Saturday, 13 February 2016


Resting, or at its rest?

One of last year's little surprises was the unexpected appearance of 'Petö Global Connect', and the András Pető College's Global Brand Ambassador, Stefanie Koehler:

Its extensive website soon went very quiet, however, and this week the last page of its web presence has been wholly blocked, all its pages now bearing just the message –

Geschütses Blog ist vom Eigentümer als privat eingestellt. Wenn du eingeladen wurdest, dir diese Seite anzusehen...

In English, this would read something like 

Secured blog has been set by the owner as private. If you have been invited to see this page please log in...

The website may be in process of being updated. Or perhaps the organisation Pető Global Connect no longer exists. If the website does not reappear, then it may still be remembered for its glimpse into South German high society – and its extraordinary and enigmatic headline graphic, a small image of which does (for the moment anyway) survive on line:  

(By the way, is this image a pastiche? What does it signify? Can anybody advise?)

Wednesday, 10 February 2016


Well, open-ish, anyway

Government Records Branch
File Release List – Phase 3

Conductive Education 1989-1990
Departmental consideration and investigation into the merits of opening of a conductive education school pioneered by the Peto Institute, Hungary for children with motor impairments.
Open from: 01/01/2021

Conductive Education Centre 1989-1990
Site search for a Scottish centre for children with motor impairments, including a copy of departmental investment appraisal of the centre.
Open from: 01/01/2021

The Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments 1989-1991
Papers relating to the establishment of the Craighalbert Centre Cumbernauld, including funding arrangements and the siting of the centre; Reports and papers on visits to the Peto Institute, Hungary and other establishments using conductive education and the lack of effective provision in Scotland; Consideration of concerns about practice at the centre in its early days of operation from inspectorate evaluations and reports.
Open from: 01/01/2022

The Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments 1989-1990
Reports and papers on visits to the Peto Institute, Hungary and other establishments using conductive education and the lack of effective provision in Scotland; Press cuttings on individual cases and the use of the Peto Institute by Scottish and British citizens; Consideration of a draft specification for the establishment of a Scottish centre.
Open from: 01/01/2021

The Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments 1991
Meeting of centre staff with Shetland Islands Council and papers concerning staff and centre development, including the Development Plan 1992-1996; Published reports: 'Evaluation of Conductive Education fro Children with Cerebral Palsy: Final Report I & II' conducted by the University of Birmingham on behalf of the Department for Education; 'Supporting Pupils with Physical Disorders: A Manual for Schools and Educational Development Services' conducted by Gilbert F Mackay for the SOED; Staff Development Modules for the Craighalbert Centre. 
Open from: 01/01/2022

Tuesday, 9 February 2016


A rather neglected perspective

One way in which to view and analyse the situation of Conductive Education is as an alternative education. As such of course it is but one of many but according to its nature and the circumstances in different societies then a variety of different congruities can be seen with those of different educational alternatives – and perhaps insights gained or even concrete lessons learned.

One such possible comparison is with home education. The following passage comes from a recently published article by Harriett Pattison.. It it very easy to take out the term 'home education; and insert the words 'Conductive Education' in its place –
Home education offers a variety of seemingly paradoxical meanings... It is legal, yet the site of much official unrest; a point of political resistance and a point of personal defense; heavily frowned on and idealistically championed. It is described both as a safe haven for children and families and as a form of abuse. It physically disrupts the social rules of time and space and conceptually disturbs the social binaries if home and school. It is an othered and othering space of society. Even the label 'home education' or perhaps more explicitly 'home school', challenges the organising categories of home and school, the functions of each and the relationship expected to exist between them... (p.634) 

If one makes this simple substitution then her article itself becomes intriguingly relevant. Here is its formal summary –
This article explores the coexistence of, and relationship between, alternative education in the form of home education and mainstream schooling. Home education is conceptually subordinate to education, relying on schooling for its status as alternative, but also being tied to schooling through he dominant discourse that forms our understandings of education.
Practitioners and other defenders frequently justify home education by running an explicit or implicit comparison with school; a comparison which expresses the desire to do 'better' than school whilst simultaneously encompassing the desire to do things 'differently'. These twin aims, however, are not easy to reconcile, meaning that the challenge to schooling and the submission to norms and beliefs that underlie schooling are frequently inseparable.
This article explores the trajectories of 'better than' and 'different from' school as representing ideas of utopia and heterotopia respectively. In particular I consider Foucault's notion of the heterotopia as a means of approaching the relationship between school and other forms of education.

