end of conflict of interest to attract yet further attention.

The media are always gagging for captivating, attention-grabbing stories to fill the gaps between the adverts and to pull the punters, and Conductive Education certainly has the stories and a need for attention. Why, with notable exceptions, do the two not meet?


The question, Gill, may be not so much what has to be done to bring them together, as what is being done so effectively to keep the two apart! 

Monday, 21 March 2016

PARKINSON'S ON A BIKE

Worth considering, if you have not already?

Video

TV news segment from Cleveland, Ohio:

https://www.facebook.com/dawie.naude/videos/10154001607886465

Then you need a bicycle, a flat car park, a little courage, and some mutual confidence. 

This video is currently going viral (over fifty thousand hits to date). I could not catch the name of the journal mentioned by the newsreader. Here is another recent journal article:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26414696

Another example

http://www.greensboro.com/life/spears-ymca-offers-parkinson-s-cycling-class/article_e9f427d6-2387-5ba9-829c-26d3c85890ab.html

Why?


Ignore the mindless explanation in the news report (chemicals) and the above journal article ('thalamo-cortical connectivity' – brains). What a fascinating, humane phenomenon. A pity that research (of a certain kind) buries it in the biological:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term=%22Alberts+JL%22%5BAuthor%5D

Even the potentially psycho-social activity of cycling looks at risk of being reduced to 'peddling'. That's no fun! More useful research questions might relate to how (pedagogy), and to outcome (life). Why are 'experts' so often 'astounded' by what their disabled fellow-humans can do? What does this say about their expertise? Now there's another area for research enquiry'.

Another recent example

http://www.greensboro.com/life/spears-ymca-offers-parkinson-s-cycling-class/article_e9f427d6-2387-5ba9-829c-26d3c85890ab.html

And an organisation

http://www.pedalingforparkinsons.org/

Perhaps there are more...

Friday, 18 March 2016

WHAT'S GOING ON NOW IN LUXEMBOURG...

Under the surface?

A couple of hours ago the following posting appeared on Schrëtt fir Schrëtt's Facebook page (my translation from the original French) –
The Minister, Mr Meisch, visited our groups this morning with Pierre Reding, his First Adviser . The children were proud and motivated to be able to show them what they have learned. We then had a fruitful discussion.

The agreement will not be withdrawn from us in September. We shall have one more year to find a sound and viable legal solution with the Ministry of Education. Thank you, Mr. Meisch and Mr. Reding.
Now we wait to see what happens... Thanks to everyone who supported us and continues to support us.
https://www.facebook.com/schrettfirschrett/photos/a.894070927375937.1073741826.894068864042810/934574949992201/?type=3&theater

I do hope that I am wrong...

I understand neither the political forces at play in Luxembourg over this matter, nor the constitutional framework within which these forces have to be played out.

Perhaps I was wrong, but it had looked to me that there would have to be a date fixed within the next week for a public debate in the Chambre of Deputies on possibly permitting private schooling for children with disabilities as for all other children. Round 1 had therefore gone to Schrëtt fir Schrëtt,

Why the Minister's offer? Perhaps there had been a real expectation, on both sides, that Round 2 could go the same way as Round 1.

Now, in so far as I understand this evening's announcement from Schrëtt fir Schrëtt, that debate will now not occur. Round 2 therefore goes by default to the opposition (whoever the opposition is in this affair). And what problems, political and structural, might Round 3 have involved had this happened?

Now, though, the game has been changed. What happens next, to what rules? For example, does the result of the Petition stand, with a deferred debate definitely happening after a year's delay? Or will the whole business, including a second Petition, have to be played through again? And, whatever the case, what does the Ministry intend will be happening in the meantime?

For the time being, at no cost to itself the Ministry has bought itself time. For what? Surely not to change its mind? I do rather wonder what the Ministry and others might be busying themselves with over the next year, with what goal in mind.
In the meantime, good luck to everyone aboard the good ship Schrëtt fir Schrëtt.


ALLONS LES ENFANTS

Formez vos bataillons

Yesterday the Association CEC du Gard blogged that it has had a visit from a cameraman and a news reporter from TV France 3:


France 3's necessarily short segment, just over two minutes, was broadcast as a news segment yesterday. The content is now familiar around the world, images of children, parents, hard work and determination, positive statements to camera – and lots of wood!


What else can one shoot and show in the given circumstances? And why not? Thirty-odd years' spontaneous experience of pioneering action groups in CE have shown this to be a winning formula for spreading awareness.

