Thursday, 30 October 2008

Isten, áldd meg a magyart / God bless the Hungarians

Hungarian bail-out has potential effects for us all

On Sunday the International Monetry Fund announced that it would have to step in to save the Hungarian economy from collapse (Sutton, 2008). On Tuesday it became clear what this immediate remedial measure would involve. The IMF would contribute US$16 bn, with the World Bank and the European Union chipping in to make this up to US$25 bn in all, dwarfing the mere US$2.1 that it took to ‘save’ Iceland.

Phew!

Meaningless mega-figures that quite eclipse the old expression ‘Monopoly money’.

(See ‘Arithmetical problem’ in the Footnotes at the end of this article for one way of making the enormity of the Hungarian crisis seem a little more real.)

No free lunch…

This money is intended to 'bolster the Hungarian economy's near-term stability and improve its long-term growth potential. The authorities' program will ensure fiscal sustainability and strengthen the financial sector.’ So says the IMF (Wroughton, 2008) but what will this mean for ordinary Hungarians?

For most Hungarians this will mean hard times all round for some time to come. Hungarians are no strangers to hard times – listen to the heart-breaking strain of their national anthem (also in the Footnotes) . Historically they have adopted some well-tested ways of responding:

knuckling down, getting on with things, waiting for better days and often achieving some amazing small victories along the way (it was in the latter years of just such a long period, in the late nineteen-eighties) that the world first 'discovered' Conductive Education);

rioting in the streets.

turning to extreme political parties, on the left and on the right;

going abroad to find work;

emigrating altogether.

And for the rest of us?

Who knows, but economic punditry seems a growth industry these days so here’s my own fourpenceworth on possible effects for Conductive Education around the world.

All public services in Hungary, including education and social welfare may have to be cut back, perhaps severely. How will this impact upon the future supply of conductors?

Greater numbers of conductors living in Hungary may be forced to seek work abroad, whether they want to or not, just to feed, clothe and house their families.

At the same time, however, there is likely to be less money available worldwide to set up and maintain conductive services/programs, be this through public bodies, charities, fundraisers or families’ domestic budgets. In other words, there may be fewer jobs available for a perhaps greater number of available conductors.

This could mean more the just disappointment and frustration, for would-be employees and would-be employers alike. It betokens a perhaps fundamental change in the balance of supply and demand in the international conductor labour market.

Possibly resulting from this: a fall in the ‘price’ of conductors' labour (in other words, a general lowering of conductors' salaries). There could of course be exceptions to this, such as in the Conductive Education schools in the oil-rich Gulf that one assumes would be immune from the general effect, but in most places the tendency towards lower wages would apply.

If it does, the effect might be upon more than simply salaries. Economic need might force individuals to seek work in places and situations that they would not have previously regarded as ‘suitable’ for Conductive Education, and to do so at lower salaries than they might once have considered acceptable.

In turn this could lead to some dilution and/or distortion of conductive practice.

Equally, it could stimulate some remarkable creativity and innovation.

Whatever happens, Conductive Education has been long overdue for radical change. Right or wrong, ready or not, the economic crunch now looks to be hastening the day, with poor little Hungary making a disproportionate contribution to the process.

References

Sutton, A. (2008) Hungarian economy: IMF steps in to avoid collapse, Conductive World, 27 October
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/10/hungarian-economy.html

Wroughton, L. (2008) IMF, EU agree to $25.1 billion rescue for Hungary, Reuters, 28 October
http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-CreditCrisis/idUSTRE49R3LT20081029

Footnotes

A Magyar Hymnusz: the Hungarian National Anthem

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=19dU_q6lmGM&feature=related

Dignified, haunting, beautiful, but so terribly, terribly sad, especially when you think of some of the circumstances in which it has been sung over so many years

But the words! A nine-verse plea to the Almighty to let up, the Hungarians have surely by now suffered enough and the good times must again be deserved. The first verse summaises the whole sorry business, thenm two verses recount long-past peace and glories, following which the woe begins: plundering Mongols, Turks' slave yoke, corpses of our defeated army, fugitive, sadness and despair, sea of blood, ocean of flame, heap of stones, groans of death, weeping, blood of the dead, torturous slavery, burning eyes of the orphans, sea of misery, ill fate.

As the poem from which this was taken was written back in the nineteenth century, the if anything worse horrors of the twentieth century do not even come into it.

Hungarians are very conscious of their history and present events may well be perceived by them in this light in a way that a Brit or an American, say, cannot fully appreciate.

An arithemetical problem

The world is putting up US$25bn to shore up the Hungarian economy. What on Earth does this mean in comprehensible, human terms? For example, back in Hungary, what is this in per capita terms?

Assuming that the word ‘billion’ here is being used in its new, American sense (rather than what it used to mean here in Britain), then the total bail-out can be written as:

US$ 25,000,000,000

To simplify the calculation, consider the population of Hungary to be around ten million souls, that is 10,000,000.

Trying not to get lost in all those noughts, calculate how many US dollars this bail-out means for every single man, woman and child in Hungary.

Ordinary Hungarians, of course, will not be seeing this money, no way, it’s for ‘the economy’.

What I don’t understand, though, is where did it all go?

United States: visa changes for visiting Hungarians

Amidst all the momentous global economic happenings of recent days, the following minor news item might have missed most people’s attention.

Visa-Free travel to US from November 17

"As of November 17 the US will waive visa requirement [for] tourists from seven countries – Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and South Korea – US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced in Prague on Monday. He will arrive in Budapest today to give details on the waiver at the Foreign Ministry. Hungarians intending to stay in the US for three months or less must hold passports with biometric IDs to qualify for the waiver, which is already enjoyed by 27 countries, Chertoff added."

The report was published on 28 October by Xpatloop.com, an English-language news service for foreigners living in Hungary and Hungarians living abroad.

http://www.xpatloop.com/news/20155

A glitch...

...and an interesting link

Elliot Clifton writes that he had wanted to post a Comment to the recent item on the blogosphere but could not get Blogger's system to do what he wanted. There are two things that he wanted to say:

..Blogger doesn't like links in comments. I'd be surprised if it's not possible to change it. Links in comments are part of the fun of blogging.

Thanks Elliot. I've tried to find a solution to the Comments problem through Blogger Help but the jargon has defeated me. Sorry. Any advice more than welcome.

As for what *this* is, I came across more on the state of the Blogosphere in 2008 and an article in Wired magazine.

From Tim Bray's blog:

http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2008/10/27/On-Blogging

Tim Bray is the man behind some of the tech that makes blogging tick:


I would just add that the link to Tim Bray's commentary on the Technorati report is well worth following for anyone running a blog, on any system, and maybe for quite a few others too who would like a quick, authoritative view on where the world is currently at with mass communication over the Internet.

Note

Technorati’s annual report: The state of the blogosphere 2008:

Sutton, A. (2008) Attention all CE bloggers… and all non-bloggers too, Conductive World, 24 October
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/10/attention-all-ce-bloggers.htm


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

High time in Munich

First report of German conference

The first report of the conference in Munich at the end of last week has been blogged, with more promised.