Whilst it will be argued that according to Derrida's ideas of discursive deconstruction, alternative education has to be expressed through (and is therefore limited by) the dominant educational discourse, it will also be suggested that by employing the idea of the heterotopia is a strategy which can help us explore the alternative in education. (p. 619)


Pattison H. (2015). How to desire differently: home education as a heterotopia, Journal of Philosophy of Education, vol. 49, no 4, pp. 619-636 

Monday, 8 February 2016


Major event

It is less than a month now till ACENA's annual conference, to be held this year at ADU (the Adventist University of Health Sciences) in Orlando, Florida.

The conference programme has been published on line, three pretty solid days' proceedings comprising 25 hefty presentation sessions, some of them very hefty, plus other presentations and activities:

There is also an exhibition of products and services.

Conductive Education across the Lifespan

ACENA Annual Conference
Adventist University of Health Sciences
Orlando, Fl.

2-4 March 2016

Sunday, 7 February 2016


Kung Hei Fat Choy
Happy New Year of the Monkey

The monkey is intelligent, hyperactive and strong-minded. He represents the unfettered mind freed from inhibitions and guilt. Relieving himself from the heavy burdens of a touchy conscience, the monkey type will not hesitate to test his theories, experiment and think the unthinkable. In his domain, everything is possible. What is difficult, he could do right away; what is impossible may take a little longer.

On the other hand... the problem solving tendencies can turn the Monkey to being a tricky tactician, opportunistic and not all that trustworthy. The youthfulness hides an unscrupulous adolescent, and the independence can turn to unfaithfulness.

So there you go, you'd better believe it...

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


Ralph Strzałkowsky's problematisation
Is this what charity is about?
...For me a nonprofit's role is a platform to talk about interesting things in interesting ways. To introduce you to the causes that I care about... I'm tempted to say that I care about making you think more than I care about that cheque. We do need that cheque... but I'd rather it go with a message of how we can do something amazing together.
I started a nonprofit to focus on the positive... I want to build on excitement – on how the world could be, even if we have long way to go. I want to focus on change, on empowerment, on inclusion, on empathy… I'd like to see more nonprofits talking about how they want to change the world rather than describing it the way it is today. I'd like for all of us to work towards a grand vision that can inspire us all.
Sounds reasonable to me. As far as it goes, I'll drink to this as a part-ideal

Exerpted from:

Strzałkowski, R. (2016) Is this what charity is about? Wheelchaired for a day, 2 February

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Christchurch, New Zealand

Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch  
On David's achievements:
On being approached in 1996 to set up a Conductive Education facility at Addington School, he embarked upon a course that would become a passion. Over the ensuing years he became ever more deeply involved in the provision of holistic education for children with motor disabilities, a curriculum that involves the specialised teaching of skills that most people take for granted.

He served as a member of the NZ Foundation for Conductive Education, later becoming Chairperson. As such he was instrumental in promoting the practice of Conductive Education throughout New Zealand, raising official and sponsorship awareness not only of Conductive Education but of all special needs teaching.

On retiring as Principal of Addington School in 2005 he worked for the Foundation, becoming National Co-ordinator.

A lifelong rugby union enthusiast he has for nearly three and a half decades been associated in a number of capacities with the Canterbury Rugby Union; Committee Member, Deputy Chairman, Chairman, Selector, Manager, Archivist.

His involvements and achievements in and on behalf of so many fields, be it education, or rugby union, or primary school sports, are too many to enumerate. Dedicated, conscientious, selfless, he has established a benchmark for service to his community that is extremely hard to surpass.

TV news report of presentation


Tech students develop softwear for children

This morning's issue of the Hungarian newspaper Magyar Idők reports that, in collaboration with PAF, web-design students at Budapest Technical University are developing touch-screen teaching materials for children to be marketed under the brand name of 'Pető'. Renewable copyright fees are envisaged:

Brief item on Duna TV

Interviews with conductors Szilvia Mátrai and Koronkai Zoltánné, along with Virág Balász, Manager of the Taneszköz Webshop, and PAF Chancellor Máté Mihály speaks:

Further information?

Colour-recognition and spacial-orientation softwear are on sale now –
'According to the principles of Pető! Developed by experts from the András Pető College'

Nothing yet about this proposed worldwide initiative other than in Hungarian.

Sunday, 31 January 2016


The pedagogicisation of conductive upbringing

I do not think that Franz Schaffhauser ever met Mári Hári in life, though of course his own life and career were later considerably influenced by what she handed on from András Pető in the form of her own heritage – on which he has now left his mark.

Franz did meet Mária, however, in the world of ideas. A brief paragraph in Franz's recent paper on the 'educational-philosophical foundations of Conductive Education' offers his view of Mária's contribution to the history of conductive ideas, through the pedagogicisation of conductive practice and theory.

This pedagogicisation has not been dealt with explicitly in the published hagiographical works, though privately Károly Ákos was highly critical of her for her role in a process that was perhaps inevitable in the social and institutional context within which at that time the work was confined.