Isabelle Bris sums it up for France 3  –
Clarensac: good results from 'conductive' education for children with cerebral palsy

There are only six Conductive Education centers in France: places suitable for children with cerebral palsy. Apprenticeships are based on a specialised education system established in Hungary in the forties. This example in the only center in southern France, in Clarensac, Gard.
Stand up, pick something up, or even walk, are movements that might at first seem obvious, but they are not so for everyone.
Some children with disabilities have to be guided in such matters. For them, these achievements become possible thanks to the trust created with the 'conductor'.
Progress is made at the child's pace, stimulated by games and singing: that is what is called Conductive Education.
Some children may thrive within months, and many parents do not hesitate to make the move to Clarensac for their child to attend this particular educational programme.
Since the opening of the Gard Centre for Conductive Education a year ago, thanks to the provision of accommodation by the city of Clarensac, nearly 25 children have benefited from this method.
The Gard CEC Association that provides the centre, consisting of 250 members and 50 volunteers, is always looking for operating grants.
For the Hungarian method that it advocates is still not recognized in France, whereas it is in many countries worldwide.
In Clarensac thirty children with disabilities are making progress in the region's sole Conductive Education centre.


Those six small centres are only the start of a long. hard process for CE in France. To sustain momentum and to resist further attacks, this long haul will need more parents, centres, conductors and supporters on board, and be much more widely known. As here, the French CECs make good use of the public media to attract more people to the cause, and hold them there. Sustaining the necessary awareness, by public, press and politicians is going to have to be a perpetual feature of their existence. Good luck.

Reference

(2016) Clarensac: les bons résultats de l'éducation "conductive" pour enfants infirmes moteurs cérébraux, TV 3 (Languedoc-Roussillon), 17 March

Thursday, 17 March 2016

KÁROLY ÁKOS

Doctor, psychologist, writer, editor, atheist, intellectual
A great loss to Conductive Education

I have just seen the following summary of the life and career of Károly Ákos, one of Conductive Education's great missed chances. This is my rough translation into English of what it says...

Károly Ákos
doctor, psychologist, editor

Born in Budapest, 3 October 1918
Died: 19 June 2003 in Budapest

Family

Father: Márton Ákos (d. 1962) civil service accounts officer. Second wife: Magda László, doctor, from 1946. Daughters: Anna Mária Ákos (1950) and Magdolna Ákos (1953) His first wife was murdered in Auschwitz.

Education

The Péter Pázmány University general medical qualification (1942), candidate of psychological sciences (1976).

Biography

World War 2. Following forced labour (1944-1945) took part in the national resistance and then served as Chief Medical Officer in a reorganised Hungarian Army battalion (1945). Intern in the Angyalföldi Mental Hospital (1945-1946), independent associate of the Hungarian Doctors' Free Trade Union (1946-1948), professional officer in the Hungarian People's Army (1948-1953; 1950 promoted to lieutenant-colonel), commandant of the School of Health Officers (1952-1953). Candidate Fellow of the National Institute of Public Health (1953), scientific leader of the Educated People's Publishing House (editor-in-chief, 1953-1957), chief medical psychologist, Hungarian People's Army Flight Aptitude Testing Station (1958-1962), senior researcher at the MTA Psychology Commission (1962-1972), senior fellow Psycho-chronography Research Group (1973-1978?).

At the start of his scientific career he was concerned primarily with mystical consciousness and religious issues, the mechanisms of forming individual consciousness and a new original explanation of will and consciousness was created. His interest later turned to exploring, psychological and physiological aspects of the functioning of the sense organs. He and his wife, Magda László looked into the so-called critical flicker frequency (CFF) and based on this developed a psycho-chronographic method (PCG) to measure the current overall state of individual health. In the 1960s and 1970s he edited a general and professional lexicon and played a significant role in popularising science. He translated the four-volume Brehme (Lives of Animals), edited a new series of Darwin and a new series of the popular educational works written on the functioning of the nervous system, thinking and their relationship to consciousness.