It does sound rather a a wonderful event. There is little indication so far of the tension inherent in the present state of the movement in Germany and Austria.

So a high time, even high jinks, but no sign of high noon!

The report in in English. There appear so far to be no 'conductive' German-language blogs.

Read much more

First conference report
http://konduktorin.blogspot.com/2008/10/carnival-is-over.html

Recent items on this on Conductive World
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/10/german-conference-see-previous-item.html
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/10/bridge-too-far.html

Monday, 27 October 2008

Hungarian economy

IMF steps in to avoid collapse

There has been no doom-and-gloom economic news on Conductive World for a month now. This is not of course because there has been a shortage of such news, on the contrary, simply that the day-by-day slide of the world economy, now county-by-country rather than bank-by-bank hardly need bringing home to anyone any more.

Today’s dire news is worth reporting here, that the International Monetry Fund, backed up presumably by the European central banks, has had to step in to prevent the total collapse of the Hungarian economy , with a bail-out of an as yet unannounced sum.

Hungary has been the economic basket-case of the European Union, so today’s rescue package comes at no surprise. Ordinary Hungarian citizens certainly have no illisions about the state of their national economy – and no faith whatsoever in their government’s ability to run a clean and sound economic ship. They themselves have already started to turn their backs on the Forint, preferring to save or borrow in some harder currency such as the Euro or the Swiss Frank (not, I guess, the English Pound!).

And like in all bail-outs the good news of the has to be tempered with two cautionary qualifications:

(1) there is no such thing as a free lunch: bail-outs always come with strings, economic strictures for private citizens and for their public services being high on any list;

(2) bail-outs are great but they are rarely if ever ‘enough’, what comes next?

So what has this to do with Conductive Education?

Not that long ago, it may seem, the world of Conductive Education revolved around Budapest but in fact for some years now the centre of gravity of Conductive Education has shifted beyond the frontiers of Hungary to the ever-larger and ever-more-dispersed international movement. The reasons for this are diverse and are not of immediate concern here. In one respect, however, Hungary has remained vital for the well-being of the conductive movement, in that through the Pető Institute Hungary remains by far the largest producer of conductors.

Let us hope that it can retain its present level of output over the recessionary years ahead.

Meantime, conductor-production outside Hungary remains very low and, even in a boyant world economy there was little reasonable chance of substantial expansion of this in any foreseeable future. We no longer live in a boyant world and this has serious implication for any hopes of expanding conductor-training to new bases around the world.

Already, however, in different ways in different countries, people have begun looking for cheaper alternative means to create conductors. This too is not an immediate topic for discussion here (though it it a vital queston and will have to be returned to), except to remark that such projects’ futures will now toohave to be viewed in terms of the wider economic future.

Hard times in Hungary. Another general reminder of hard times to come all round, and a further particular worry for the world of Conductive Education..

Note on possible consequences for Hungary

What price could Hungary pay for the dollar billions of the IMF? Portfolio.hu, 27 October
http://www.portfolio.hu/en/cikkek.tdp?cCheck=1&k=2&i=16130

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Two personal bibliographies going on line

There are now six Conductive Education knols

Following the last posting here on Conductive World, knols may seem already a little old hat! Nonetheless, they are there and they present an opportunity, so two further, slightly differing applications are being tested out over the coming weeks:

Andrew Sutton in print

A straightforward, old-fashioned, personal bibiography

Andrew Sutton on line

Live links to materials that have turned up on line, sometimes without their author's knowledge!

User's first impression

By the time you get to your third knol the process does begin to seem rather less complicated, especially if you are publishing already-prepared material.

It really does look like it could prove a quick and easy way of bringing previously unpublished materials to wider readership. Conductive Education would certainly benefit from sharing all sorts of materials, conductive, adminitrative, whatever, so that new services and programs are not continually having to reinvent the wheel.

The technology is there...

Friday, 24 October 2008

Attention all CE bloggers…

And all non-bloggers too

The blogging company Technorati has published its detailed annual report on the state of the blogosphere.

Here are some extracts from its overview.

What is a Blog? The lines continue to blur

Wikipedia defines blogs as:

A Blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

The Blogosphere is the collective community of all blogs. Since all blogs are on the Internet by definition, they may be seen as interconnected and socially networked. Discussions "in the Blogosphere" have been used by the media as a gauge of public opinion on various issues.

But as the Blogosphere grows in size and influence, the lines between what is a blog and what is a mainstream media site become less clear. Larger blogs are taking on more characteristics of mainstream sites and mainstream sites are incorporating styles and formats from the Blogosphere

What is Technorati looking at and why?

With blogging so firmly entrenched in the mainstream, the story now is about the Active Blogosphere. The trends, stories and behaviors here influence not only the rest of the Blogosphere but mainstream media as well.

Technorati defines the Active Blogosphere as: The ecosystem of interconnected communities of bloggers and readers at the convergence of journalism and conversation...

Blogging is…

A truly global phenomenon: Technorati tracked blogs in 81 languages in June 2008, and bloggers responded to our survey from 66 countries across six continents.

Here to stay: Bloggers have been at it an average of three years and are collectively creating close to one million posts every day. Blogs have representation in top-10 web site lists across all key categories, and have become integral to the media ecosystem.

Technorati’s survey involves mountains of global statistics and includes some remarkable findings on commercial penetration on the bogosphere and money-making through advertising on blogs. All these seem a million miles removed from Conductive Education. CE blogging is, after all, only in its infancy.

The future

More interesting therefore to this specific field are some of the comments of a host of Internet gurus on the future of blogging and other communication media through the Internet – and this is where (so far) non-bloggers especially should be sitting up and taking notice. Here are what Technorati asked and just some of the things that some of these worthies had to say.

The Blogosphere is continuing to evolve

We asked some of the leading minds on the Blogosphere to give us their thoughts on where blogging is headed:

In 2004 when Technorati started, the typical reaction to the word ‘blog’ was ‘Huh – can you repeat yourself?’ Today, blogs are everywhere —even presidential candidates have blogs. The blog has forever changed the way publishing works —now anyone can be a publisher. The issue is no longer distribution; rather, it's relevance.(Brad Feld, www.feld.com)

The idea of blogging will never disappear, but the process by content is created for one blog or a series of blogs will continue to undergo radical upheavals. This past year, we saw the introduction of countless ‘microblogging’ platforms, to the point where they themselves have become a commodity —further pushing individual voices to the Blogosphere’s melting pot. Brand will continue to decentralize, and micro-communities will form within any one of the loosely-structured services (like FriendFeed, which values the continuation of conversation as much as it does the initiation portion). Video will also become increasingly important to convey complex messages that are often lost in text – while audio will continue to fall away to this new medium, save those 'casts with high production values. YouTube will continue to be the place where most people will view their on-demand Internet video. Live video events will soon saturate the landscape, and our attention will become even further fragmented —lending more credibility for the need to archive and index certain video clips and wrap them with text for Google and other search engines to discover. (Chris Pirillo, chris.pirillo.com)

Blogs will fill every niche in the ecology of public writing. They'll be good examples of blogs and a far larger range of sites that are sort-of, kind-of blogs. This is as it should be. It's also as it already is. (David Weinberger,
Johotheblog.com)

The big issues remain, including the crucial one of trust. Here, too, we're seeing progress. The best blogs are as trustworthy as any traditional media, if not more. The worst, often offering fact-challenged commentary, are reprehensible and irresponsible. But audiences are learning, perhaps too slowly, that modern media require a more activist approach. We need to be skeptical of everything, but not equally skeptical of everything. We need to use judgement, to get more information — and to go outside our personal comfort zones. (Dan Gillmor,
startupmedia.org)

The word blog is irrelevant, what's important is that it is now common, and will soon be expected, that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world. (Seth Godin, sethgodin.typepad.com)

Blogging is getting easier and easier and some day, we'll all have blogs of one sort or another. Most won't look like my blog, maybe more like my tumblog or my twitter feed, but even more likely they'll look like something else. (Fred Wilson , www.avc.com/a_vc)

Although new ‘right-now’ web tools like twitter and lifestreaming aggregators like friendfeed have shifted some attention from classic blogging, they've actually deepened the conversation and made the blog, as a place to comment, reflect, and analyze, more central than ever. Blogging has become part of the daily discourse within many communities, and more and more essential is a growing number of disciplines outside of the technosphere. (Susan Mernit, peoplessoftware.com)

Blogs represent the best chance for companies to inform the conversation. (Richard Edelman www.edelman.com/speak_up/blog/)

Until recently, 'the Blogosphere' referred to a small cluster of geeks circled around a single tool. Now it refers to hundreds of millions of people using a vast warehouse of tools that allow people to behave increasingly online like they do in real life. We have entered the Age of Normalization in the Blogosphere. (Shel Israel, globalneighbourhoods.net)

Blogging isn't defined by a technology or the way words are laid out on a page. Rather, it's a mindset, and as such, will be around for a long, long time, evolving and improving. (Charlene Li ,
www.altimetergroup.com)

The Blogosphere continues to evolve - with micro-blogging, long blogging, video blogging all taking off this year. Of course, more and more companies and politicians are playing with blogs but most importantly, it's becoming something that more and more 'civilians' do — ordinary folk. And that's what's going to change its impact from here on in. (Mark Earls, herd.typepad.com)

Blogging continues to splinter into many different categories, providing an incredibly rich ecosystem of self expression tools and compelling content for readers. The prototypical personal blog, where a single writer simply writes their [sic] daily thoughts on their life and/or topics that interest them, will always be hugely popular. But multi-author blogs will continue to thrive as well. And a huge percentage of blogs focus on single topics of interest, from tech news to wine to knitting. Whatever it is you are interested in, it's likely to have a community of people who share that interest. But perhaps the most interesting development is the steady evolution in the definition of a blog itself. Today photo and video blogs are already common. Microblogging platforms like Twitter and Friendfeed are the fast -food equivalent of the blogging world, and continue to gain popularity because they let people update multiple times per day with 140 characters or less on what they are doing, how they're feeling, etc. Not only is microblogging a terrific method of self expression, the value of the raw data that's created is enormously important. The Twitter messages I read during the two presidential conventions gave me a good idea on how people reacted to the various speeches. It's not statistically relevant, but pollsters will be watching that data more and more closely over time. Whatever happens next with blogging, it's here to stay. And I can't wait to see what comes next. (Michael Arrington, www.techcrunch.com)

I can not imagine staying current in this fast moving, high-tech world without using blogs and bloggers as a powerful filter of the overwhelming torrent of information we all face. (David Hornik, www.ventureblog.com)

The internationalization of Conductive Education has in many ways proceeded at a breakneck pace – but the rest of the world, not least the economic/financial world, is now moving so fast that the over-extended (and let’s be frank, not terribly well informed even within itself) conductive movement may not be able keep up.

You may not have heard of Twitter and Friendfeed, microblogging and long blogging, but you ought to find you – you can always ask the kids.

Notes

Technorati
http://.technorati.com/

State of the blogosphere 2008
http://www.technorati.com/blogging/state-of-the-blogosphere/

Friendfeed
Tumblog

microblogging
Braiker, B. (2008) Twitter Nation: microblogging is huge, but should anyone care? Newsweek,
9 July
This article provides a helpful introduction but it's nownow three months old and almost certainly out of date!

long blogging
This expressions is so new – or so arcane – that even Wikipedia can’t set me right on it! I suspect that Conductive World counts as long blogging.

German conference (see previous item)

STOP PRESS

This afternoon Google published the following Alert:

Google Blogs Alert for: "CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION"

An Oktoberfest to build conductive bridges in Germany By Susie Mallett (Susie Mallett) We are all at the Jubiläumskongress, Konductive Förderung, called “Conductive Education builds bridges”, a celebration of 10 years of the conductors’ association in Germany, organised by the association in conjunction with Pfennigparade, ... Conductor - http://konduktorin.blogspot.com/

A bridge too far?

Will the Munich conference heal the division, or further inflame it?

Today and tomorrow, Munich in Bavaria is the place to be in Conductive Education, for the great German-language CE bean-feast, joint-organised this year by the German conductors' association (to commemorate its tenth anniversary) and by Pfennigparade (German for 'March of Dimes'), a very large provider of disability services in Bavaria.

I really regret not being there because an important, maybe vital, contradiction within world-wide Conductive Education, ususally quietly brushed under the carpet, may briefly surface and attract the explicit attention that it so deserves. This is why the word 'bridge' features prominently in the title of the conference. Most of the people attending will know what this refers to: will they actually say?

Briefly, the conductors in Germany are... conductors.

And Pfennigparade, which is a body of some weight, has put considerable effort for some years now into developing and implementing training for therapists and teachers that it describes as konduktive (conductive) and is based, in so far as I understand it, on the assumption that Conductive Education represents simply a melding of schoolteaching and therapy. The resulting mix is called konduktive Förderung. There is a similar development in Austria, which will also be represented at this conference.

As for parents and those who fund services: they are confused. Hardly surprising.

The conductors is Germany are probably already outnumbered by the products of the Pfennigparade training and a couple of years ago even agreed to admit them as members to their own then tiny conductors' association, apparently because their own numbers were small. There's political nous for you: one thinks of cuckoos and nests.

Just a glimpse at the conference programme shows this demographic problem within German Conductive Education. Interestingly it also shows Franz Schaffhauser, Rektor of the Pető Institute, his presentation on the future role of the Pető Institute in Europe shunted into a parallel session. Also there will be Peter von Quadt, the parent who sparked and led development of the Fortschritt, the all-Germany parents' movement dedicated at its outset to import and establish Pure Pető (Petö Pur).

Oil and water. In Munich this couple of days, in the land of Hegel, Marx and Engels, will it prove that contradictions cannot be 'bridged', only resolved?

A note on terminology

The meaning of the German word konduktive is obvious though, in respect to Conductive Education, its meaning remains at least as little understood as it does in most languages.

The term konduktive pädagogie is now assiduously avoided in Germany and Austria, as it implies little/no role for therapists.

There seems to be no discernable concept of conductive upbringing in the German language.

The term konduktive Förderung is now used universally in German as equivalent of the (equally general) English expression 'Conductive Education'. It is not however a translation. What precisely Förderung means in this context is anybody's guess. It implied 'furthering' something. What precisely it is expected to further is a fundamental question that I do not think has been explicitly addressed.

Nobody, not least the conductors working in Germany, is suggesting that all these teachers and therapists coming on stream with their extra qualification may not indeed be adding to the sum of human well-being. Whether or not Förderung is of any use or not is a separate question and should be addressed explicitly as such in its own right.

What is of concern to conductivists is the positive development of Conductive Education, with the least possible confusion about what it is and what it is about. Perhaps frictions might be reduced or even removed altogether if the word konduktive were to be quietly dropped from the expression konduktive Förderung, with training and services of this kind then bravely making their own way in this world under their own banners.

Some previous items on Germany

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Russian parent-and-child article now available in English

Testing out knol publication

I have very tentatively dipped a first toe into the unfamiliar sea of knols.

I have now published on Google Knol the full English-language text (Sutton 2008a) from which the Russian article published last week (Sutton, 2008b) was derived.

The paper’s title in English is ‘Conductive upbringing: a revolution for families with children with cerebral palsy

Conductive World drew attention to the opportunities of knol publishing for Conductive Education as soon as this new way of self-punlishing went live in July (Sutton, 2008c). Since then there have been three Conductive Education aricles published by this means., by three diferent authors.

At its most basic the knol system appears very simple to use but it does offer a range of further facilities. All four CE postings to date, my own very recent one included, have taken the simplest route in, with no mbellishments. For myself I shall be extending my knol activity, both through increasing the number of knol postings from my store of existing materials, and by gradually elaborating my existing postings as I familiarise myself with the technology. These knols will be listed as they appear in the DIRECTORY column on the left-hand side of Conductive World.

Do please take the opportunity to comment or make suggestions, either through COMMENTS at the foot of this announcement or under the knol itself.

References

Sutton. A. (2008a) Conductive Education: a revolution for families with cerebral palsy, Google Knol
http://knol.google.com/k/andrew-sutton/conductive-upbringing-a-revolution-for/2tv7fpph4s1dn/3

Sutton, A. (2008b) Русские прходят / The Russians are coming. A new force on CE’s horizon? Conductive World, 20 October
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/10/russians-are-coming.html

Sutton, A. (2008c) Google Knol: Google’s answer to Wikipedia. Is there a potential advantage for Conductive Education? Conductive World, 26 July
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html

Feel-good blog

Focus is conductor’s own happy family life

Eszter Richardson was the first student-conductor to transfer from the Pető Institute in Budapest to the National Institute of Conductive Education in Birmingham part-way through her initial conductor-training.

Eszter graduated in 2005 and lives with her English husband and two-year-old daughter in Beverley in Yorkshire, by England’s sunny East Coast. She has been blogging since August.

Her blog is called Richardson-UK. At the top she writes:

Rohan a vilag, fejlodik a technika, igy ugy gondoltuk, hogy mi is csatlakozunk a xxi. szazadhoz...jo bongeszest a blogunkon! [The world is rushing on and technology developing so fast that we thought that we’d better join the 21st century… enjoy playing on our blog]

adding in English

This is a bilingual blog, so both Hungarian and English-speaking visitors can follow everything that is happening to us.

Visit Eszter’s blog at http://richardson-uk.blogspot.com/

Conductor-mothers (and conductor-fathers)

Most conductors around the world are women and many of these have or will be having children of their own though what follows should of also course equally apply to male conductors and conductor-fatherhood).

I have often wondered whether their experience of training and practicing as conductors has affected their parenting and if so how. Everything says that it should have and for the good, but does it? I have talked informally about this with a few conductor-mothers and mothers-to-be but have never had a formalized account.

When conductors have children, some stop work altogether but many return to conducting, some very soon, others after a much longer parenting break. Some longer-term conductor mothers who want or need a part-time job during this ‘in-between time’ find a nearby Conductive Education service that is glad and (lucky) to find convenient sessional or relief help but others have nothing and have to turn their skills to other purposes.

Eszter is in just such a situation and has found what sounds a well-suited occupation for a conductor-mother. She has become a trained and franchised baby-signing teacher for TinyTalk, running three classes in Beverley and Walkington, East Yorkshire.

Baby signing

This does sound an ideal occupation for a conductor-in-motherhood. The outline job-description on TinyTalk’s invitation to train as a baby-signing teacher calls for recruits who are:

…lively, enthusiastic, can sing, have an interest in baby signing… organised, self confident and want a job that has flexible hours that fits in with family life and term time…

Baby signing has been devised for normally developing children and at first sight may seem hardly suitable for children with motor disorders and their families. Further consideration does spark off the possibility of possible elaborations, practical and theoretical, of potential benefit parent-child interaction within for example conductive parent-and-child work.

Conductors feeling good?

Eszter began her blog in August. On 4 October, also from England, conductor Judit Szathmary began a blog that is very different in content but very 'feel good' in intent.

Coincidence, or what?

Notes

RICHARDSON-UK

http://richardson-uk.blogspot.com/

Baby Signing

http://www.tinytalk.co.uk/

Eszter’s baby-signing classes

http://www.tinytalk.co.uk/baby-signing-classes/baby-signing-beverley-richardson.htm

Judit Szathmary's feel-good blog

http://sourcesense.blogspot.com/








Monday, 20 October 2008

Русские приходят / The Russians are coming

A new force on CE’s horizon?

Last Tuesday there was a Russian visitor at the National Institute of Conductive Education, coincidentally the same day as I had my first article published in Russian. These two events were only indirectly related, and I do not like talk of synchronicity except where there is an underlying material reason to be found. Two in the same week is just a coincidence… all the same, is there something happening out there?

The visitor, Professor Irina Khomskaya, is a pedagogue from Saint Petersburg, while my article was published in Moscow in a magazine/journal edited by a psychologist, Professor Nikolai Veraksa: they represent rather different worlds, though they do have in common no previous contact with Conductive Education.

They also have in common their common intellectual heritage of a certain way of understanding human learning and development, pedagogy and upbringing, and the role of meaningful adult-child interaction in bringing about human mental development.


