Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Blog on

Conductive Education and the Blogosphere

More than a 100 million people around the world have now started a blog and 83 blogs are presently being created, every minute of every day. I write ‘presently’ here because numbers are soaring: for example, last March 34% of US consumers aged between 13 and 75 created Internet content for others to see, by October the figure was 45%. Millions more publish video and pictures on the web, write and edit Wikipedia articles, create mashups, post comments on mainstream media sites and so on. (Gillmor, 2007)

Such figures will be out of date by the time that you read them. The blog search engine technorati.com already tracks 111.2 million blogs, and reports that there are 120,000 new ones being added each day.

But search with Google Blog Search, with its excellent Languages facility. Check how many blogs are mentioning Conductive Education (or konduktív pedagógia, konduktive Förderung, educação condutiva, or whatever). Discount the dud identifications. Are you surprised how few blogs there are that touch on Conductive Education? How little communication through this exploding new medium? How little debate, how little sharing?

We are now well into ‘Web 2.0’, with the Internet changing from being simply a static source into a huge interactive playground. In Conductive Education, this process is has started with parents leading the way. In most parents’ blogs, the emphasis is understandably bringing up their children, with Conductive Education appearing as it does in life, as and when it does.

At first sight such blogs might be considered more part of the enormous Internet ‘literature’ of, say, cerebral palsy rather than something specific to Conductive Education. But it actually opens windows on to something very important indeed for Conductive Education – yet very rarely dealt with in print – the interface between Conductive Education and family life with a disabled child, the very stuff of conductive upbringing.

And a few parental blogs are published from within that crucial band of parents who take up cudgels of behalf of the wider cause by opening and running their own services. I have already remarked two such blogs that I find particularly thought-provoking (Sutton, 2008). Why are there no ‘professional’ blogs like this?

No doubt this brief account is missing a lot, social networking, groups etc. Tell me about it.

What about the workers?

Certainly if you read about Conductive Education on the Internet in English, there’s very little about conductors as human beings. The appear as commodities to be bought and sold, objects rather than subjects in their own right. Even if they do write something they often withhold their identities, signing themselves as ‘conductor’, ‘konduktor’ etc. (can this really be continuation of the tradition instigated by András Pető himself, or are there more mundane reasons?)

The only place in Cyberspace to catch the voice of conductors is on the Hungarian-language discussion forum Konped Fórum – not much use if you cannot read Hungarian.

Some conductors may read the blogs of parents but, outside Hungary, most service-users and most employers just cannot read Hungarian – and it seems likely that a great chasm separates the bulk of the conductor workforce from those whom they serve.

Of course there have been remarkable exceptions but they remain just that, exceptions.

New kid on the blog

Let not this be thought of as a criticism directed specifically towards Hungarian conductors, Over a hundred English speaking conductors and ’teacher-conductors’ have been trained (I do not know how many still practise) – and they have been equally apparent in their absence.

Just started up, however, is an interesting blog by Susie Mallett, covering (so far) theory and practice of Conductive Education, art and life.

This includes an important contribution on András Pető and the question of die Seele (the ‘soul’), one that could be made only by a real conductor and one able to read German at that. It is not often that you see anyone, never mind a conductor, writing about the man himself on the basis of what he actually wrote rather than through myth and wishful thinking. Not least in Germany, funny that!

Susie is British. She trained in Budapest under Mária Hári but has worked ever since then in Germany. I do hope that other conductors will also now take courage, chance their arms and reveal what conductors think and feel about their work and other aspects of their lives.

Notes and references

The Blogosphere

Dan Gillmore, Bloggers and mash, New Scientist, 18 March 2008, pp. 44-47

Parents blogging

Jacolyn Lieck. Lieck Triplets, http://lieck3.blogspot.com/

Leticia Búrigo, Educação Condutiva – com amor, http://educacaocondutiva.blogspot.com/

Andrew Sutton, Blogs I like, Conductive Education World, 12 February 2008

Conductors' forum

Konduktív Pedagógiai Szakmai Fórum http://www.konped.hu/forum/

A conductor writes...

Suzie Mallett, Conductor, http://www.konduktorin.blogspot.com/


  1. Andrew,

    What about the Facebook????
    There are CE groups and conductors have their own!

  2. yo... informative thoughts..

  3. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!