Recognition

Award from SZOT, the National Council of Trade Unions (1969)

Editing

Editor The science of our time (book series), 1964-1973
Editor Hungarian Medical Review (magazine), 1945-1946

His main works

The natural religions (Bp., 1953)

The psychology of mysticism (Bp., 1955)

Unknown world: the animals (Budapest, 1960, in Russian. Moscow, 1965)

Do animals think? (Bp., 1960)

The world of senses (Bp., 1960)

Cognition (Bp., 1961)

In the footsteps of the gods, parts I-III. (Budapest: I Sunday. 1961; II The Victim, 1963; III The Devil III, 1964)

The CFF: application of the new method. (Medical Journal, 1961)

Stimulus, stimulus, mind. The psychological concepts of cleanliness (Hungarian Psychological Review, 1961)

Unknown world: man (Bp. 1962; Bulgaria, Sofia, 1966)

Nervous system. (Bp., 1963)

The soul: the development of a concept. (Bp., 1964)

The critical fusion frequency range effect, with Ákos Magda. (Psychological Studies. VII. Bp., 1965)

The Critical Flicker Frequency Effect Series, with Ákos Magda. (1967 Bp.)

Conductive Education, with Mária Hári. (Budapest, 1971; in Japanese. Osaka, 1978 and 1981; in English, London-New York, 1988-1990)

The times of turbulence. Brain and consciousness (Bp., 1975)

The origin of the psycho-chronography of consciousness, candidate's dissertation. (Bp., 1976)

The psycho-chronographical fatigue testing, with Magda Ákos (1979 Bp.)

Dina: a mother practises Conductive Education, with Magda Ákos (in German, Ulm, 1989; 2nd ed.; in English: Birmingham, 1991).

[Editor] Charles Darwin: The origin of species (Bp., 1955)

A healthy person (The world of culture, Budapest, 1959. 2nd ed. 1964)

[Editor] Charles Darwin: Changes in animals and plants during domestication (Bp., 1959-1960)

[Editor] Charles Darwin: The descent of man. (Bp., 1961)

The recent literature on the question of atheism, with Béla Lengyel and Endre Pálvölgyi. (Bp., 1961)

[Editor] Charles Darwin: The expression of man's and animals' emotions. (Bp., 1963)

[Editor] Brehm: The world of animals, parts 1-4. (Bp., 1957-1959)

[Editor] Ervin Bauer: Theoretical biology. (1967 Bp.)


The above list is not exhaustive of Ákos's complete bibiography (for example, Névpont includes items that he published in Hungarian reference books and encyclopeedias, but not in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia).

Just a little background to add here

From the Editors' Notes to the book András Pető

Károly Ákos first heard of András Pető in slightly mysterious circumstances soon after the end of World War II, but he and his wife Magda only really knew him from 1953. They became regular dinner guests at András Pető's flat and were fascinated by his work and his Institute. They were intellectuals and medical scientists, Károly's officially extensive bibliography including officially regarded popular-science writings on the nature of what makes us human.. They despaired at his failure to commit his work to paper, and were very aware of its essentially psychological nature. Károly spent a lot of time at the Institute, observing, in preparation for helping him write a book and when András Pető died in 1967 there was a suggestion that Károly should become the new Director. He declined, but later he and Magda wrote a remarkable book Dina (1991) on how parents might bring up small children conductively in their families. The Ákoses had become estranged from the Institute but in the late nineteen-eighties were discovered by some of the foreign visitors to Budapest.

(pp. 38-39)

The medical journalist Véra Szárkány went too. Her interview with the Ákoses (English translation) has been republished in András Pető (pp. 83-95).

The Ákoses and Dina have appeared before in Conductive World, more than once. Here is an example to triangulate the above item from Névpont:


He appears to have been a respectable writer on atheism. In 1966 Erwin Laszlo wrote that in the nineteen-fifties attempts at systematic atheism in Hungary had tended to deteriorate into anti-clericism and mud-slinging, but that Károly Ákos was a rare exception who, over twenty years...

...published an impressive array of books and studies popularising (at a good literary level) basic atheistic views concerning the genesis, history and current practices of the world's religions.