Russia

Russia has suffered and is suffering massive social change, not dissimilar in some ways to what we in the West have experienced over the last few decades but happening so much faster and perhaps reaching so far deeper. Family life in Russia is severely affected. The old certainties, the goals and methods of how to bring up children, are in disarray or entirely swept away. Parents do not know what to do for the best in bringing up their children. Grannies (babushki) have to work and are no longer available to help, the once magnificent network of kindergartens has almost vanished – so parents are left to work out what to do on their own.

No wonder family size has dropped, with many young adults turning away from parenthood altogether. The birthrate has plummeted, the population is in decline and the country faced a demographic time bomb. Concern for what to do about all this reaches right up to Dimitri Medvedev, the President of the Russian Federation.

Irina Khomenko’s visit

Professor Khomenko leads the Department of Family Pedagogy and Psychology at the Gertsen Pedagogic University in Saint Peterburg, the first such department in Russia, training young people to work with dysfunctional families in schools, clinics and social organizations. She believes that part of the solution to the present problems of familes must be family education and is seeking out new models for adaptation at home.

Irina Khomenko was here on a one-week study visit to acquaint herself with what we in Britain today understand of how families operate (what I gather sociologists now call ‘family practice’), and how government policies predicate upon a long-term ‘universalistic’ strategy, a two-generational approach to parent-child interaction. So, of course she saw children’s centres – and she also went to the National Institute of Conductive Education to see its parent-and-child service.

As an aside. it is interesting to see how at least the rhetoric of mainstream state services for under-fives is falling into step around Conductive Education. Conductive Education has rather more than just rhetoric with respect to this and the conductive movement, certainly in the United Kingdom, should take much more general and explicit note of this congruence.

I have long held that it is far easier to convey the essence of Conductive Education to a Russian audience, any Russian audience, than it is to an audience, any audience, of Western specialists in therapy and special education. Irena’s visit bore this out, conductive parent-and-child work fitting closely to the template of her own intellectual background and her analysis of what is required in Russia today.

What does she say is required? Parents’ learning to value their children as subjects; intervention at the level of parent-child interaction; creating change through education, parental empowerment; democratisation of knowledge of how, especially over the Internet.

It does sound rather familiar…


The Internet


For the last seven years Irina has been developing and running a website called Inter-Педагогика (‘Inter-Pedagogy’), by now a colossal edifice of news reports, summaries of articles in newspapers, magazines and journals, and above all discussion and contributions by thousands of Russian-speaking parents at home and abroad.

Some of this information and advice has just been distilled and published in a book

When Russians really do something they do it with amazing enthusiasm, and do it big. Go look at Inter-Педагогикa to get a hint of this.


What has all this got to do with Conductive Education?
.
Not a lot, maybe. But a few weeks back Conductive World reported upon the possibility of a permanent Conductive Education Centre in Moscow, with the further, real possibility of conductor-training there in a very few years. Many individual Russians may be as poor as church mice but many are not On the contrary many are rich (some very rich indeed). And their society has access to enormous wealth. Russia is one of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and, present world recession or not, there seems little reason not to think that these four countries will still dominate the global economy by 2050.

If Russia is waking up to Conductive Education, then it has the money, the parents, the web-savvy and the ideological framework to change the centre of gravity of the conductive world.

The title of this article came from the 1966 Cold War film The Russians are coming, The Russians are coming. That was a comedy. If they do come…


Notes and references

Inter-Педагогика
http://www.inter-pedagogika.ru/

Irina Khomenko's book
Хоменкo, И. A. (2008) Перестаньте меня воспитывать: pебeнок в ceмье. Сaнкт-Петербуpг: Aзвука-клacсика

Nikolai Veraksa (in English)
http://www.veraksa.ru/enveraksa/page-view?walias=home

Previous articles on Conductive World
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/09/moscow-news.html
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/10/blog-post.html

The Russians are coming, The Russians are coming (trailer)
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=z_nGW7pWBDY&feature=related


Moral of the story: don’t panic

Konped closes shop

Sad and bitter end to ambitious project in Hungary

Yesterday’s item on discussion forums mentioned that the Hungarian Konped Forum has closed, along with Konped itself.

Till recently the Hungarian organization Konped had a considerable web presence but as this was published exclusively in Hungarian few people outside Hungary knew of it. Now there remains the closing statement of its founder, Sándor Turi, at http://www.konped.hu/, and one sad 'souvenir'.

This, in English, is what he says:


Welcome to the website!

I would like to thank everyone who supported the programme professionally, or helped in fulfilling it. Unfortunately, during this time I was unsuccessful in finding financial support.

Over the past eighteen months we were able to connect with more than seven-hundred conductors, at least electronically. With my colleagues, through letters and questionnaires to conductors, we tried to find out what in their opinion would be needed and how best to set up our programme. Through various forums and organisations, we tried to contact parents, helpers and supporters, to find out how things might be improved and what changes would be worth making in the present situation.

EXCEPT FOR THE PETÕ INSTUTUTE AND THE HUNGARIAN CONDUCTORS' ASSOCIATION THAT REPRESENT AND PROTECT THE COMMON INTERESTS OF CONDUCTORS, THERE IS NO ORGANISATION TO REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF EITHER PARENTS OR INDIVIDUALS WHO BENEFIT FROM CONDUCTIVE UPBRINGING, APART FOR THE ONE FOR FOSTER PARENTS. IN THE WHOLE OF HUNGARY TODAY THERE IS NO ORGANIZATION WHERE CHLDREN AND THEIR PARENTS CAN GO TOGETHER TO ACCESS AN ADEQUATE GROUP PROGRAMME.

I acknowledge that we are in the wrong place and at the wrong time, because everybody says yes, there is need for a programme like this, but when offered the chance to participate in the programme, they did not want to be part of it.

I can count on the fingers of my two hands those who contributed professionally to creating the programme, and who recognized the potential of joining forces, and the need and possibility for change in the situation of conductors in Hungary. It is not the foreign route that will transforma our professional career.

I have to recognize one or two old sayings: ‘ONE SWALLOW DOTH NOT A SUMMER MAKE!' And the most important one: ‘YOU CANNOT HELP THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT HELPING!’

I have not given up but it is necessary to stop the programme now as professional and financial resources have run dry. I myself have sacrificed several million forints on the programme. I know we could have put more into it but ‘YOU CAN’T KEEP POURING WATER INTO A BOTTOMLESS BUCKET!’

If my strength and my material possibilities permit, I would like to continue realising of the programme but I do not now know when this might be. It is necessary to recharge the cash register and to find the team to undertake the mission unselfishly.


With respect,


Sándor Turi
Vácrátót
1 October 2008


Notes

All that is left on the Internet
http://www.konped.hu/
http://www.parkfalu.hu/wp/

UK: another unthinking discrimination

No public scruitiny for special needs tribunals?

In an interview published this morning in The Times Sir Mark Potter, President of the Family Division,Britain's most senior family judge, has said that ‘in an age of transparency’ he favours allowing the media into children's care cases, subject to the discretion of the judge. In all cases, he said, the anonymity of the children involved, and where appropriate other parties, must be protected.

