Sunday, 23 November 2008

Well, shall we discuss it?

Evaluation from Brazil

There is quite an extensive discussion on mentoring bubbling away on the Comments section of yesterday’s item on Conductive World. You might like to join in the rough and tumble for yourself.

The most recent Comment posted there at the time that I write this is by Judit Szathmáry. As often happens on discussion threads on the Internet (and no harm in that), she suddenly introduces à propos de rien a huge new topic of great significance in its own right As merits headline attention here.

She opens her posting as follows…

This is what we need to hear more of

Pesquisa da Educação Condutiva em Santa Catarina

This research was conducted during the year 2007 by educator Célia Diva Renck Hoefelmann with the Special Education Foundation of Santa Catarina.

She is referring to yesterday’s posting on Leticia Búrigo’s blog, reporting the report of an evaluation carried out in Brazil last year. You can find Leticia’s blog at:

Machine translation

Leticia writes in her native Portuguese and all credit to Judit for providing the Google machine-translation of Leticia’s posting in her own Comment. Portuguese and English can be pretty close and the translation is fairly easy to read, certainly for its gist.

Just watch out for one tricky linguistic ‘false friend‘. The word conductor in Portuguese means ‘driver’, and the drivers that are mentioned in this translation are in fact conductors!

Or are they? Let’s find out…

Always check

This is what I say again and again to my students when they tell me what they have heard or read (especially of course with respect to what I tell them!).

Judit tells us to be in good cheer about yet another evaluation to go into the pool. As ever, though, it will do so without heed from the ‘conductive community’, with no critical evaluation, and with little account of the social effects of the report. In other words, it will vanish.

I do not wish to upset Judit, or Leticia, both of whom will have spotted these words before most of the rest of Conductive World's readership. All I wish to do here is to approach this latest study with the same open-minded curiosity that all such investigations merit.

This time, however, I wonder whether more people around the world would care to walk alongside me in this.

How to check?

The first thing to do is to find out more. Join me. If you are not used to this sort of thing, as a start enter into your search engine the name of the organisation that undertook this study, plus the Portuguese word for ‘conductive', thus:

"Fundação Catarinense de Educação Especial" “condutiva”

At the time of writing this brings up at least nine hits (though by the time that you get to the page this total will be at least one more). Two of these hits concern conductive hearing loss and can be discounted from your search. That leaves only seven to look through to form a first idea of what is going on.

Your second task is to render these into English. In 2008 this is simplicity itself. Just click in the square-bracketed instruction [Translate this page] at the end of each of the seven relevant items.

I can especially recommend, by the way, the item presently third on the list, headed APAE - Assistência

Your third task is to do what all serious investigators do. When you have seen just an extract from a report: write to the author for the full text. She won’t be at all put out by this: it is what all report-writers want and only rarely get enough of. Believe me!

The report was written by Célia Diva Renck Hoefelmann.and Leticia has kindly provided us with her email:

An informed discussion

Now we can have an informed and public discussion on this new investigation.

Well, shall we?



Blogger Judit Szathmáry said...

Dear Andrew,

You didn’t upset me at all. We have a long long path working and doing our best in our own ways. Remember the first time we spoke? I was at a dinner party in Oxford, Summer Town. I still don’t know how you knew that I was there and how you get the number of my friends? But, you called and we had a long discussion.

We both know the past when you started your work setting up the National Institute of Conductive Education UK in collaboration with the Petö Institute Hungary. We both always had respect for each other’s work although we were going our own ways. We did our best and I always told you what tremendous work you have accomplished by setting up the National Institute of Conductive Education and the training related to the work. You were always very modest about it, but I think you should be proud and take the credit.

I never forget when one day I was visiting the Institute in Birmingham and I was just leaving when your taxi arrived, you stepped out of the car and you looked so worn out and slightly lost and I felt your energy and I sent you lots of loving thoughts. I have been there… It is a very lonely journey… especially when all eyes are on us to prove that it works. You have your talents, which I don’t have.

In the last twenty odd years we both steered our boats in a certain way and I am trying to do it differently now. We cannot and must not stop the flow. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are learning opportunities, so we can all do it better. From Leticia’s post what I picked up was that they were trying to do the best they could under their circumstances even though there may have been factual mistakes in the research but they did what they could do and we must take notice of their hard work and start putting out constructive messages, and mentoring (or whatever we are happy to call it) so they could do it better. At least people have begun to write about the positive effects of CE.

The outcome was that the physiotherapists preferred the Conductive way and there were recognisable improvements. Praise them and guide them to do it the way would be the most beneficial for them and for the Conductive World to precede. Maybe it would be useful to write or share some criteria for research to help others.
May the next 20 odd years be less rocky!!!

Monday, 24 November 2008 at 19:02:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew Sutton said...

Thanks for the warm thoughts and kind memories.