(p. 82)

András Pető and the Ákoses must have had some lively dinner-time discussions. Erwin László's opinion of the quality of Károly Ákos's thinking in this respect is worth heeding:


Reference

Kozák, P, (2016) Ákos Károly: orvos, pszichológus, szerkesztő, Névpont

Laszlo, E. (1966) The Communist Ideology in Hungary, Dordrecht, D. Reidel


Maguire, G., Sutton, A. (eds.) (2012) András Pető, Birmingham, CEP
http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/3695419-andr-s-pet
(Includes a link to order a copy for direct delivery)

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

'MANY ROADS TO ROME' – MÁRIA HÁRI

Dance is just one
(A broad highway would be nice)

This afternoon Rony Schenker sent me a link to Kathryn Daniels' nice little paper from the Journal of the International Association for Dance, Medicine & Science. Thanks Rony for sharing this – I am happy to share it in my turn:


Roads to Rome

It takes me back to my early days' involvement in CE when I still rather hoped that interest in Conductive Education would serve as a catalyst for society's re-examining the fundamental bases for considering physical disabilities and other disabilities too (any age, any kind) as deserving to be consigned to medicine and 'therapies'. Heady days. Developmental dance paticularly caught my fancy, and I espoused Mária Hári's point that 'there are many roads to Rome'. I was delighted to find that there were indeed many analogous ways being explored – not just in the Western world – exemplifying important common principles.

(By the way, Mária herself had once trained to dance – Laban)

I was less delighted to find that such approaches (and their principles) seemed universally regarded as being at best on the fringe, giving no reason to look beyoind the Holy Family of physical, occupational (ergo-) and speech therapries. I do know that over the years many individual such therapists have dabbled in this fringe, as also have many conductors, but the established canons of both the therapies and of Conductive Education seem to have continued uninterrupted within the confines of their existing paths. So it goes.

That is a shame. There must be so much experience and inspiration out there that has not been shared, for the benefit not just for the development of individuals but more widely for for the development of Conductive Education as a whole – and more widely still for helping our society's views break out of the Medical Age and up into the long-awaited Renaissance.

A bit more on ballet

Some of you might remember this remarkable TV news segment from ABC, on Gregg Mozgala from Chicago, in 2010:


Either way, don't miss it. It is still well worth watching and listening to in 2016.

And on something else

Leave the above video running at its end and see the report that follows, too.

Reference

Daniels, K. (2009) Teaching to the whole dancer: synthesizing pedagogy, anatomy, and psychology, Journal of the International Association for Dance, Medicine & Science, vol.1, no 1, pp. 8-10


Monday, 14 March 2016

FROM SWEDEN

Profit is progressive
(But no news of petition)

Provision of conductive services though conductors' own private practice, often called consultancies, and/or through private companies that they have established, was once rare. Such private practice is in addition to conductors' working as employees within the charitable (non-profit) or public (state) sectors.. There have of course been some longstanding private providers, Ágnes Borbely and Judit Szathmáry for example, and Susie Mallett has described something of the diverse range of activities to be experienced under the private model of practice. For a variety of reasons, however, the private-enterprise model is becoming much more common among conductive start-ups.

It is now reasonable to consider that around the world (including in Hungary) conductive services can be divided between three sectors and consider them accordingly:
  • private
  • not for profit
  • state.
For the moment it cannot be said which will prove the most successful model for providing Conductive Education.

A Swedish private's progress

In a press release release from Move & Walk a year ago, conductor Eszter Horváth recounted her own story and urged the model of providing CE services through a company that pays a profit, over both the non-profit and state sectors –
Twenty years ago there was only one way to look at children with disabilities in Sweden.... I had a clear goal – the Swedish treatment of disabled children would improve. In my view, the Swedish healthcare an incorrect view of these children.
...My view was that disabled children are born with different conditions, learning problems, and using the right type of special education, children can develop and take greater place in society...

Today I run a successful school, health and social care in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö.

Unfortunately, for-profit companies in the healthcare and education sector have had a negative connotation, and political voices are talking about profit-prohibitions and restrictions. But profit is essential for development and renewal... Without a profit buffer we would not have tried toopen new schools at all as opportunity arose... if we did not have margins.

There is a strong and inherent driving force for development and renewal in the private corporate form. The stunning renovation that has taken place [in Sweden] in health care and education for neurologically damaged children, is clear proof of this. It is a development that both the public sector or non-profit foundations have passed by, unwilling or unable to operate...

Also, I can proudly say that Move & Walk, after 20 years of financially risky pioneering work, has finally begun to change the perception of the disabled child's potential, even within public health care and education

This press release, touched on a hot political topic, and was taken up in the Swedish press. The full text of this release (in Swedish) is available here:


Also in Sweden...

