Friday, 9 May 2008

It's the same, the whole world over…

Examples from three countries

The previous item on Conductive Education World arose from the question posed by James Forliti of British Columbia at the end of the latest posting on his blog. What follows here stems from that blog’s very title. It’s also in the form of question, a long one, but for some people it says it all: Conductive Education on Canada’s west coast: is there room in our schools for something that works?

This chimes with themes that Norman Perrin had been pressing on his blog. He has brought some of these together in a recent posting of his own (this posting of Norman’s was also referred to in the previous item on Conductive Education World as a fine if rare example of community spirit in action within the generally atomised world of Conductive Education). In summary, Norman compares and contrasts the perspectives of Conductive Education with those of the existing state education services for children with disabilities in the United Kingdom, by posing four brief questions on initial teacher-training, pedagogy, curriculum and understanding disability.

The questions and their answers will hardly come as a surprise to conductivists the world over. All the same, they are worth looking at in full and perhaps downloading for use as an aide-memoir for discussion. I see that he has a version of them in a more visual, tabular form that won’t translate to his blog. If you would like a copy of this I am sure he would oblige:

What we’re up against

The title of James’s whole blog and the theme of Norman’s recent posting spring from two mutually distant locations where citizens (and tax-payers) with disabled children labour equally under the same unspoken policy meme of official pedagogic nihilism! Those who advocate Conductive Education might be disunited, uncoordinated, with no mechanisms established through which to mount collective action, the antithesis of a community. The forces that they face seem to present a remarkably united front.
That's no contest.

Ain’t it all a bleeding shame!

I had been going to leave it there but by coincidence I was sent a cutting from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I shall not even attempt to summarise this. Read it for yourself, and despair:

This article, written by special-education teacher Wayne Grytting, is not about Conductive Education, nor even motor disorder. It comes from a third country, and illustrates a different dimension of the problems that Conductive Education shares with any other humane, rational educational approach. Together they face not just pedagogic nihilism but its close, wedded associate, overweening and mindless bureaucracy that appropriates to itself control over the nature and even the purpose of pedagogic activity.

The position of the people in Conductive Education then is little different from that of countless others in the human services (not just in ‘education’) struggling to do a decent job of bringinging up and educating disabled children against the obstructive forces of the Jacks-in-office of the professional-bureaucratic complex.
Against the same ‘enemy’


Washington State is the home state of the redoubtable mother-daughter fighters for opportunity, Sue and Suzanne Sweeney, who along their way made the first great public impact for Conductive Education in the United States.

Readers of the Seattle Post-Intellegencer are not backward in coming forward with their opinions on what they read there, including this article:

It’s the poor what gets the blame. ‘The poor’ in the present context are the powerless and oppressed people at the bottom of the services heap, the families with disabled children, whose major value to the burgeoning professional-bureaucratic complex that feeds off them is to provide the children on which its existence ultimately depends. A new proletariat indeed, groaning under a new class of oppressors! The 'rich' in this context are the suits who flourish within the professional-bureaucratic complex, as bureau-professionals or just plain apparatchiki.

It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure,
It’s the poor wot gets the blame.
It’s the same the 'ole world over,
Ain't it all a bleedin' shame!
(British music hall song, time of Great War)

The enemy. An expression of Mária Hári’s, encompassing all those who, wittingly or unwittingy, would diminish or destroy Conductive Education.


Forliti, J. (2008) Worldwide conductive community? Conductive Education on Canada’s west coast: is there room in our schools for something that works? 3 April

Grytting, W. (2008) State shows no respect for special-ed, Seattle Post-Intellegencer, 5 May

Perrin, N (2008) Putting in a word for Buddy Bear and Conductive Education, 1 May

Sutton, A. (2008) The'conductive community?, Conductive Education World, 7 May

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