As for the study in Brazil I can’t possibly offer an informed comment yet as I have not yet read the full report.

I have, however, written to Célia Hoefelmann who made the Brazilian investigation (as I recommended others do) and she has already replied to say that a full copy of the report will be on its way.

Don’t expect an immediate response from me the moment the it arrives. My Portuguese speed-reading is not up to it! And anyway, I have an awful lot else to catch up on.

As for research in general, you can get a fairly clear idea (I hope!) of what I think of the ‘research into Conductive Education’ so far from my review of this, called ‘CE-related research’. You will find this at:

Sorry that the format is less than brilliant, as mastering Google;s knol technology is one of the things that I am behind on.

That review is not of course entirely what you asked for, though it does help frame some of the initial questions. It is quite some time since I last elaborated a research strategy/programme for Conductive Education, since when the world has changed a little, and so has CE and the research questions that might be addressed to it.

Will I do it? No, I won’t.

Unless, that is you can find me somebody to commission such a review for a reasonable professional fee, preferably to be paid for in a non-sterling currency that is not going to blow away almost before it is received.

I’m sure that you will agree that this is too important an issue to be tackled as somebody’s hobby pursuit,

Or maybe you don’t!

In the meantime, of course, this Comments column is open for anyone else who would like to elaborate upon the sort of research that is needed in Conductive Education.


Monday, 24 November 2008 at 20:17:00 GMT  
Blogger LeticiaBúrigoTK-1288 said...

Dear ,
we are talking abour Conductive Education, and for us this is huge once no one knows about it. every visit is a time to persuasion (

I am happy to b mentioned, to say something about, is this that we are provocating. I have so many points about the research, but it is further more important to develop and publish it.

Just to let you knoe, the conductor who was part of this job is a mexican and lovely girl RACHEL LABASTIDA. She is now working as a conductor in Spain.

with love,
Leticia Kuerten

Tuesday, 25 November 2008 at 10:04:00 GMT  
Anonymous Becky Featherstone said...

Hello Andrew,

I actually was handed this report at the beginning of July by Leticia. I subsequently read it and noted my observations. It is an interesting report and I feel it is very positive that people want to write about Conductive Education in a country where it is still relatively unknown. However I do believe there are some mistakes within the text, which I am sure you will discover. The end message of the research is that Conductive Education is not possible without conductors, I am glad they came to this conclusion!

I hope you enjoy the read and if you would like any help in understanding the text I would be happy to help.

Becky Featherstone

Tuesday, 25 November 2008 at 13:00:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew Sutton said...

Some people are being so prompt in responding on this matter that I feel the obligation to say something else at this point, though I do not of course wish to offend against the principle advanced in the posting to which this is a Comment, that there can be no informed discussion of this report till it has been read!

So a few facts. I have my dowmoaded hard copy on the table in front of me,all 67 pages of it and all in Prtuguese. It doesn't look an insupereable task but it will have to wait its turn. A first glimpse is enough to say that this document will be an important factor in the future of CE in Brazil. So what? Don't forget what the 'B' stands for in BRIC.

I hadn't meant to open this booklet tonight, there's enough going on around me, but I foolishly did and here I am more than an hour later having ploughed my way through, unable to put it down.

This was enough to see that Celia Hoefelmann has made by far a better fist than have most outsiders around the world at a first explanation of CE in a new context (and that comparison goes back more than twenty years). Indeed, she makes a better job of it than I have seen from many conductors!

Remember the name, Celia Hoefelmann, perhaps one of the first new names in CE for the 21st century.

And especially, I should like to take up Leticia's mention of Rachel Labastida. Approaching a couple of months back I mentioned on these pages that one of the many problems facing CE around the world is the frequent lack of communication between conductors and others within the conductive movement. I got into terrible trouble for this! Would, however, there more of the same generous sharing of information and understandings as is apparent between Rachel and Celia.

And yes, Becky, even at a first skimming, I spotted all sorts of little errors along the way... and it was a terrible temptation to take out a red pen and correct them one by one (but not to be succumed to at nearly midnight!). These could probably be righted readily though with a little more access to the literature.

But I was encouraged in my resolve to go back and examine the whole work properly, when I have time, by what looked like a sensible resolve to get to the essence of CE as a pedagogic and psychological process.

Is she there yet? Well, that's what I shall have to wait and see when I have looked it the whole properly.

Two other quick points:

(1) Thanks for the offer to tutor me, Becky, it is most gratefully received. I hope that you don't live to regret it. Not bad, eh, role-reversal in under eighteen months?

(2) Am I doing this on my own? Are there others out there, outside of Brazil, looking at this document? If so, get in touch, to collaborate. And if not, what price the 'profession' of conductor?

With apologies, as ever, for my tying...

Tuesday, 25 November 2008 at 23:56:00 GMT  

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