This radical step refers of course to ‘care’ cases, not to the routine Trubunals that decide how local authorities decide to meet what they themselves have defined as disabled children’s ‘special edcuational needs’. Yet again a relatively small but often bitterly misused group of citizens is being unthinkingly discriminated against.

There is no reason why children with disabilities and their families in dispute with the public authorities mandated to serve them should not have the same rights to a scruitinised hearing (with of course the same safeguards applying) as are other children and their families in parallel situations.

There is likely no sinister reasoning behind the distinction. Children with disabilities are simply different, outside normal considerations…

Commenting upon the judge’s comments, also in The Times this morning, Camilla Cavendish writes of child-care cases:

England and Wales are operating a secret state, where almost any discussion of your case is prevented to protect the ‘privacy of the child. Where courts [read ‘Tribumals’] only need the word of an ‘expert’ to remove [read ‘deny services to’] your child… Sir Mark's call for the opening of the family courts to the media is significant. He believes that greater scrutiny will show that the courts [Tribunals] generally work well. The argument I have always made is that we should put that to the test.

Her assesment that the courts do generally work may well be probably equally true of Tribunals deciding on how special eduational needs ought to be met, but here too the test of public scruitiny would be a further safeguard for the rights of disabled children and their families to be fairly and fully considered before local authorities set them asise.

Action?

An hour ago the Press Association reported that Justice Secretary Jack Straw is set to announce the decision to reverse Government policy next month and open Family Courts to the media.
Well, we shall see, but if he does then continuing secrecy shrouding official gobbledygook about meeting disabled children’s special educational needs, advanced so easily in the Tribunals as 'expertise', will stand out all the more starkly an even uglier blot upon our society.

References

Gibb, F (2008) Media must be allowed into family courts, says Sir Mark Potter. The Times, 20 October
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article4974534.ece

Cavendish, C. (2008) A secret state is operating in which families are being torn apart, The Times, 20 October
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article4974575.ece

Press Association (2008) Fresh move to open up family courts, 20 October
http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWbrvvHUWqS-PlcujqudKJlo2OtQ

Some US judicial decisions in favour of Conductive Education

Sutton, A. (2008) Legal precedents in the United States, Conductive World, 28 August
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/08/legan-precedents-in-united-states.html

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Discussing Conductive Education on the Internet

Use it or lose it

Opening of the Elliot Clifton’s Conductive Community Forum last week has prompted a quick and probably not exhaustive review of Conductive Education discussions forums on the Internet.


From the United Kingdom

The internationally focused Conductive Community Forum commenced operation at the beginning of last week:

http://www.conductive-community.com/


From North America

There is a small but heartfelt Discussion Forum on Café Mom:
http://www.cafemom.com/group/50043/

ACENA (Association for Conductive Education in North America) runs a clutch of Forums but they are desperately quiet:

IACEA (Inter-American Conductive Education Association has a Forum on-line but it has virtually never been used:

From Germany

The Bundesverband der in Deutschland tätigen KonduktorInnen [Federal Association or Conductors Active in Germany] actively maintains an elegant site but its Forum is almost bare.

http://www.konduktorenverband.de/index.php?do=viewforum


From Hungary

Konduktív Pegagógiai Szakmoi Fórum (‘Conductive Education Professional Forum’) has vanished, along with the rest of Konped:

http://www.konped.hu/forum/

This will be subject to a specific report soon

The lavish and generally well maintained Konduktor site has provided a Forum for more that a year now but this has been barely used:

Like in a garden, weeds can blow in and take root in neglected corners. Look at the company that László Szögeczli has attracted to his posting of a year ago (better be quick now that I’ve pointed it out):


From Switzerland

The Forum provided by the foundation Second Step seems unused:


And also...

Then there is also the mysterious and totally empty site http://www.conductor.org/ from who knows where, running an equally impenetrable Forum – though maybe this is for a different kind of ‘conductor’ altogether!

Over the years I have noticed new websites published by various centres promising to open a Forum but, as far as I am aware, none of these have amounted to anything. Do tell if they have...


Other ways

Conductivists may express themselves on other Forums, for example parents contributing to cerebral palsy forums who from time to time may mention Conductive Education, or Hungarian conductors who may mention their work on the general website for Hungarians around the world. All for the better in the given contexts, and it may even do a little to help other people remember that there is such a thing as Conductive Education (what if anything they make of it is another mater). But this does not allow for much if any discussion of the matters raisesd by others with a similarly ‘conductive’ concerns, writing with specifically 'conductive' audiences in mind. It does not advance the understanding of the field.

Then of course there are social networks, blogs, knols, vlogs etc. These are not creatures out of space operas but other means for interaction across Cyberspace. It is probably safe to assume, however, that most people in Conductive Education are unaware of most of these (other than, for some anyway, through personal social networking).


Use it or lose it

Present-day discussion of issues in around Conductive Education, on the Internet or through the traditional media may reasonably be typified as negligible. The ‘natural history’ of forums specifically on Conductive Education is that they begin with high hopes, few if any people make postings (certainly few if any of those who might be regarded as holding authority in the field), then a quick feedback loop is under way. An empty site attracts few repeat visitors, postings are therefore sparse, and without potential readers, they tail off altogether. The site dies and stays dead.

There are plenty of discussion forums around, waiting for people to use them, and language need be no barrier.

So what is the problem?

Or can we not even discuss that?

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Straws in the wind

International Conductive Education is growing up

Three bits of information this week, with something important in common?

The new Conductive Community Forum is published by Elliott Clifton, who first experienced Conductive education as a small boy at the Pető Institute.

Susie Mallett’s consultation with the parents of two little children with cerebral palsy was made in collaboration with an eighteen-year-old client who has been in Conductive Education since he was eight.

And, a few days ago, posting a personal selection of Conductive Education videos from YouTube, I was reminded of the remarkable video of Shay Allais, the articulate young man whose conductive upbringing has been thanks to Tsad Kadima and was subject to an earlier item on Conductive World when it was first published at the end of last year.

One thinks of various vocal subsets within the Conductive Education movement, ‘the parents’, ‘the conductors’ etc, each with their own slant on where we are, what we should be doing, and maybe even what is this thing called Conductive Education . Here, though is another sector emerging, young adults who have grown up living other people’s conductive dream.

Increasingly we should be soon hearing their voices, what they have to say on such matters.

Notes and references

Conductive Community Forum
http://www.conductive.community.com/

Mallet, S. (2008) Working together, Conductor, 14 October
http://konduktorin.blogspot.com/2008/10/working-together.html

Tsad Kadima – The best place for a child with C.P. to grow up
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=5TwmiV4azFc

Sutton, A. (2007) Some CE inspiration: Shay Allias, Conductive World, 26 December
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2007/12/some-ce-inspiration.html

CE videos on line: See directory, to the left of this page

Conductor’s personal website closes

Reminder of impermanence of things

Klára Barnay’s website in German and in English was possibly the very first personal homepage from a conductor.