(I am less critical than was Károly of what Maria did in this respect. She was riding a very difficult tiger, through a dark and dangerous jungle. It is remarkable that she succeeded at all.)

Franz's paper has been published in both Hungarian and English. I have taken the liberty of slightly adjusting a few words of the English version here and there, to make the whole more accessible to English-readers.

So introduced, this then is Franz's take on the matter –
While maintaining, and indeed emphasising the holistic approach, the principle of completeness, Mári Hári aimed at the entirety of the personality by following the intentions of her master while further pedagogising Pető's fundamental ideas. The most important element of this pedagogisation is that, in the knowledge of the most significant results of contemporary personality psychology (Vygotskii, Leontiev, Luriya, Alport), Hári determined the aim and essence of the process of conductive upbringing, namely that it influences the whole personality. This personality-centredness became the underlying principle of the systematic theoretical examination of the Pető method and its consistent implementation while weaving it into the pedagogical influences of infancy, preschool and school age, in other words delivering it, referred to by herself and her followers as the system of conductive upbringing (Hári, 1997, pp. 115ff.)
(p. 93)

This is a short article on a big topic, of which this excerpted paragraph shares problems of the whole. These include that there is just not space to address questions that its content immediately raises, and might there have been reasons for this other than philosophical, For example, what actual changes that Mária introduced exemplify this process of further pedagogicisation? Was this process altogether unproblematical? More, over that period Mária would indeed have been likely to have access to such 'contemporary personality psychology' – can the specific themes that she drew upon be referenced or otherwise substantiated? How is it argued that personality-centredness is the underlying principle: are there possibly other contenders, related or not? 

No doubt others would have their own questions – but this is a short paper.

Franz certainly opens a rich vein – including the further question of whether, for social, ideological and perhaps other reasons, Conductive Education may presently be undergoing a process of depedagogicisation and, if so, what are the implications of this?

A couple of earlier mentions of this work

More anon


Konduktív nevelés has been translated above as 'conductive upbringing' rather than 'Conductive Education (see Conductive World, passim, for why).


Constantino, D. (ed.) (2014) Breakpoints and Bridges: punti di rottura e ponti di pedagogia umana, Trento, Erikson

  • A konduktív pedagógia nevelésfilozófiai alapjairól, pp. 81–87
  • On the educational-philosophical foundations of Conductive Education, pp. 89–94

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


To enable CE schools

In Luxembourg

Petition to the Chamber of Deputies

This petition has been proposed by Maggy Wagner, President of Schrëtt fir SchrëttHere are some salient points, from the French text:
The current law in Luxembourg excludes disabled children from the right to a private education... 
This is not consistent with the fundamental rights of disabled people to be treated like any other on the basis of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 2011. This law is discriminatory since it separates disabled children and those with special needs.
Hereby, we ask you to amend the 2003 law referred to here to ensure all disabled children and those with special needs, free choice of education system according to their specific needs: ensuring the right to a private school and the right to choice in their education like all other children in compulsory education. [Schrëtt fir Schrëtt, the Luxembourg CE association] recommends the conduction system established for years in many countries by the eminent Hungarian physician Andras Petö…
This is an very specific and efficient educational and rehabilitative system, which aims to maximize learning and skills in relation to the potential of each and seeks autonomy and self-determination of the people concerned with the aim of maximum integration and an acceptable quality of life. Many centers and conductive schools operate abroad, as in Germany, on private basis (eg. inclusion schools)...
[Schrëtt fir Schrëtt] recommends the conductive system established for years in many countries, by the eminent Hungarian physician Andras Petö...
For our children with severe and multiple disabilities, inclusion in a basic school class is unrealistic: they need a different learning pace, other stimuli, a completely different management plan, encompassing the school side but also the rehabilitative side with social care and support for their everyday acts.
[The state's cerebral palsy institute] offers a diametrically opposite concept to the conduction system, which is not an option for parents concerned...
We believe it is time to ensure the families concerned the right to choose the proper education of their children with special needs, with the concept, the system, the educational and rehabilitative purpose that these children are supported. Their whole life depends on it. Please help us by amending the law referred here to allow the creation of private schools in the ediff sector.

Read it in full, in English

This French edition reponds well to Google Translate. Read the machine translation into English at:

What's this all about?

Schrëtt fir Schrëtt is the parents' association for advancing Conductive Education in Luxembourg. See more:

As is often the case nowadays, the linguistic side is the easiest aspect of a translation. The hard bits are the social, cultural, political, historical contexts essential for understanding what the words mean.

Something important is going on. Parents are standing up on their national stage. For conduction pedagogy, as education.

Could somebody explain more – pour encourager les autres?

News update (in English)