Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Not a lot of people may know that

Tucked away in the András Pető College''s website is a link to volume 1, issue 1 of its new six-monthly house publication that began in July.

I do not think that its arrival was publicised. I found out about it yesterday by lucky chance. I pass the information on here for those who might need to know or are just interested but have not been so lucky.

The publication is wholly in Hungarian. In English its title could be 'Science and Profession: the professional journal of the András Pető College' (thought I repeat the usual serious warning about use of the word 'science' in such an English translation)

This is not an academic journal as such but its varied content kicks off with an article by Renáta Földesi offering a renewed account of András Pető (pp. 6-14). This and some other other items are referenced. Issue no 1 runs to 72 pages in all, with tables and a colour picture. Go see for yourself:

The question now is whether this shows the start of a new mood of communication, or the contrary.

Contents of issue no 1

KÖSZÖNTŐ Molnár Krisztina: Tudomány és Hivatás – bemutatkozik a Pető András Főiskola szakmai folyóirata TUDOMÁNYOS KÖZLEMÉNYEK Földesi Renáta: Pető András és a konduktív nevelés gyökerei Molnár Krisztina: A gyermekkor mítosza és elvesztése Márai Sándor Zendülők című regényében Szoljár Fanni: A korai fejlesztésben résztvevő családok pszichológiai vizsgálata Török Blanka: A médiában megjelenő társadalmi nemi sztereotípiák hatása a mozgássérült, serdülőkorú gyermekekre a Pető Intézetben SZAKMAI MŰHELY Bácskai Erzsébet: A pszichológia sajátos szerepe a petős képzésben - múlt és jövő, hagyomány és innováció Pintér Henriett: Mit rejtenek az apróbb szövegek? Néhány példa a gondolkodás és az olvasóvá nevelés fejlesztésére Varga Veronika: A masszázs alkalmazása a konduktív pedagógiában INTERJÚ „Ez egy nagyon nagy elköteleződés” – interjú dr. Tenk Miklósné dr. Zsebe Andrea rektorral A konduktív pedagógia és a zenei nevelés – interjú dr. Matos László főiskolai docenssel KRITIKA Winkler Petra: Recenzió Kádár Annamária Mesepszichológia című könyvéről Dénes Dóra: Recenzió a Virágot Algernonnak című musicalről MŰVÉSZETI KÖZLEMÉNYEK Szász Anna: Egy idegen hídon Dénes Dóra fotói Winkler Petra fotója HÍREK, ESEMÉNYEK Vajdáné Kondor Csilla: Süt a PÉK Sághegyi Diána: Szavalódélután 4 KÖSZÖNTŐ Molnár Kriszti


Tudomány és Hivatás a Pető András Főiskola szakmai folyóirata
Vol 1, no 1 July 2016

Saturday, 24 September 2016


And to Hell in a handcart – isn't it?

'We're all doomed, I tell you'
There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility...
We’re creating a world of dummies. Angry dummies who feel they have the right, the authority and the need not only to comment on everything, but to make sure their voice is heard above the rest, and to drag down any opposing views through personal attacks, loud repetition and confrontation.

I did not think that I would ever pass on a pop article from Psychology Today. Still these are strange times – or perhaps I am dumbing down too. So here goes anyway.

Andy Blunden. referred me to this article by Ray Williams*. It is worth from time to time reading and considering expressions like this, if only to think about the latest examples cited.

True or false? Has it not been ever thus, from the year dot, everywhere? Whatever the reality, grumpy old men and women always think this anyway, don't they? There were probably those who said and evidenced this at the heights of Classical civilisation, during the Renaissance and in the Industrial Revolution.

At both the societal and individual level there are comparative material and historical facts to be determined here. But what are the relevant facts? Search me. I can't answer this, though I do think that I recognise something of what the author complains of and I do feel there to be potentially better ways.


But, if what is being complained of here is important, then the really important, testing question is as ever: What is to be done? And is change gathering anyway? As time and the wisdom of hindsight will surely tell?.

Then I am ever the optimist for what can come from resolving contradictions.

* Developed from an article by Susan Jacoby, published in the Washington Post eight years ago:

Friday, 23 September 2016


More research is always needed

Yesterday's recipient of the Peace Prize at this year's Ig Nobel ceremony at Harvard University concluded as follows 
Bullshit is a consequential aspect of the human condition. Indeed, with the rise of communication technology, people are likely encountering more bullshit in their everyday lives than ever before... Using vagueness or ambiguity to mask a lack of meaningfulness is surely common in political rhetoric, marketing, and even academia...Indeed, as intimated by Frankfurt (2005), bullshitting is something that we likely all engage in to some degree (p. 1): 'One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. One benefit of gaining a better understanding of how we reject other’s' bullshit is that it may teach us to be more cognizant of our own bullshit.

