Friday, 18 August 2017


Simon von Quadt (with Hansi and Peter)

Konduktive Förderung | Bild: BR
Simon von Quadt
It is not often nowadays that one can report a substantial overview of a comprehensive Conductive Education experience on a major television station. I do not know why this should be, CE around the world seems to have little taste or capability for public statements. It can hardly be because CE no longer needs the public enthusiasm and awareness, the financial and political benefits that television exposure can bring.

Over the years one of CE's major proponent and beneficiary of steady and informative media coverage has been Fortschritte Starnberg in Bavaria. Earlier this week a 28-minute TV documentary by Beatrice Sonter was shown on Bavarian Television, featuring Simon von Quadt, now a young adult, his mother Hansi and father Peter.

This short feature currently remains on line – I do not know whether this will be for a limited time or more permanently. The film is in German, A brief synopsis gives the gist –

Simon's birth doctors diagnosed a spastic paralysis and confronted his parents with the prognosis: 'Your child will never walk!' Hanni and Peter would not accept this. They put all the levers to hand to promote Simon as best they could.

By chance they encountered the so-called 'conductive method' developed by the Hungarian physician András Pető (1893-1967). Conductive Education is a intervention for people with spastic paralysis, training and bringing together a variety of various skills. The aim is to improve gross and fine motor skills, develop language and thinking, coping with everyday tasks, who carry out intensive and very strenuous training programme with the patients. They are in effect physiotherapists, language and occupational therapists in a single person.

Peter von Quadt went to the Pető Institute in Budapest in 1989 and was impressed by this therapy's apparent successes. At that time, however, it was available only in Hungary. The Quadts changed their lives completely. Hanni gave up her job as an educator and went with Simon for several weeks a year to Budapest for him to be treated there. After several stays in Budapest, Simon could actually stand and learn independently. The Quadts knew that they are privileged in their own ability to travel again and again to Hungary. They therefore wanted other children to benefit. Inspired by the success of their son, in 1994 Hanni and Peter von Quadt founded the association 'FortSchritt e.V.', which took as its task establishing the Petö method in Germany. Despite many bureaucratic hurdles, they have finally succeeded.

Today the now thirty-year-old Simon von Quadt leads a self-directed though restricted life. The author of the documentary has followed his development and the von Quadts' work several times with her camera since the 1990s, and this documentation amounts to an impressive long-term observation.

The conductive lives of young adults and their families with serious experiences of Conductive Education (pedagogy and upbringing) do indeed constitute impressive living witness to this approach – veritable testimonios – and television remains probably still the best medium to convert these into public and political effect.


Sonter, B (2017) 'More freedom with every step'... Holistic support with the Pető therapy, Bayerischer Rundfunk, 15 August

Sutton, A. (2015) CE research: CE Research? Do some yourself, Conductive World, 9 April


                  In Moscow

Looking for something else on line I have just stumbled across one of those mysterious 'lost' Russian conductors trained at the Pető Institute in the distant days of El'tsin – Elena Alexeevna Horvath.

She refers to herself as a 'conductologist' (konduktolog).


I have no time at the moment to look further into what she now does in Moscow, according to the extensive website of the centre called I CAN (slogan: 'I want, I can, I will!'). Perhaps I might get round to this another time.

Meanwhile here for the record is a way into this for enthusiasts to explore for themselves:

Thursday, 17 August 2017


A baton

Nine years ago conductor Wendy Baker and I published a little overview article entitled 'Parent-child interaction as focus for early intervention: experience from early-age Conductive Education '. This remains live on line, free and open access:

Around a year later Wendy competed a masterate, 'Developing interactions between parents and their young motor disabled children through Conductive Education':

I had rather wondered whether 'early-years conductive education' (upbringing and pedagogy) might hold the basis for a coherent academic literature around emerge. It hasn't. Perhaps Semmelweis...

Wendy Baker is now headteacher of a primary school in Staffordshire, in England.


