Monday, 31 January 2011

How to confront those outside CE

When we cannot resolve internal differences?
  • Cerebral palsy... usually occurs before, during or after birth and is caused by a lack of oxygen.
  • We help children to make them as physically independent as possible.
  • It’s based on the premise that a child’s brain can be retrained.
  • Conductors who lead the program serve as a combination [of] physical therapist, occupational therapist and teacher.
How many of these statements, all from a single soure (a public presentation, sympathetcally reported in a local newspaper) would you stand by?
  • All four? Three? Two? One? None?
How many of the above statements do you regard as misguided, or outright wrong?
  • None? One? Two? Three? All four?
Which do you regard as the most harmful consequence of mis-stating Conductive Education, however sincerely held and well-meaning what is being said?
  • Actively misleading parents, funders, sympathisers
  • Making the whole CE endeavour appear implausible, ridiculous
What should one do about it?
  1. Keep one's head buried firmly in the sand?
  2. Write personally to all those who offend, and carefully and patiently explain the errors of their ways?
  3. Comment publicly, without naming names?
  4. Name and shame?
What is your favoured response?
  • Most people in CE go for option (1). Perhaps they do not wish offend anyone (especially sincere person trying hard to act for the best). Perhaps they are exercising that most dubious of ethical principles, 'acting professionally'. Perhaps they are unsure of themselves, or are just plain wormy. All seemingly strong reasons Same result: nothing done. And nothing changes.
  • Some people may bite the bullet of option (2), and write personally... but, all other factors aside (and there are quite a few!), consider the sheer arithmetic of this hypothetical approach.
  • Conductive World has tended towards option (3). If one wants a generalised effect, then this is more cost-effective than option (2) and, also like option (2), perhaps it avoids wounding personal feelings too much. . But as with option (2), why should anybody take the blindest notice?
  • Well, that brings us to option (4). In the most postitive and friendly way, for the greatest possible good of Conductive Education as a whole, is it not time to start exercising that most important pedagogic principle, tough love, and start imposing a bit of discipline around here?
I will if you will.

And perhaps I will anyway, even if you won't.



Blogger Rony Schenker, OTR, PhD, Tsad Kadima, Israel said...

Option 5) Share and forward papers such is this one as widely as possible

Monday, 31 January 2011 at 11:18:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew said...

es indeed, keep on producing and and disseminating as much 'good news' and proper analysis as one can.

There is already a lot of it about,though, and has been for twenty-odd years. There has a lot been blogged over the last couple of years or so and a lot of decent stuff on the Internet has been more widely disseminated by CE bloggers. And now there are books coming out too, Susie Mallett's Conductor Nuremberg has published its first book and more will follow. And over the last year or so Conductive Education Press has published 44 articles in three books, again with more to follow.

But there is a useful economic 'law' to bear in mind: 'Bad coin drives out bad'. I accept your point (5) and an essential corollary. But this is a job for bad cop as well as good cop, stick as well as carrot.

I shall continue to be nice, wherever I can, and I do hope that everyone else does too. But I think that it is also time to be putting around a bit of stick, in the nicest possible way of course and in the best possible taste, in the hope that good work that is done and described is not nullified by waves of misguided and/or misunderstood... I was going to say 'nonsense'... yes, nonsense.

I expect that I shall not be doing this alone.


Monday, 31 January 2011 at 20:53:00 GMT  
Blogger Viktoria said...

Thank you Rony. I'm absolutely amazed how many conductors contacted me lately who had something nice to say about my blog, but especially that post.

I'm so glad because my impression is that communication between conductors is getting better and nicer. You still see the occasional pointless rude comment like here made by "konduktor", but I have a much better feeling about our community now than I used to. (May be just my impression.)

I don't see how anything could improve regarding perception of ce without us sticking together, talking openly about the huge problems we're facing and calling nonsense openly nonsense. I think "name and shame" is very harsh if it concerns conductors, they would probably do much better with guidance than being "told off". Conductors are also often pressured to talk nonsense because it is the business interest of their workplace. This is not an excuse, but it is real, and I think a lot of conductors, especially the young ones, could do with guidance on how to stand up for themselves and for all of us. I have a printed parent information leaflet from a well-known ce center that explains that the "neurodevelopmental exercises" (they mean the task series) work best on healing the brain when they're paired with hyperbaric oxygen. It was probably not the conductors who composed this material but I'm not sure how long they would have kept their job if they told the parents openly that this was nonsense. I also know from experience that conductors struggle with English, struggle translating their thoughts from Hungarian into cohesive sentences that make at least some sense, and being able to find and use the right English words (not dictionary translations of Hungarian words) requires you to live in an English-speaking country for years. I also know that journalists routinely misquote conductors even if they're told exactly what to write, because they want the story to sound sensational. Upbringing doesn't sound near as exciting as neurons, brain and cures for incurable conditions, and the papers need to contain today's inspiring story to be sold. I don't believe that there's nothing we can do.
"Keep one's head buried in the sand" does not sound like a good option to me either as you already know it from our chat last year, so if I’m told to look at the sunny side again instead of trying to figure out, pointing out and discussing what’s wrong, I’m going to live with it, but I may need to take back the second paragraph of this comment, and I will also have a hell of a hard time figuring out what you meant by "putting around a bit of stick".

Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 00:15:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Rony, as an outsider I do agree that the public relationship between conductors, especially but not exclusively the younger ones, seems to be easing now over the truly dreadful situation that used to prevail. It was not all that long ago that any publically stated view on anything by a conductor seemed to be greeted by a storm of disparagement and abuse, almost invariably anonymous, from fellow conductors. (Careful web navigation through the Wayback Machine can find this recorded for ever on the Internet.) No wonder people kept their heads down. It is rare indeed now to find something signed 'konductor'.

It was not just conductors, though. Some British people associated with running CE centres were altogether so foul-mouthed and hate-filled that they killed off the very idea of discussing anything publically for years, lots of people saying to me over the intervening time 'I'll never write anything on a discussion forum'. Sad, the abusers did not help themselves (their services collapsed and they themselves moved on to pastutures new) but they really damaged the possiblity of communication and collective thinking over a decade when CE really needed it.

Now we have new people emerging, and possibilities of starting again.

Vikki (and Dnnie too?), I was not referring particularly to condutors. Most, I suspect, could do with a little back-up and mentoring, rather that being told off! The fault lies more, I suspect, with enthuisiastic, users, supporters and providers (who also mostly need need help overblame). Yes,'name and shame' is a dreadfully harsh British concept, and lies at the very extreme end of the process that I was trying to convey... but without some negative feelings attached will there be any reason for most folk to change what they say or write.

In the centre that you mention: yes, by volunteering to work there a conductor surrenders the right to criticise (and of course I know that work is hard to come by). But those of us who do not work there, where does that leaves us? With even greater responsibility about voicing doubts about the supposed benefits of hyperbaric oxygen? Thanks to the wonder of Google etc. these become intelligibly attached to the search results for any centre that says things such as you referr to.

(Always bearing in mind that there are legal remedies for unjustifiably damging a company's aility to trade and that, perhapps particularly in the case of HBO, there may be a considerable financial investment at stake – i.e. you might be sued!)

'Putting about some stick': British expression meaning to act a little rough, to a few, especially to encourage more cautious behaviour in the many.

In the long run, of course, a positive outcome can probably only come though major public education. My concern is that CE is not pulling its weight in this, while there is massive miseducation going on all around us all the time in quite contrary directions.

Rony, again. Yesterday you kindly and altogether coincidentally sent me the URL of a web magazine that illustrate the collossal mountain of contrary, background popular education that CE has to surpass in conveying its view of humanity – and this is just one tiny-weeny cog in the whole:


Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 10:00:00 GMT  
Blogger Viktoria said...

(just me, Donnie’s busy :-D), I do realize you weren’t referring particularly to conductors, it’s just that this was in my mind after I read a ce center’s website. I am, of course, just as frustrated about the academic papers about ce, and I wince every time I read a positive and encouraging parent blog about how much their child improved thanks to conductive therapy’s repetitive exercises and other therapies. And there’s a lot more in the form of outside attackers. I also realize that a lot of good stuff has been written over the years, too, but people don’t seem to find them. People these days turn to Google as the first (and last) step to find about just about anything and I find the lot of good stuff is lost entirely in the ocean of nonsense. This has all been said before, I’m just trying to look for reasons and point out that we should put right what we’re saying ourselves first, fully aware that it won’t be that easy for—I think-- the reasons I described above in my previous comment.

I remember the times of the discussion forum (I was just graduating at the time of its heyday) and reading the catfights I was wondering what on earth I got myself into. I haven’t seen that for a while, that is why I got the impression that our communication is getting better. (I entirely missed where Rony mentioned the same?) I did get the feeling that I was “put right” and lectured in the comment section on your blog by fellow readers a couple of times before, so were a few others especially in comments of older posts, but it’s not comparable to what has been going on in the discussion forum where one could barely find any discussions.

In the world of the “great freedom”, like here in the USA, everyone is allowed to say anything and everyone is allowed to sue anyone for saying anything. I am aware of this and I also realize nobody can ever be protected from the crazies, although they may have a much more difficult time if I don’t mention names and specifics, as it is hardly libelous to say in general that hyperbaric oxygen doesn’t work for brain growth. I have been, however, into great surprises before.

I do understand the expression “putting around a bit of stick” and I couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying that there need to be some negative feelings attached if we’re expecting some change; what I am saying is that this approach is at best contradictory with the “always look at the sunny side” approach detailed here on your blog

Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 16:41:00 GMT  
Blogger Rony Schenker, OTR, PhD, Tsad Kadima, Israel said...

Public relationships should be TAUGHT as an integral part of CE corriculum!!! Few are the people who are born with this as a built-in capacity. One should learn to teach and teach to learn and therefore it should not be left untouched. PR should be a learned and practiced skill from day one of their studies

Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 16:50:00 GMT  
Blogger Rony Schenker, OTR, PhD, Tsad Kadima, Israel said...

Public relationships should be TAUGHT!! Few are the people who are born with this capacity. One should learn to teach and teach to learn. This should not be left untouched. This should be an integrated part of learning to become a conductor. It should be a learned and practiced skill from day one of their studies

Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 16:55:00 GMT  
Blogger Viktoria said...

I agree with Rony.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 17:09:00 GMT  

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