The construction of a reliable index of bullshit receptivity is an important first step toward gaining a better understanding of the underlying cognitive and social mechanisms that determine if and when bullshit is detected. Our bullshit receptivity scale was associated with a relatively wide range of important psychological factors. This is a valuable first step toward gaining a better understanding of the psychology of bullshit. The development of interventions and strategies that help individuals guard against bullshit is an important additional goal that requires considerable attention from cognitive and social psychologists...

Useful thoughts for the conference season and the start of the new academic year.

All the winners



Pennycook, G. et al. (2016) Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10, no 6, pp. 549–563

Thursday, 22 September 2016


Another mystery?
From France

A recent item in Conductive World wondered how validly the term 'world famous' is applied to András Pető:

Here is a rare mention of András Pető that I came across by chance a couple of days ago. It was written by Zaghloul Morsy, French-Moroccan intellectual, and big wheel in UNESCO back in the early nineteen-nineties.

The following passage comes from the introductory chapter of a hefty book of his, called Thinkers on Education, In the introductory chapter 'The paideia galaxy' (pp. 7-20), there is a section called 'The invisible stars' which includes the following –
The best of universal thought on education has, in my opinion, been gathered together in these pages. The best, perhaps, but certainly not all. Like museums, encyclopedias are, as we know, always selective and sometimes unfair. Arbitrariness cannot be avoided: on display in galleries are the chefs-d'oeuvre, the Old Masters, representative or significant works; in the cellars and the archives, on the back shelf, more chefs-d'oeuvre, other, neglected masters, less well known or less understood. The present volume risks incurring the same reproach, though I am not unappreciative of the many who have had to be left out; this may be judged from the following list, arranged in alphabetical order.

Western Antiquity:  Isocrates, Quintilian 
Europe, from the Middle Ages to our own day: L eon Battista Alberti, Benjamin Samuel Bloom, Pierre Bovet, Urie Bronfenbrenner, Jerome S. Bruner, Auguste Comte, Lionel Elvin, Marian Falski, Vittorino da Feltre, Bakule Frantisek, Richard Goodings, William Heard Kilpatrick, Hermann Lietz, Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, Anatole Vassilievitch Lunacharski, Karl Marx, Alva Myrdal, Percy Nunn, Wincenty Okón, Petö Andras, Wolfgang Ratke, Pedro Roselló, Eduard Spranger, Edward Lee Thorndike, Faria de Vasconcelos, Alfred North Whitehead.
The Arab-Islamic world: Matta 'Akrawi, Ibn Hazm, al-Jahiz, al-Mawerdi, al-Qiibissi, Ibn Sahnun, Zarnouji.
Latin America: Alfredo D. Calcagno, Lorenço Filho, Valentin Letelier, Ivan G6mez Millas, Eugenio Marfa Hostos, Juan Mantovani, Jose Carlos Mariátegui, Victor Mercante, Roberto Moreira, Augustín Nieto Caballero, Pablo Pizzurno, Simón Rodríguez, Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo, Franz Tamayo, Anixio Texeiro
Asia: Malcolm Adiseshiah, Kunijoshi Obara, R. P. Singh, etc.
There are certainly others, but that will do. There is material there for over fifty 'profiles' in future ordinary issues of Prospects, since the review was the seedbed from which the idea for the present collection first sprang. I will go further by suggesting that, a few years hence, it may well prove possible to publish a new edition, which not only takes into account the latest advances in research but also includes the thinkers I have just listed....I
However, even as it stands, our galaxy at least contains all the stars of first magnitude...
 (pages 15-16) 

This of course neither confirms nor denies that András Pető was well known in circles outside Hungary – but if he were, then what circles, and where. How had Zaghloul Morsy even heard of him. Certainly, to account for even mention within this august educational pantheon, András Pető was known as an educator. But if so, what specifically did Zaghloul Morsy know about András Pető's educational practice and ideas?

After all, M. Morsy does not even seem altogether sure about his name (I like to think that András Pető would have rather liked that!)

By the way, the hoped-for second edition appears not to have materialised. So it goes.

Allons les copains!

Is this a matter of absolutely no consequence at all, or yet another mystery to spin around the mystery man, or perhaps an interesting loose thread that might lead... where?