Baker, W. (2009) Developing interactions between parents and their young motor disabled children through Conductive Education, MA (Childhood in Society), University of Warwick

Baker, W., Sutton, A. (2008) Parent-child interaction as focus for early intervention: experience from early-age Conductive Education, Interconnections Quarterly Journal, no 2, July, pp. 14-22

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


Now on line as separate offprint

This  study from Tsad Kadima, surveying conductors' perceptions and attitudes on working with parents was published on line at the end of July, as part of a complete issue of the International Journal of Special Education:

This paper is now published more conveniently in the form of a stand-alone offprint, on Tsad Kadima's own website:

Free and open access in both cases.


National recognition for important new scholarship

Each year the Russian Government awards prizes for education, to an annual value of ten million Roubles. Last week Prime Minister Dmitrii Medvedev announced this year's winners. One of the four lauréats awarded this year goes to the Makarenko Pedagogy of Upbringing Research Laboratory at the Kozma Minin University in Nizhnii Novgorod:

This prize recognises a programme of work called 'A. S. Makarenko. the school of life, labour, upbringing: a text book on the history, theory and practice of upbringing', carried out from 2007 to 2017.

The prizewinners were Anatolii Arkadievich Frolov, Sergei Ivanovich Aksyonov and Elena Yur'evna Ilaltdinova.

In the view of UNESCO, A. S. Makarenko was one of the four pedagogues who determined the path of pedagogical thinking in the twentieth century. The others were John Dewey, Georg Kershensteiner and Maria Montessori.

The study

One of the project's main objectives has been to assemble a complete collection of A. S. Makarenko's works. This has not been done in the post-Soviet era. Over ten years of work, the researchers from Kozma Minin University have published this work in nine parts, with the materials in chronological order, presented with their their own commentary and additions, along with elaborated educational and methodological materials for use in the educational process.

This programme of study reflects long-term research work on generalisation and critical analysis of the results of the development, and the theoretical and practical use of A. S. Makarenko's heritage in the USSR, Russia, and other countries over the period from 1939 to the present day. A. S. Makarenko appears in this work as a reforming social educator, a classic of pedagogy – organically combining the qualities of practising pedagogue, thinker and writer, creative writer, publicist, and public figure.

Collected works, and more

This new edition of the works of A. S. Makarenko contains the author's pedagogical, artistic-pedagogical, literary and journalistic materials, and documents on his practical activities, personal letters, records, etc. The publication includes detailed academic commentaries, educational materials, a personal index of people involved in his activities, and illustrations. The publication claims to present every one of his works presently known to researchers, along with various author's materials, and documents on his activities.

Unlike previous editions, all the above texts are accompanied by academic commentaries that not only explain the main content of each item but also give analytical evaluations, link it with other documents, report the time and circumstances in which it was written, and indicate the meaning of specific terms.

A. S. Makarenko's legacy has huge academic and practical potential, and merits in-depth research and generalisation, in philosophical-ethical and social-pedagogical relations. It permits critical analysis of historical and pedagogical experience, to approach modern problems of upbringing and education in a new way.

The work's target audience is students, undergraduates, graduate students, academics, specialists in general pedagogy, the history of pedagogy and education, and the theory and practice of education – as well as those working in the field of culture, fiction, sociology, psychology, ethics and aesthetics, and academic methodology.

The above account has been extracted from the website of Kozma Menin Pedagogical University:


A heroic act of scholarship and devotion – not least as these three scholars must over these ten years have felt the strain and the responsibility of keeping alive a torch that very few cared should live or die. UNESCO rated A. S. Makarenko extraordinarily highly in the twentieth century. In the twentieth, however, politics and history may have made it seem that his light has been flickering out fast, not least in the lands of the former Soviet Union where most of his practical heritage has been largely lost in reformed school systems.

That these scholars' labour and its fruit are officially recognised in 2017 is no chance. President Putin and his government need a different kind of reform now, a different pedagogy and a different upbringing. This prestigious and prominent award recognises some extraordinary scholarship. It should send a strong signal to meet and greet the new school year, one that Kremlin-watchers around the world might also heed.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


Time marches on

Image result for franz schaffhauser

It is three years since Franz Schaffhauser first took the chop for not resolving the problems of the then Pető Institute. The dust has yet to settle, and three years may yet not yet be enough time for historical perspective and reassessment.

