Saturday, 1 December 2007

What is and is not Conductive Education?

On Friday I fly off to Israel to contribute to the Twentieth Anniversary Conference of Tsad Kadima, to what looks to be the most intellectually enriching conference around Conductive Education for a few years now. One of the things that I shall be doing will be presenting a one-day preconference workshop. I gather that there will be some fifty to sixty participants at my workshop, around thirty-five from Tsad Kadima, mainly conductors and therapists, with the rest from other facilities (doctors, representatives from the Ministry of Education, and therapists from different educational and rehabilitaton facilities in Israel). Some parents and other family member will join too. Never volunteer... frankly I'm terrified. Below is what I have promised them.

Pre-Conference Workshop
Conductive Education: Define to Defend

Moderator: Mr Andrew Sutton, Foundation for Conductive Education, Birmingham, UK

Language of the workshop: English (simultaneous translation into Hebrew)

Target population: Educational, health care and therapeutic parents, people, families and people with cerebral palsy

Date: Sunday, 9 December 2007
Time: 0830 – 1430
Venue: 'Beit Zrubavel', 15 Levontin St. Rishon LeZion

Within the space of half a century, Conductive Education has moved from being the inspiration and personal practice of one man, confined within a closed and isolated country, to an internationally dispersed range of practices in special education and rehabilitation. Its explosive expansion had been achieved without benefit of a written corpus of knowledge from its founder.
Even within its country of origin, Hungary, major adaptive change was necessary as society evolved. Then, once ‘out of the bag,’ Conductive Education has had to face far greater forces for change. The result has been faster and more diverse evolution, attempts to proceed beyond evolutionary to revolutionary change and some terrible misunderstandings.

If Conductive Education is to move beyond haphazard internationalisation, survive in more than just name and flourish to make a truly global impact, then it has to define its boundaries around explicit, justifiableunderstandings. Such boundaries must at the same time respect the core, the essence of the original inspirationand permit the flexibility essential for the globalized world of the twenty-first century.
This workshop suggests a framework for approaching the question of what can and what cannot be counted under the rubric of 'Conductive Education'.
The goals of the day are:
(1) to understand “Conductive Education” as a (continuing) historical process;
(2) to adopt critical awareness of defining terms;
(3) to distinguish false claimants to the title of 'Conductive Education';
(4) to consider the possible next stage of Conductive Education's development.

0830 – 0900 Registration, meeting and light refreshments
0900 – 1000 Deconstructing 'Conductive Education'
1000 – 1100 What is 'Conductive Education' at the start of the 21st century?

1100 – 1130 Coffee break

1130 – 1230 What is not? Problems and dangers
1230 – 1330 Reconstructing Conductive Education

1330 – 1400 Light lunch

1400 – 1430 Discussion

Not much new there to students who took my 'Pedagogy and psychology for conduction' module in their final year of the BA (Conductive Education) conductor-training at Wolverhampton University/NICE in recent years. Depending upon how next Sunday goes, I may produce a written version.


The extensive 32-page conference brochure is available it in full at

The workshop summary given above is from page 22.

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