Thursday, 3 February 2011

Write out one-hundred times

Brain ≠ mind

March of Dimes has done some remarkable things to advance the cause of Conductive Education, but it does sometimes say some strange things along the way. These might be construed as conveying all sorts of immediate and local advantages, but they may also do collateral damage to the cause of Conductive Education – so ultimately, presumably, to MOD's cause too.

A hum-dinger

Participants... skills and techniques... strategies... planning, problem solving and motivation... maximize mobility... increase independence...

A bit mechanistic, but harmless enough as far as it goes, though I does conclude with –

...the capacity to form new neural connections.

Eek!

That, however, is as far as it does go. Where is the human element, the joy, the emotion.  And where is the family? What message is being conveyed here?

And here's the clincher –

Most approaches for people with neurological motor disorders work on the body and muscles to change the brain; Conductive Education works on the brain to change the body.

Great sloganising. but is it true? How on Earth does CE 'work on the brain?' Nobel prizes all round if you can demonstrate that one. And what about the first half of the sentence, is that any less surprising?

Ouch, in both respects.

Do you mind?

Brain does not equal mind. Is there anyone who really believes that it does? Is there any serious scientific, scholarly, academic, philosophical position that asserts otherwise.

What is so hard about expressing social and psychological phenomena in appropriate terms? Why 'form new neural connections' when you can simply learn?

Learning is intelligible. People can warm to it. It surely wins more friends that enemies. And there is relevant science.

Occam's razor is such a useful tool.

So, sorry, no Nobels being recommended here. But maybe one should be looking out for possible Ig Nobels.

Reference

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5 Comments:

Blogger Anne said...

I think OMAD is repeating that CE changes the brain. That makes me think that they a) think it's true, b) think it's the best advertising c)think it helps people to understand Ce.
Whatever it is OMAD are not the only ones who do it. So maybe we should start talking in CE about why some people think they change brains rather then people or on the contrary why people disagree with that. Let's talk. That's the only way we will establish common grounds and move Ce forward.

I'm personally in the contrary group. I think it has to do with being lucky to have you Andrew as my teacher. That is what I understand and what I have been telling people who asked if I help making new connections in the brain. That I do know about brain plasticity and the ability of the brain to make new neural connections. That I know that learningnew skills is possible despite age and disability. That I have taught many children and adults with movement disorders new skills but that I don't exactly know what I have done to their brains And I would argue that no one does.
Am I wrong?

Thursday, 3 February 2011 at 21:45:00 GMT  
Blogger Andrew Sutton said...

Thank you Anne,

As you know, I think that one can put the question rather differently. One may or may not know what happens in brains, one day, but even if one does, how does that help parents and pedagogues know what actually to do next? Or put it psychologically, how does such knowledge contribute to understanding creation of extra-cerebral (most especially, intercerebral) connections?

Yesterday Beate Hoess-Zenker recorded on my Facebook page that she liked my critical stance towards MOD's slogan:

'Most approaches for people with neurological motor disorders work on the body and muscles to change the brain; Conductive Education works on the brain to change the body.'

Beate is from Pfennigparade in Munich, one of the sponsoring organisations for the next World CE Congress, in Munich in 2013, if there is one. I responded to her that defining and describing CE is an important theme for open discussion at that Congress. But, I add here, if such a discussion is to rise above empty charade, then there is need for considerable 'talk' in the two or three years leading up to it if there is to be any chance of real communication on the day.

If there is no such talk, then the only thing left to discuss might be who switches out the light on the dreams of what Conductive Education might have been.

Andrew.

Friday, 4 February 2011 at 08:08:00 GMT  
Blogger Anne said...

I fear you might be right. But as we German's like to say: Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt (Hope is the last thing to die). So I am hopeful that we will talk. I am glad Viktoria posted her opinion. Sadly, so far nothing public about people who like to promote CE as a tool to fix the brain, at least as I know.

I have known people being involved in CE to be very opinionated unfortunately it usually does not develop into something productive. I mean more then being office gossip. But I am staying hopeful.

Monday, 7 February 2011 at 00:31:00 GMT  
Blogger Viktoria said...

Thank you, Anne. Yes, here's my take on this topic:
http://conductiveupbringing.blogspot.com/2011/02/conductive-education-brain-and-dr-house.html

We have the same saying in Hungarian "Remeny hal meg utoljara" :-)

Monday, 7 February 2011 at 04:25:00 GMT  
Blogger Andrew Sutton said...

I agree with you too, Anne. Let us have a proper intelligent DEBATE within CE, with argued positions from what is to me 'the other side'.

And by the way, my next take on this one is at:

http://www.conductive-world.info/2011/02/neuro-pseudoscience.html

There wil be no 'conductive stance' as this urges, unless there is proper debate, on this and other importnt outstanding issues under the CE carpet.

Monday, 7 February 2011 at 11:36:00 GMT  

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