Sunday, 2 November 2008

The elephant in the room

Let’s bring it into the light

I noticed when writing the previous item that, quite unthinkingly, I have started writing ‘Konduktive Förderung’ in inverted commas... just one step short of referring to it as 'so-called'.

This is not meant to be dismissive, just acknowledgement that, whatever it is, this Austro-German practice is its own thing and ought to be acknowledged as such, in terms of its essence, its methods, its goals and its theoretical base.

Elephant? What elephant?

Konduktive Förderung is not part of what might be conveniently typified as ‘blood-line’ Conductive Education and, despite frequent invocation of András Pető, it is not the 'Pető method' either. Certainly, exposure to the 'Pető method' by one means or the other has played as an important role in its various origins, but so have other things, and the resulting amalgam may on examination prove to be something rather else (valuable in its own right no doubt but its own thing nevertheless).

Openly posing this question is a first step towards shedding light on the elephant in Conductive Education’s room, perhaps beginning to understand what is going on in Conductive Education (not only in the German-speaking region by any means) and moving towards an explicit typography of the heritage of András Pető in the twenty-first century.

What is the elephant in Conductive Education’s room? It is that the term ‘Conductive Education’ has been for a long time appropriated to cover practices that are neither necessarily ‘conductive’ nor even ‘educational’. I stress again that to raise this question is neither to deny the intellectual validity of such practices in their own right, nor the human benefits that they might impart to their users. It is simply to ask for a little terminological niceity.

Nor, as has been already stated, it this to imply a specifically German situation. There are or have been formal, accredited training courses in such practices in Melbourne, Vienna, Siegen, Munich, Scotland, Chicago, Tromsø, Hong Kong, each different in its own way but having in common a lineage that traces itself back to András Pető by way of Ester Cotton.

This is a very big, international elephant and, as has often been remarked here and elsewhere, is now so big as to begin to obscure the view of what I have referred to above as the blood line – easily done since over the years CE’s blood line has been very bad at defining and shedding light on its own identifying characteristics.

Let’s have it out in the open

I readily acknowledge that there is more than one view possible on the situation as I have outlined it above and that many people hold very dearly to quite different interpretations of this matter. There are plenty of situations where divergent or conflicting positions might be discussed, though it is clear that over the years conferences and congresses have not been one of them! Nor for years have the print media.

So, what now…?

1 comment:


    This passage has been translated into English at: