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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Common sense? or is it????

On my first day of my conductive training at NICE, Andrew Sutton said to us something like that: “The most important thing you are going to learn is common sense.”
I was wondering, if it is so common, why would we have to learn it?? But did not question it further.

Since that day the question of what is common-sense and what is not has come up a lot. And I am sometimes surprised what apparently is not and even more what is.

My Oxford dictionary defines common-sense as: “good sense and sound judgment in practical matters”. So, in other words you do something because it makes sense. This requires that it has been thought through and with your current knowledge it’s the best you came up with. I remember that we decided within our group of students as long as you have a good reason why you do a certain activity, it couldn’t be wrong. However, you have to be able to let go of your initial idea and modify or change it if it does not bring the anticipated results. And yes, I do have to change from my initial idea quite often and I do not always have the right answer straight away and that is okay, as long as you recognize as this needing improvements.

Sometimes observing how other (semi)- professionals work with children with movement disorders leaves me puzzled on what exactly their thought process was.
E.g. last week I observed that a teacher assistant helped a child with a motor disorder to complete a school assignment. The assignment was to create a poster introducing the child and illustrate its interest.

When I got there, the assistant was putting glue on the paper (which judging by the straight line she cut out by herself) with the child sitting next to her. In an attempt to make the child have an active role she stacked the piece of paper on the child’s finger and ask the child where she should stick it. The child at this point staring at the ceiling and obviously having no interest whatsoever in the current activity. The assistant realizing this just took the kids hand and made the hand stick the piece of paper somewhere on the paper, without any verbal acknowledgment of the passive role of the child.

This made me wonder what she thought she assisted to teach?
I was at the school incognito, which means I was not there as a professional, but believe me I would have loved to be. I wanted to teach the assistant ways how she could have given the child more of an active role, how she has to expect the child to answer if she asked the child a question, how holding a glue stick would have been more feasible and active than sticking a piece of paper on the kids finger, how a great looking poster means nothing unless the child made it, etc. I wanted to teach how to teach the child, so that the work she does makes sense.

Unfortunately I couldn’t, but hopefully will be able to one day.

And, yes what I discovered after my first day at NICE and rediscover daily is that you are not born with common-sense. It rather is something that needs to be built or learned from experience so it makes sense to do.


  1. Sooooooooooo true! I often wonder why so uncommon common sense actually is!? I think on top of what you say (built up and learnt from experience) it is ought to be plain old SENSITIVITY and creativity. I too have seen mind puzzlingly shocking carry on in educational settings ...

  2. Thanks Hajni for your comment. I just discovered it. I like your add-on of sensitivity and creativity. So simply things can be so hard!!