It has been published by AOL Hometown. This is now closing down, reminder to us all that the Internet itself, including its big players, is subject to economic and commercial forces. Nothing lasts for ever and AOL reminds visitors to Klára’s site to back up and save their own on-line material.

There is still of course the fall-back resource of the Wayback Machine for retrieving discontinued websites from the Internet’s darkest vaults… but that might not last for ever either!

You might like a last look at Klára’s homepage before it vanishes (it really is a little glimpse into the past). This is where you can find in for just a very little while now:

http://members.aol.com/KBarnay/internet/start.html


The Wayback Machine

http://www.archive.org/index.php
Simply type into Search the old URL (Internet address) of a site that is no longer being maintained in the Internet, the click Take Me Back and... presto!

Another small step forward in France

Permanent service in Pouilly-sur-Loire from New Year

From January next, the project A Petits Pas in the village of Pouilly-sur-Loire will be making the big step to running a small, daily, morning kindergarten service, with the possibility of a parent-and-child service to follow.

The local association that runs A Petit Pas, l'Association Enfance Handicap Moteur, is looking to recruit its first full-time conductor. The association will also provide French lessons and reminds applicants that conductors who are citizens of the European Union will need no visa or work permit to live and work in France. Salary will be equivalent to that of a French schoolteacher and there is generous help on offer over accommodation.

A previous report on Conductive Education in France suggested that the parents’ movement there has been following the general line of what has happened in the English-speaking countries. This latest development, with a small, local, personal initiative stepping up a gear, from visits to Budapest and visiting conductors of its own, to establishment of a permanent footing, seems to confirm that this tendency is continuing.

Notes and reference

L'Association Enfance Handicap Moteur: ‘A Petits pas’

http://apetitpas.over-blog.fr/

Job advert

http://www.conductive-education.org.uk/2008/1610job03.htm

Informal overview of CE (‘EC’) in France

Sutton, A (2008) French movement gathers pace: parallels with Anglophonie, Conductive World, 6 April
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/04/french-movement-gathers-pace.html

Friday, 17 October 2008

КОНДУКТИВНОЕ ВОСПИТАНИЕ

РЕВОЛЮЦИЯ ДЛЯ СЕМЕЙ
Cтатья Эдpю Cаттoна в русскoм языке
Представьте себе, несколько детей сидят на матах со своими родителями и играют. Комнату наполняет смех и пение. Игры, песни, игрушки привычны для жизни любой семьи. Здесь родители тоже одевают детей, едят с ними, играют, и малыши не просто сидят, а активно принимают различные роли, решают, чем они хотят заниматься, а чего делать не желают. Происходящее – продукт взаимодействия ребенка и взрослого. Не удивительно, что в рамках пары дитя-родитель (этой диады) ребенок и взрослый будут совершать любое действие по-особому - в своем ритме, достигая своего индивидуального результата и сопровождая действия эмоциями, (разделяемыми лишь участниками) характерными для этой пары. Вместе с детьми родители учатся учиться: родители осваивают особую форму воспитания, получившую название «кондуктивное воспитание»

[…]

Все эти дети страдают от церебрального паралича, что часто связано и с интеллектуальными нарушениями. Многие родители, начавшие посещать подобные группы, уже столкнулись с трудностями обучения своих детей. Дети и взрослые не смогли овладеть даже базовыми умениями; процесс развития все больше описывался словами «я не могу этого сделать», а не (предложениями) фразами типа «я сделаю это», что, в свою очередь, сказалось на мотивации, усилиях и отношениях между ребенком и родителем. Вместо надежды на будущее взрослые демонстрировали свое разочарование, смирение, отчаяние, что приводило к нарушению главной сферы обучения – обучению умению учиться.

Известно, что воспитание детей, которые имеют проблемы со слухом или зрением, должно опираться на обходные пути развития, позволяющие избежать отрицательного влияния исходного нарушения на ход становления психики ребенка. Только сейчас во всем мире начинают признавать, что психическое развитие детей с нарушениями моторики (которая является вроде бы обособленной сферой, не связанной напрямую с мышлением, восприятием или воображением) может быть неуспешным. Без помощи со стороны специалиста его родители могут легко смириться с физическими аномалиями ребенка и относится даже к неадекватному поведению как к нормальному. В свою очередь, ребенок может научиться извлекать из подобного отношения свою выгода – из потакания и жалости у малыша может развиться синдром «выученной беспомощности», и он всю жизнь будет зависеть от окружающих.

Перевод А.Н.Веракca
http://www.ya-roditel.ru/upload/iblock/cda/cda57d32bc793776e8a29a916c101dd5.pdf
 For readers in English…
This item quotes from a Russian-language article by Andrew Sutton (published in the magazine/journal Cовременное Дошкольное Образование. Теория и практика [‘Pre-school Education Today: theory and practice’]. The article is titled ‘Conductive upbringing a revolution for families with children suffering from cerebral palsy’. The first paragraph quoted above here describes a typical parent-and-child session at the National Institute of Conductive Education in Birmingham, England, some ten years or so ago. The second and third paragraphs above briefly introduce some theoretical aspects of this approach within the mechanisms of parent-child transaction, including the notion of ‘teaching how to learn’ and the danger of creating ‘taught/learned dependence’.

Russian-speaking readers are directed to the full Russian text, below.

Читать польнyю статью

Cаттoн, Э. (2008) Кондуктивное воспитание: революция для семей с детьми, страдающими от церебрального паралича, Cовременное Дошкольное Образование. Теория и практика, 04/2008:
http://www.ya-roditel.ru/upload/files/satton.pdf

Finance CE through a loan?

Possibility for US and Canadian parents

Kevin Hickling writes from Ability Camp in Ontario...

As a parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy I am well aware that our North American medical system has been pushed to the breaking point and there is less and less money available in the system to help our families. Resources for therapy are currently stretched to their limits and the recent turmoil in the economy is going to make this problem even worse as the government looks for more ways to cut costs...

Although we are not in a position to finance people ourselves we have recently formed an affiliation with Med Loan Finance who can help families from the US arrange financing in a number of various forms...

If you are interested in these programs you can apply online to

and you should be able to find out within one day if you qualify.

For futher information on this and on charities that have also helped Canadian and American families, email Kevin direct at:

or phone him on 1-800-442-6992.


Further information on Ability Camp:

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Canadian pioneer shows another new way…

Jerry (Jerzy) Maslanka launches first CE vlog

The economy might be tottering but communication technology marches on.

Most of us scurry along behind, we’ve just about mastered email, we can do a simple search and just a very few of us run simple sites of our own. Jerry Maslanka is more of a boundary-pusher and today has launched Conductive Education’s first vlog.

You can see it at:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=jerzy36maslanka

What is a 'vlog'?

Go and see. It’s self-explanatory, looks idiot-proof and you can get started for the cost of a webcam and mic. (if you or your kids don’t already have them!).