Three years do, however, seem quite a long time in human and institutional terms, long enough at least for the following:
  • Franz reappointed
  • inauguration of the new chancellor system of governance, with appointment of a Chancellor and his department to run the administration
  • re-creation as a college
  • Franz replaced again, by a new Rector
  • the whole organisation (its administration and its professional management, and all that it does and owns) incorporated into Semmelweis Medical University as a faculty.
Franz and the system that he headed could not deliver everything that was required by those who felt themselves to have stakes in the operation. The range and incompatibility of these constituencies, who knew?

Now, the arrangements that followed have themselves failed to meet the expectations of those who felt themselves to have stakes in the operation, so here we are three years later with a re-wiped slate, To meet what range and compatibility of requirements? Whatever the perceived problems, a new system of governance will be tried, along with wholly unfamiliar academic requirements.

Critical for the outcome of the next phase may not be a matter simply of the structures and people who emerge to run this new show. It may also prove a factor of the expectations and demands that will be made of the new, dependent institution. Who knows what these might be...

In the meantime, ready or not, not just Franz's contribution will be viewed in a different perspective, increasingly the rest of the story, before, after and since, will look different too.

Thursday, 10 August 2017


No charge

Ida (the Rehabilitologist) Igra has an event on line on Saturday. She writes a jolly reminder (my rough translation) –

Dear parents of special children, professionals who work with them, and everyone who visits my page!

By tradition, next Saturday, 12 August, at 21.00, in Moscow, Kiev and Jerusalem, I invite you to take part in an online meeting.

This week are talking on the topic: THE SPECIAL CHILD'S INDEPENDENCE: FOOD. We shall consider how to teach child independent in eating from the viewpoint of specific motor skills, sensory development, developing communication and much more. Be ready with your questions, and invite your friends to take part in the live broadcast, and take part yourself.

See you on Saturday!

I am not clear about the format (Skype, webinar, whatever). To know more, contact Ida via Facebook:

The time zone that Ida is working to is GMT+3

The event is advertised for Russian-speakers, but Ida is very versatile.

A bold initiative in a potentially important are aof development.

Previous about Ida

Monday, 7 August 2017


Two not entirely unrelated programmes!

Taranaki Parkinson's chairwoman Ngaire Riley gloves up.

From New Zealand's South Island, news of the opening of yet another Counterpunch training programme, a further brick in the wall towards building a national network of boxing for Parkinson's in God's Own.

The newspaper writes –

Taranaki Parkinson's chairwoman Ngaire Riley said the non contact boxing skills sessions were another option for sufferers to improve co-ordination, balance and rhythm. 'I was resistant at first because I thought boxing was the last thing we wanted to do but the training is non-contact and only uses the training skills of boxing. It's challenging and it's fun and we hope it can meet the needs for many people who live with Parkinson's in Taranaki'.
NZ's Counterpunch began in Auckland, in the North Island, and is spreading. It was founded and is run by conductor Lisa Gombinski and her associates:
Altogether coincidentally, Taranaki is also to about to see opening of a conductive service for children:

Saturday, 5 August 2017


Not Martin Luther's...
A.R. Luriya's

Image result for "martin luther" playmobil

I am afraid that Playmobile does not make an Aleksandr Romanovich. The paradigm change that he represented in his field , however, was just as radical as Martin Luther's in his – but no general Reformation has followed, one reason that conductive pedagogy still stands so alone and is so little understood.

This is the third time around for this Credo on Conductive World. See these six simple principles, and why I like to rerun them:

Most recent mention here of A. R. Luriya

Friday, 4 August 2017


New coat of arms
Új címer

(I believe that Róbert Mascher had a hand in this)

URL is unchanged:

Chancellor's department pages gone

English pages seem unchanged: