From the Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus, 1996
1a. the systematic investigation into and study of materials, sources, etc., in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
b. an endeavour to discover new or collate old facts, etc., by the scientific study of a subject or by a course of critical investigation.
Research and development – work directed toward the innovation, introduction, and improvement of products and processes.
It must be about a year now since I used a friend’s most-probably-jinxed computer to access my emails. Before that occasion I was not really aware of the purpose of the Spam inbox. Now it is nearly always inundated. There are usually a dozenaday to delete. I always check to see whether a new contact has been thrown in there by mistake before I press the gone-forever button. It is part of my daily routine!
I was going through this process yesterday when accidentally I clicked on one mail that was not addressed to me personally and was from an address that I did not recognise. That is usually a sure bet for being thrown away immediately, without even a glance. This one had slipped through the net, I wonder why.
As it was open I read it and I was left wondering whether it really was junk mail. Or was it a joke or a genuine article? I am still none the wiser. I have not discovered whether anyone else I know in the conductive world has received the same mail so I am still tending towards believing that yes, it is spam, or maybe even another potential virus in my computer.
Here is the mail in question:
my name is …….. and I am a Masters’ student at ……. University of………, UK.
Working on a school project I am doing research on conductive education and my focus is CE furniture;
your help would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in helping me, please let me know.
A joke, or what?
In my immediate spontaneous email that I sent to some people I know, asking whether they too had received it, I wrote: ”Is this a joke? Doing a Master’s on CE furniture, whatever is the world coming too!”
As yet no one has responded positively that they have also received this mail.
The mail is supposedly from a master’s student at a British university asking for my assistance. It seemed to me such an odd way for an educated person to approach someone for help that I still thought this must be spam.
There was No “Dear Miss Mallett”, or “Dear Susie Mallett”, or introductions of any kind, just a “Hello”. The correspondent did write a name at the end and I presume that it was a name in the email address.
Over the years I have received many requests from university students asking for help with papers that they are writing, and for information about conductive education,. Mostly they come from Germany but also from abroad. The students always introduce themselves, then they tell me that they have either been given my name by their tutors, or discovered it on the Internet or through a centre that provides conductive education. They have always made sure that ther email has a title, to ensure that it does not get thrown out with the spam. It appears to be important to them that they get through to me. In this case I do not get this feeling.
I am more than willing to help these students if I can and much information has been exchanged over the years during telephone calls and email correspondence.
If this mail from yesterday is not genuine and not spam, then could it be a joke? Perhaps someone has read about what I think about the “Petö Furniture Principle” and is pulling my leg? There are quite a few examples on my blog of what I think about furniture of different kinds:
Pull the other one
Reconsidering this idea I do not believe that there is anybody who I know who would play this joke without giving me a clue to their identity, so I could have a laugh with them over it.
No, I have dismissed my idea that it is a joke and at the moment I am still tending towards its being spam.
But wait a minute, I ask myself: “What if this is true? What if someone genuinely wants my help in doing some research in CE furniture?”. There is also a niggle in the back of my mind that I have read somewhere else about someone’s doing research into CE furniture.
What if this really is what is happening to CE in UK and perhaps elsewhere in the world? What if this is what “research in CE” really is investigating, the wooden furniture. Is this what is going on in the places where the academics are, those people who could be doing the research that some conductivists are crying out for?
Perhaps I had better hold on for a bit longer to the idea that this could be for real. Not a joke, not spam, not something for the junk-mail bin but something that is actually potentially more dangerous than the viruses that my spam in-box tries its hardest to protect my machine against.
Surely someone doing any kind of research into any aspect of CE will have got to grips with the subject first. My first question is: How can anyone who knows anything about CE go on to research an aspect that is actually a myth? There is no “CE furniture”, you use what you have available to live a conductive life, you can use what you have available to give a conductive education.
Furniture in itself can be neither “conductive” nor “educational”, it is just bits and pieces used for a purpose within a conductive lifestyle. It is the lifestyle that is conductive and educational, not the inanimate objects!
Bringing together and making shift
Andrew Sutton recently defined the word conducere on his blog, plumping for this definition “to bring together, collect, assemble, to unite, join, to connect, to cause to contract or close up”. I can not see how any of this can relate to a piece of furniture and make it conductive or educational!
In my room today I had two ladders, some steps, some metal walking bars, some non-slip foot-prints that my stroke group made, some four-point sticks, some mini-traffic-cones, a set of skittles, a globe, a carpet, two long and very heavy benches (great for doing lots with, including sliding down), an assortment of stools in all shapes and sizes, (the most practical being the Heidelberg ones, as they have non-slip feet and come in many sizes). I have to admit there were also three adult-size plinths incorporated into this make-shift adventure playground.
This is not “CE furniture”, it is what I had available, that I thought would be useful in achieving what we wanted to learn.
It is all the kind of stuff that you will find in any kindergarten or infant school. What I do with it is “conductive” but I can do what I want with something else too if I wish.
The only extra furniture that I really needed today, in the 32-degree midday sun, was a swimming pool. If the weather stays as warm next week one of the parents, who lives opposite the centre has offered us the use of one!
So what to do with a suspicious email?
If that email is genuine then I sincerely hope that I have not offended anyone with this posting. If it is genuine I am as always willing to assist on any project and pass on information.
I am still tending, however, towards its having landed originally in the correct box and is indeed spam.
I think this is because I just do not want to believe that this is what is going on in the academic/research-world of conductive education.