Thursday, 8 September 2016


Something surely

Funny things PhD theses (masterates too, come to that). I do know what they amount to in what we used to call 'real subjects' but in the good works, well, they often look like they were written in some La-La land where the view of Planet Earth and the lives of its inhabitants lie hidden behind a forest of strange narratives that above all relate to each other within the narrow preoccupations of Planet Academe.

Presumably there is some stunningly good academic research going on in relevant fields but the mentions of Conductive Education that pop up from time in material submitted for post-graduate degrees can be enough to make one weep. I do not blame the poor students, but 'the system' as applied through supervisors who may have themselves be product of just such an education, trapped in the same cycle of academic deprivation!

'Submitted'? Not just submitted but passed. I know this because nowadays their proud universities publish these studies on line, for all to read.

I was prompted to sound off on this by the following brief passage, which occurs in a PhD thesis on a topic related to cerebral palsy, under the sub-heading of 'Physiotherapy management' –
5.8.2. 2 Conductive Education
Conductive education (CE) is a system of education which encompasses motor development and aims to engage children in active learning (Hari and Tilleman 1984). The concepts underpinning this approach are based on the principles of good pedagogy that are unique to CE (Mayston 2012). The theory underlying CE is that there is value in working with children in groups. The facilitation of children‘s activities by inviting them to say what they are doing and do what they are saying promotes learning (Bourke-taylor et al. 2007). However, there is no evidence underpinning this philosophy nor that CE produces superior outcomes to other approaches (Darrah et al. 2004; Odman and Oberg 2005; Tuersley‐Dixon and Frederickson 2010). (p. 87)'s_thesis%20%2020%20oct%20%202014.pdf

Er... that's it. Conductive Education is not mentioned otherwise in this thesis, before or after this passage. After all, it is hardly relevant to the topic being studied. So why mention it at all? And as it is mentioned, what does this little passage actually say, not least about the standard of the supervision and all the expensive panoply of 'quality control' that the student has been paying for, through the nose?

Perhaps I should not write such things. Or perhaps many more people should.



Blogger NormanP said...

I see that Conductive Education is first introduced in a list in Table 5.3 on page 86 with the comment: "some of the most common physiotherapy and physiotherapy-related approaches to the management of CP"
- Bobath/Neurodevelopmental Therapy (NDT)
- Conductive Education
-  Constrained Induced movement therapy
- Sensory Integration
-  Adeli Suit
-  Biofeedback
- Electrical Stimulation
- Strength training
- Movement Opportunities Via Education (MOVE)
- Patterning (doman-delacato)
- Strength Training
- Vojta
- Treadmill Training
- Hippotherapy
- Aquatherapy
- Virtual Reality
- Alternative Therapies (e.g. hyperbaric oxygen therapy, acupuncture, and
osteocraniosacral therapy)


Thursday, 8 September 2016 at 20:59:00 BST  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Oh, I believe it all right, having seen CE shunted into more than enough such lists over the years. And I would not be surprised if Joe Public and the payed help do not largely consider this a reasonable categorisation.

Friday, 9 September 2016 at 00:01:00 BST  

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