What was a French educationalist doing twenty-three years ago, citing András Pető as one of the world's major educational thinkers? What did he know and who else knew it at the time? The answer, if there is one, is as likely to be found in Paris or Rabat as in Budapest.

If there is a jot of substance here, then those most likely to benefit are the Francophone conductivists (not just in France) who desperately require intellectual and supranational support for their cause, in order to to escape the bureaucratic and medical constraints that presently bind their world.

I leave it to them to take this up if they wish.

How? Well, why not start by asking Zaghloul Morsy?

Previous item on András Pető 



Zaghloul Morsy (ed.) (1993) Thinkers on Education. Published in Prospects: Quarterly Review of Education, vol. 23, nos 1/2 (85/86), UNESCO Publishing, 1993 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Are there any others?

Journalism is an important medium for passing on experience and ideas, and developing society's understandings, and a way to test and extend one's own understandings. It is also a way and earning outside the conventional professional contexts, and even to exert a little personal influence.

Members of many professions do it, sometimes to a high and respected level. It it just another of those social roles waiting for conductors to take up.

In Budapest Rita Kulcsár-Domján has done so:

See her articles in Csaladnet ('Family Net'), listed here:

The role requires a degree of open self-confidence that some professionals prefer not to show – not least among conductors. Here is a long, earlier interview of Rita, by Anett Fenyvesi , on Kölöknet ('Kid Net'), from 2011:

Look out for her.

Is there anyone else out there yet?

Anywhere? Any language? Already doing it, or wanting to start?

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Or something old?

Today Facebook notified me of this –

Az emberben rejlő csoda:
fejlesztés és esélyteremtés a Pető-módszerrel –
képzési igényfelmérés

The potential of the human miracle:
development and equal opportunities in the Pető method –
training needs assessment

Unless one is – or becomes – genuinely bilingual, translation from any language into another can be a dodgy operation. The problem is not merely linguistic but involves a sense of the social context and the translator's own hopes and/or expectations for what might a given passage might mean.

When I first saw the above heading, to a posting by the PAF (the András Pető College in Budapest), my heart gave a little skip. Because of the inadequacy of my Hungarian and my continuing cultural insensitivity, I had rather misunderstood.. Hurrah, I immediately thought, something new here, perhaps the sort of thing hoped for over the years, sharing fundamental knowledge and ideas.  They're twigging...
The potential of the human miracle: development and equal opportunities in the Pető method – training needs assessment

That could be pretty important. Big questions stripped down to basics. I struggled on further, into the half-a-dozen specific questions for me to answer, that made up the rest of this notice. And I twigged, the penny dropped. This is a market-research exercise for awareness courses in Hungary. 

Who is this enquiry going out to? I do not know. At this stage anyway, not to non-Hungarian-speakers. I do hope that the PAF gets a valid and useful return from this exercise, and that this helps raise awareness and even demand amongst professionals working in the related fields across Hungary. Onwards and upwards, I hope. But not for wider consequence.

Good luck to them, but I should have been warier of reading more into it.

By the way, one does at times now hear about the 'human miracle', entirely I think in the context of the PAF. It would be nice to learn what this phrase implies and where it comes from.

Monday, 19 September 2016


Two or three tips for presenters

Yesterday's posting on Conductive World was a snippet about PowerPoint:

This reminded me that there are conferences coming up – well, meetings. These will serve a whole variety of functions for those who attend, one of which will be the formal sharing of knowledge and experience.


PowerPoint will loom large at these events. I do wonder, however, whether all those who use this tool are aware that it has been a matter for serious dispute whether the immediate benefits it may offer its users, are negated by possible bad effects for its audiences and, in a longer run, for society generally.

Looking back over the years I recall a PowerPoint + personal performance by Ivan Su on the activities of SAHK that was truly masterful, and a memorable visual show by Rony Schenker on hope, but nothing else. Well, I do, but nothing positive. Generally, I have to admit, that what I have seen seems to bear out critical comments aplenty that can be read elsewhere:

So my first tip for presenters is avoid PowerPoint – that is unless you regard yourself as its master, or you wish to present some attractive visual images by this means. If you have something to say or to tell about, then say or tell. You will likely have precious little time to do so on the day anyway, so concentrate on saying it – and make sure that you produce a written version and put this somewhere on line where it can be read and considered properly by a wider audience (this does not mean a decontextualised re-presentation of your overheads, but words!)


