|Blackbird singing from the top of a chapel by Susie Mallett, June 2014|
reminded this morning when I read one of Andrew Sutton’s recent blog postings –
Drip, drip, drip –
I had written something myself on the way to work a couple of weeks ago, when
because of toothache I swapped bike for public transport for a few days, and
then I had promptly forgotten about it.
was an article in Time Magazine (June 21) Don’t
Blame Fat and in the July 21st edition came the responding
letters on the Conversation page. I
mention here just one of those letters, from A.van Langenberg in Hong Kong, that
caught my attention –
describes new studies that debunk similar ones done decades ago. Then as now,
these studies were so-called evidence-based which is the benchmark for any study
to be hailed as truthful. A fat lot of good it has done us. Do not be surprised
if, 30 years from now, further research will overturn the present conclusions.
The overworked “evidence-based” epithet often gives the lie to the truth.
Unfortunately modern man has abandoned common sense and needs to be instructed
on every aspect of how to live life – how to move, breathe, sleep and in this
case, how to eat.’
Reading this I was reminded of something that
happens a while ago and has perhaps started a trend, although we are still crossing
I am pleased to say that a while back officers
from one of the finance providers for Conductive Education clients decided to
stop saying that Conductive Education is not evidence-based, it is not on our
list of services to be provided, but instead came to look for themselves.
After being with us for a couple of hours
common sense allowed them to change
their minds, to say that now they understood why the school children benefitted
from their few hours a week in this group in such a way that would assist their
integration in mainstream education or attendance at any school. They could
find a way to use the evidence base that they had collected to fit us into
their list that can be financed.
Unfortunately each conductive-case is
considered independently of the others and not all statementing officers leave
the desk and the list behind in the office to come to see for themselves what
common sense might tell them. However, for those that do the evidence they see
is relevant to the here and now and to the specific child and schools about
which the discussion is being made.
The practice of Conductive Education depends
on creativity and good judgement. There is no single set way of doing ‘it’. By
the same token there is no set formula that will give you evidence of outcome and
the only why it can be properly judged is when people have the courage to leave
the office to use their common sense and good human judgement.
We are grateful that some of our statementing
officers decide not to just be told that there is no evidence to suggest that a
conductive group would be beneficial for individual school children, they come
out to decide for themselves that it would be and should therefore be financed.
We see evidence that through their courage
others are also leaving their offices, their list and evidence-based research (or
indeed lack of it), will not be ‘instructed on every aspect of life’ and dare to do some ‘research’ of their own.
A Conductive Education evidence base
collected in this way, like our first statementing officer did, is not going to
be debunked in 5 or 10 year’s time.
As we continue to develop our centres and as
the trend now is as more and more officers decide to visit us, we hope that the
evidence they see with their own eyes will continue to convince them.
at the beginning of our work with Conductive Education and inclusion, our
experience will grow and we will be able to expand our services in the future
so that instead of past evidence being debunked when we are visited a wealth of
new evidence will be accumulated and can be presented.
That is what I wrote on the bus that day. I
am not sure why sometimes something totally unrelated, like this article about research
on fattening food, strikes a chord with me and my conductive lifestyle, but I
am glad it does and that it inspires me to post something on my blog again.
Now if the rain holds off I am going out to
listen, for free, to Billy Bragg performing in the Main Market Square, just a
five minute walk away.
Time Magazine 21 July 2014, Conversation
letter from Arthur van Langenberg, Hong Kong.
Andrew Sutton –
Thank you Susie for this telling vignette. And congratulations for creating the conditions for bringing it about.
To me this raises the old, old question of idiographic and nomothetic knowledge, and the different but often related matther of the relationship between formal knowledge ('academic' or 'scientific' according to preference!) and real-life decision-making. . Neither question appears to have been been addressed explicitly in the world of 'CE research' which, if should ever see its needed renaissance should surely take these up amongst fundamental considerations.
As you indicate, a degree of courage is needed for decision-makers to take the ideographic line and explicitly bridge gaps in formal knowledge their through their own informed judgement.
(by the way, I do not know the situation in Germany but in the UK it has certainly been the case that if special educational needs Tribunals even try to adjudicate on the basis of 'evidence' that is grounds in itself to go to Appeal, since that is not judged to lie within their realm of competence.\0
The realistic prospect of ever establishing meaningful nomothetic evidence is remote enough in the context of conductive pedagogy/upbringing, because of the very nature of the processes of human development, the universe if human situations falling within the category 'motor disorder' and the essentially non-prescriptive nature of the conductive process. It becomes simply laughable even to try when one throws in, as you have here, the notion of inclusion (inevitably both as process and outcome), with all its fluid shifting values, personal, moral and political!
Do keep on pointing out the state of the Emperor's apparel.
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