Monday, 21 August 2017


Rubber ducks and elephants

At least, these two tests still seem applicable to current items on Conductive World and its Facebook page:

The duck test and the elephant test

See what this is is about:


Barmy boffins strike again

Hilde Myrhaug, Oslo

Another reductionist evaluation of Conductive Education has just hit the streets.


PURPOSE: To evaluate the effects of a conductive education (CE) course followed by conventional practice, on gross motor function, other functional skills, quality of life, and parents' experiences of family-centered services in young children with cerebral palsy (CP).

METHODS: Twenty-one children with CP, 3-6 years old, were randomized to one 3-week CE course followed by conventional practice or conventional practice on a waiting list. Outcomes were measured 4 months after baseline. A web-based log collected data on the conventional practice.

RESULTS: No additional improvements in the children's outcome were found. However, parents in the CE group reported that they received more information than parents in the waiting list group (p = 0.01). Children in both groups performed high amount of conventional practice at home.

CONCLUSIONS: A 3-week CE course did not add any improvements in the children's functioning, possibly explained by the large amount of conventional practice reported of both groups.

KEYWORDS: Cerebral palsy; children; conductive education; gross motor function; quality of life; randomized controlled trial

What other outcome would anyone with the slightest nous expect?

No matter, it has created occupation and presumably income for academics in four institutions in Oslo (plus the journal's editors and reviewers, wherever they are around the world), contributed to the next literature search on 'research' into Conductive Education, and perhaps contributed yet another tiny nail to the coffin of Conductive Education's surviving reputation in academic circles.

... a 3-week CE course did not add any improvements in the children's functioning

Ms Myrhaug and colleagues have form:


Myrhaug, H., Odgaard-Jensen, J., Østensjø, S. Vøllestad, N. K., Jahnsen, R. (2017) Effects of a conductive education course in young children with cerebral palsy: a randomized controlled trial, Developmental Rehabilitation, August
[Epub ahead of print]


Grab a bowl and have a ball

Today the United States experiences its total eclipse. My own experiences have been partial:

Have fun with your big one.


Solomon Shereshevskii 

One of the great classic reports in the literature of psychology (and incidentally of qualitative investigation and reporting), is A. R. Luriya's story of 'S', the memory man.

Luriya's Mind of a Mnemonist is an important part of a psychological education. I used to encourage student conductors to read it. Some did.

Reed Johnson's extensive article recently published in the New Yorker provides an important framework for Luriya's account, identifying the memory man and reporting how it had looked to him all those years ago.

This article is published in full, on line. Luriya's little book itself is still in print, and widely available second hand.

Previous posting on A. R. Luriya

Image result for "martin luther" playmobil

A. R. Luriya (numerous dates) The Mind of a Mnemonist, various editions

Johnson, R. (2017) The mystery of S., the man with an impossible memory, New Yorker, 12 August 

Sunday, 20 August 2017



It is a couple of weeks now since conductor László Szögeczki published his attractive paperback monograph on Conductive Education for adults, published by Amazon. The book is in English.


You can read László's opening text, the book's Contents pages and its rear-cover blurb here:

Reading it in full

A couple of weeks ago, Gill Maguire drew attention to this on line via Amazon's German site:

It can also be ordered via Amazon's UK site, and doubtless from its many others too:

There is also a Kindle edition,. Shop around for the best deal for you.

Books or Kindle?

Take your pick, for example: 
  • the German site edition at €23,43 and a Kindle edition at €18.69
  • the UK site offers a paperback at £19.79 and a Kindle edition at £16.87
The book is in English, however and wherever you buy it.

Check your own local Amazon site for local variants. For the paperback edition delivery in commendably fast but postage and packing will add to your costs. Remember that Kindle comes post-free and instantly, and that Amazon will provide you with a free download app.


Comments/reviews can be written directly on to the book's Amazon pages, in the usual manner, in any language.

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.