And when it comes to visual material, in the form not just of PowerPoint but on 'posters' too (and elsewhere, outside the context of meetings etc.) avoid what Edward Tuft called 'chart junk':
The interior decoration of graphics generates a lot of ink that does not tell the viewer anything new. The purpose of decoration varies — to make the graphic appear more scientific and precise, to enliven the display, to give the designer an opportunity to exercise artistic skills. Regardless of its cause, it is all non-data-ink or redundant data-ink, and it is often chartjunk.
Tufte, E. R. (1983).The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire, CT, Graphics Press   

Over the years I have winced at many of the sins exemplified here:

Again, if you have something worth conveying, state it as clearly as possible, and let the data speak for themselves. If certain points still need further emphasising or qualifying, find a way to state this properly elsewhere.

Parthian shot

And please do avoid using the word 'support', and all those other weasel words. If behind such words you do actually have something material and wothwhile to pass on to others, then say what you actually mean:

Sunday, 18 September 2016


From Daniel Finkelstein...
'There are three kinds of PowerPoint slides. The one that contains so much writing that you can't read it; the one that contains so little writing that it is pointless; and the one that contains just the right amount of writing – which ensures that your audience stops listening to you while they read it.'
Finkelstein, D. (2016) Notebook, The Times, 17 September, p. 23

Then there are those graphics...!

Saturday, 17 September 2016


Philosophy and CE: it had to come

New group on Facebook –

A Petős Keresztény Diákkör 
A Petős Keresztény Diákkör egy alkalom, MINDEN héten, hogy találkozz ISTENNEL, keresztény testvéreiddel. Egy alkalom, hogy együtt dicsőítsünk és imádkozzunk, megosszunk és tegyünk tanúságot a Szeretetről, Jézus Krisztusról!
Az alkalom egy lehetőség, hogy megpihenj az egyetlen Forrásnál, erőt és bátorságot kapj, hogy megéld a hited a Pető Intézet falai között és a világban. Lehetőség arra, hogy válaszokat kapj, imát kérj, növekedj, jobban megismerd azokat, akiket Isten helyezett melléd és legfőképpen Istent.
Isten szeretne személyesen találkozni Veled! :-) Legyünk Isten élő jelei! 

In English, this means something like –

Pető Christian Student Circle

The Pető Christian Student Circle is a time EVERY week to meet with GOD, Christian brothers and sisters. A time to give thanks and to pray together, to share and let us witness the love of Jesus Christ!
The occasion is an opportunity to relax the only fount of the strength and courage to get to the faith lived within the walls of the Pető Institute and the world. An opportunity to get answers, ask for prayer, growth, better to know those whom God has placed beside you, and most of all God.
God wants to meet you in person! :-)  Let us be God's living beacons!

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them
Matthew, 18, 20


Friday, 16 September 2016


Ask Google

Within Conductive Education one hears a lot about Pető, usually spelled Peto outside Hungary and on the Internet. He or this must be very well known, surely?

But what does the name mean to people who are not part of this small circle? How might one quantify this?

What might those coming upon this word for the first time do to find out what it means? Probably in most cases nowadays, Google it. What might the proverbial Little Green Man from Mars discover when he does?

If he looks up “Peto” on www.google.co.uk he will find 'about 13,900,000 results'.

Try it for yourself. Look at what results come up in the first few pages.

Do many people search beyond the first five results pages?

Which Google?

I had used my default local, version, www.google.uk.coIn English I could also have searched www.google.com, and there are quite a few other local English-language Googles. UK Google found nothing on the first two results pages (except menti in a Wikipedia disambiguation page), there was a brief appearance on page three (as one of the destinations for a manor British charity helping fund children to go abroad for medical treatment) and nothing on pages four and five.

In German I  started with www.google.de. I did this, and found the PAF appearing towards the foot of page 3. Nothing else in the first five pages. I did not try others

Try your own local, default Google. Just search “Peto” and see what you get. 

Then try searching for “Peto” selectively, under Google Images. Maps, Shopping, News, etc. Prepare to be disappointed and possibly intrigued, especially perhaps when scrolling down, and down, and down, under Images!

What to say?

Peto is a very common word to denote people and things, and more – in a number of language, but the uses met with respect to Conductive Education do not amount to a hill of beans in the great scheme of things.

With or without those little marks over its final letter, the word 'Peto' holds an important place within Conductive Education, and the legacy of András Pető is something to be held very dear.

Using the expression 'world famous', however, without assurance that this term is being validly applied, it use may be ruining whatever case that one is trying to make. Or worse.