While mentioning Sweden it seems appropriate to report that there has been no further news of Lars Mullback and the recent petition to save the CE service in the town of Blekinge. As far as one can tell through the Swedish media, this affair appears not to have broken through into public awareness:


Reference

(2015) Att revolutionera sjukvården i motvind, Move & Walk, press release, March
http://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/movewalk/pressreleases/att-revolutionera-sjukvaarden-i-motvind-1129682

Saturday, 12 March 2016

A PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM

One of many
A masterpiece is still a masterpiece when the lights are out and the room is empty
I do not know where this oft-quoted saying comes from, but ten days ago Judit Szathmáry quoted it without qualification on her Facebook page:


This afternoon Norman took it up on his blog, expanded on it a little, and linked it to something that Schrëtt fir Schrëtt argued at the end of last month in its battle to save CE from its Government's attempt to drag services for disabled children back into to the Medical Age –
For us it is clear: if we have a complete and efficient system for the needs of severely disabled children, why should one wish to reduce it to its motor aspect alone, which will no longer know how to function if one leaves aside the whole pedagogic part that opens the brain to learning and to forging new mechanisms to control the child's body? What will happen to all the educational component, the school learning, which is so important to us?
How often do we hear or read of provision for the motor-disabled child in terms of the physical and not the mind? How often do we read accounts of conductive education that focus on the motor aspect, as if conductive education were an alternative form of therapy, one among others, rather than on its pedagogic essence? 
http://www.cejottings.co.uk/2016/03/conductive-serendipity-or-why-conductive-education-is-more-than-the-physical-.html

Judit quotes an attractive little aphorism. But I heartily disagree with it. If it speaks of a visual image, all that exists in that dark, empty room, is so much paint or stone. And if the piece of art is expressed in a different modality – say as a play, such as Hamlet – it is a work of art, even perhaps a masterpiece, only when it is being performed for an audience. Reduced below that level, it is  just words and sounds.

I suppose that a further dimension to this may comes from conscious memory, when a work of visual art flashes on that inward eye, or one recalls a poem, or 'hears' a haunting idée fixe from some fantastic symphony – but that does not seem to be what is being referred to in the quotation that opens this posting.

I hope that my awkwardly stated position would have been recognisable and acceptable to L. S. Vygotskii, Sergei Eizenshtein and chums

As Norman points out in in his posting, Buddhists might also go along with the gist of my view too.

Meaning, sense, mind, our societies and our very consciousneses, these are surely phenomena of a material world, socially and historically created as within all our ontogenies.

(And if you would like to relate this to activity theory, then tools are simply material objects – till they are used within a practical activity to achieve a purpose, and conveys their implicit meanings inward to the developing mind and onward to minds yet to be born.)

With Franz Schaffhauser so suddenly out of the immediate picture, will the field find others with a formal philosophical background to help towards clarifying the many conceptual questions, formal and informal, that remain to be addressed within Conductive Education?

Reference

Perrin, N. (2016) Conductive Ssrendipity – or Why Conductive Education is more than the physical, CE Jottings, 12 March


Friday, 11 March 2016

MONTESSORI, ENGLAND – CE, LUXEMBOURG

Compare and contrast

Conductive World, December 2013
Discovery New School in Crawley, West Sussex, the first state-funded primary school to adopt a whole-school Montessori approach, is to have its funding withdrawn by the Department for Education at the end of the coming spring term – as Ofsted (the English schools-inspection service) deems the school 'inadequate'.
http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery-world/news/1141078/failing-montessori-free-school-close
There is already a mountain of information and comment on this growing on line (including Wikipedia, updated yesterday). One can also see the actual inspection report and official closure letter:
http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/137326


Wikipedia, 2014
Discovery New School was a co-educational Montessori free school for pupils aged 4 to 10 The school opened in September 2011... for pupils aged 4 to 10...funded directly by central government and had a planned intake of 16 pupils per year.


The school closed to children for the last time on 3 April 2014, following a series of inspection failures and withdrawal of its funding.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_New_School


Compare and contrast

Montessori is not Conductive Education, England is not Luxembourg, there are substantive differences between the two pedagogies, and of course what actually happens on the ground is never be really known to anyone, never mind what happens behind the closed doors of governments and their agencies.

Tying to 'compare and contrast' could still be interesting, even useful...

There are independent schools in England with varying claims to be conductive, but there are no CE free schools, despite the efforts of Paces Sheffield not that long ago – and Ofsted is still on the prowl to police everybody, according to its own ideas of what is right, and what is wrong.

Reference

Sutton, A. (2013) Montessori: two straws in twenty-first century winds, Conductive World, 14 December