For those of us who hate typing but love to talk it looks very, very tempting indeed. If people have something to say this potentially brings about a revolution in the ease of communicating developments, news, views, pletyka, debate, concerns, reassurance. That’s communication in any language.

Jerry has led the way (if you know of any other CE vlogs already running, do please correct me). Who will be second, third, fourth…?

Very brief biographical note

Jerry Maslanka was the parent-pioneer of Conductive Education in Canada (Calgary, Alberta), following hard on the heels of Sue Sweeny in the United States (Seattle, Washington).

That was a long time ago now! I’m sure that he won’t mind my mentioning that he also represents the apotheosis of the Polish plumber (see http://www.swiftdraft.ca/ for Swiftdraft, the company that he runs with his wife Krystyna )

Monday, 13 October 2008

It’s back: new Discussion Forum launched

Use it or lose it

Discussion Forums, then and now

The ‘old’ CE Discussion Forum was often a rough-and tumble place. Some people just didn’t know how to behave while others all too easily took umbrage and went off and sulked. There are still people who refuse to have anything to do with communicating on the Internet because of some real or perceived slight experienced on the CE Discussion Forum several years ago.

It would be nice to think that people in Conductive Education are a little more sophisticated now.

The new form, like the old, offers the facility of expressing oneself in any language, and posting anonymously, or using a pseudonym (like András Pető used to do). For all the faults of the few in the past, such possibilities allowed all sorts of interesting information and ideas to come out into the open, from all round the world. Let’s hope that this spirit can be recaptured and surpassed.

Heaven knows that, more that ever in these tumultuous times, Conductive Education needs all the information, bright ideas, dire warnings and, above all, communication that it can get,

Communication?

Between conductors and non-conductors, employers and employees, people speaking different languages, conductivists and those outside the system, service-users and professionals, ‘researchers’ and everybody else… and just between individuals who, when it all boils down, is where it really matters.

Back to a community?

There have been umpteen other attempts to launch Conductive Education discussion forums over the years. For the most part they have died the death, brought about simply by not being used. It’s up to you now folks. Use it or lose it.

This new forum is headed Conductive Community Forum. There’s an optimistic term from another age! My personal inclination now is to use the looser and more dynamic term ‘conductive movement’ since, in the absence of a coherent, organised community, the word 'movement' can stretch all the way to include the movement of headless chickens! The new discussion forum is a timely reminder of the movement's need to coalesce and a welcome practical initiative towards achieving real community.

One Internet discussion forum alone will not make all that difference but the fate of this open facility over the next few months might offer an interesting litmus test of the CE movement’s present capacity for mature public discussion of issues that matter for the future well-being of Conductive Education.

Conductive Community Forum

http://www.conductive-community.com/

Sunday, 12 October 2008

New Internet address for Conductive Web

CE blogs in English, French and Portuguese

The Conductive Web provides up-to-date briefing on the latest postings on active blogs from within the Conductive Education blogosphere.

Newly revised, the Conductive Web has three pages: the first for frequently updated CE blogs; the second for sites mentioning CE less frequently; and a third, as yet vacant, tantalisingly entitled ‘Some CE search tools’.

From now on you will find the Conductive Web at its new Internet address:

http://www.netvibes.com/conductiveweb#CE_Blogs

Webmaster Norman Perrin says that the move has been necessary from Conductive Web's former site on Pageflakes because of continuing difficulties with feeds from blogs using the popular Blogger technology. The Pageflakes site will not be maintained so, if you have it bookmarked or tagged, change your setting to the new URL.

If you post a blog that deals with Conductive Education, even if only occasionally, but is not included on Conductive Web – or if you just know about one – then do please let Norman know direct:

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Private consultancy update

Multi-approach service starting up in North Wales

Back in February Conductive World reported on three new conductor-consultancies in the United Kingdom. This also gave opportunity to acknowledge the activities of longer-established private practices in the CE sector worldwide.

Now another UK conductor had taken the plunge into private practice and gone public with this on the Internet.

Lisa Kovacs is one of the Scope-trained conductors (trained at the Pető Institute and Keele University) and has practiced in CE in the UK since 1994 and, over the last five years, has also practiced Applied Behaviour Analysis. She has wide practical experience in both Conductive Education and ‘special educational needs’ generally she but has also served as a senior manager/ headteacher and is recognised as an Advanced Skills Teacher, worked closely with the Welsh inspection service, Estyn, trained as a peer-assessor and part-trained as an Additional Inspector. She therefore has insight into the official requirements upon children’s and educational service.

She lives in North Wales where specialist services of any kind are sparse. She is looking for different ways to progress in the worlds of Conductive Education/special needs and intends to explore the consultancy/private practice route.

Her consultancy is provisionally called Conductive Alternatives Cymru (Cymru, pronounced something like ‘Kumree’, is the Welsh for Wales), under which name she has put together a 'tester' website:

http://www.learningalternativescymru.co.uk/.

The website indicates how conductive services for children with motor disorders will be embedded within a wider range of practical approaches, from art therapy to ABA, and are directed to a wider range of developmental disorders

Update

Of the six consultancies, old and new, mentioned back in February:

There is no recent news of Erzsébet (Majorovicz) Gordon.

Gabor Temleitner has considerably enhanced his website.

Lászlo Szögetszki has very considerably extended his Internet presence with a blog, and participation in an MS project leading to a published project with an attendant video on YouTube
There is no recent news of Judit Roth in the United States, though the two established international consultancies continue to promote their services with the same vigour as ever:

Judit Szatmáry has recently begun a blog

Agnes Borbély's website now comes in fourteen languages.

Internet guide to conductor consultancies

Cerebral Palsy Solutions: Judit Roth
http://www.conductiveedconsulting.com/

Conductive Education Support Services: Judit Szatmáry
http://www.conductive-educationsupport.com/

Independent Conductive Education Services: Lászlo Szögetszki
http://www.i-ce-s.com/
Blog
MS research report

Learning Alternatives Cymru: Lisa Kovacz
http://www.learningalternativescymru.co.uk//

Moira: Agnes Borbély
http://www.moira-cec.hu/

Path for the Disabled: Erzsébet (Majorovicz) Gordon
http://pathforthedisabled.co.uk/default.asp

QCET: Gábor Temleitner
http://www.qcet.net/

There are surely more dotted around the world… it would be good to hear of them.

Previous item on conductor consultancies

Sutton, A. (2008) Private practice: growth of consultancy, Conductive World, 17 February
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/02/personal-practice.html

Friday, 10 October 2008

Jerzy Maslanka: more video to come...?

Indeed there are

Jerzy (Jerry) has now posted more archive footage. There's a second Princess Di clip and, more substantitativly, an extensive TV report of his own family's early CE experience.

You can see all three at:

http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=jerzy36maslanka

It is promised that there will be more.


Previous posting

http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/10/lady-dee-visits-pet-institute.html