Saturday, 30 May 2009

Judit Szathmáry withdraws from CE blogosphere

Look down the left-hand column on this page, at the section headed CE BLOGOSPHERE, and you will find the accustomed notification of a recent posting by of Judit Szathmáry on her Sourcesence blog.

I spotted the most recent one last Sunday afternoon, soon after it appeared. I noted that it involved a song in Gaelic sung by Irish singer Enya, and mentally put it aside to look later.

Before I could, however, I received an email from Susie Mallett in Germany: ' When I clicked on Judit on your blog, it says her blog has been removed from the blogosphere'. Indeed it had, leaving only the harsh, formal death-knell that all bloggers dread, the borne from which no living blog returns:

Blog has been removed

Sorry, the blog at has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs

All in space of a few hours.

Direct enquiry elicits that Judit is exasperated by lack of response and encouragement from conductors, and can think of better things to do with her life.


I know just how you feel.....

In risk of being repetitive, here is another example of a real, identifiable casualty of a failure to communicate within Conductive Education. Poor Judit feels let down by her peers because of it.

It can indeed be dreadfully discouraging to put your heart into something and then get not a peep to suggest that anyone has even noticed. Rejection, ridicule, argument, even aggression, they're fine and there are ways of dealing with such negative responses. Being simply ignored and discounted, now there's a real bummer.

Notes from other bloggers about this over the last week confirm that if you blog then you cannot rely upon the number of dots on your map for your satisfaction. Writing and publishing have to be their own reward. The specialist field of CE-blogging is a real niche market, one in which the relatively few bloggers deeply appreciate their 'regulars' and everybody hopes that those who lurk as readers, sometimes maybe posting comments on what they read, will one day take the step into publishing for themselves.

And as Judit's experience emphasises, there's little need to worry about what people will think or say! Rather to the contrary!

Ave atque vale, o Purpura

So hale and fare well, o Purple One. As fitting requiem here is the song that Enya was singing when you went off line.

Book of days (with English words)

Most apposite!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Second announcement

First announcement of this vacancy was made on 14 May:

The vacancy is at Educaçao Condutiva Con Amor, in the city of Florianópolis in the State of Santa Catarina in Brazil.

Brazil may prove an important country in the future development of Conductive Education. Con Amor is small but pioneering centre and its founder, Leticia Kuerton, has played a leading role in the growing interest in Conductive Education there, hence the strategic significance of this job mentioned in the first announcement.

The successful applicant will need to learn Portuguese (help will be given in this, formal and informal).

The present conductor is Becky Featherstone, who is English. She is making her own significant contribution both to developing Con Amor and also helping lay the foundation for Brazilian Conductive Education.

This position will be available from early 2010. It may particularly suit an early-career conductor, flexible, imaginative and eager to adapt.

Some further information

Recent video on Santa Catarina (in English)

Educaçao Condutiva Con Amor (blog in Portuguese)

Example of Con Amor’s activities: upcoming summer school (in English)

Becky Featherstone’s Brazilian Adventure (blog in English)

Further enquiries, in English, to Leticia Kuerten at:

Include a CV, tell a little about yourself, and include the names and contact details of two people willing to act as referees.


[This is a long article, over three thousand words from five authors, perhaps of interest chiefly to conductors and those who employ them. Scroll down now if you would rather read previous articles: three-week summer course for children and parents in Brazil, ‘disastrous women’, persistence and progress in the Mid-West…]

A week ago Conductive World published an article exhorting people in Conductive Education, conductors most especially, to greater public expression of what they actually do. Here is its gist:

…conductors as a group have created very little communicable knowledge about their actual practice and their understandings of what they do….

There are no books on the day-to-day minutiae of conductive pedagogy and conductive upbringing, no tradition of writing articles for journals, magazines or even newsletter, and as far as I can discern there is still only one conductor creating an on-line corpus of accounts of everyday practical minutiae…

This is all a most unhealthy situation. Dysfunctional, you might say.

There is only one way to resolve this disharmony. Others should take up the pen. It could be you.

Late that night a quite contrary opinion was expressed as a Comment on this article. Within the next forty-eight ten comments were posted here on Conductive World, along with separate postings on two other CE blogs.

It was a satisfying little discussion to be involved in, even if, the anonymous first respondent aside, the contributors did come from amongst usual suspects with respect to expressing themselves in this context.

The discussion in full

21 May 2009 23:11

This so stupid advice. Conductors, do not tell what you do. People copy and say this is Conductive Education. Then everybody does it. Do not tell the work so therapists and assistants can do everything.

Tünde Rózsahegyi
22 May 2009 08:25

Dear Anonymous!

I tend to think that you either did not understand the posting or you are rather narrow minded with your thinking about the future of CE.

CE therefore could not get a reasonable status so far because it lack of theoretical justification and dissemination of its experiences. In the 21st century I am afraid the only way to do this is via research and publications. Just like in any other disciplines his happens via professional and academic journals, literature, conference presentations and so on, without the fear of that the audience will 'copy' or 'pinch' the information.

Historically, so many other people have said their say about CE, so many commentaries are available but the conductors’ voice is really unheard.

Andrew is right, we cannot anticipate academic recognition and practical advancement before it is actually clarified what is CE from the practice point of view. We (conductors) cannot have it both ways, complaining about the lack of recognition without sharing what to do and standing up for it in a proper, professional and academic manner, engaging in dialogues with others who rightly do not take CE seriously without evidence from the practice.

This will not simply help to gain recognition by those who are cynical about CE at the moment but will also help conductors to reflect on their practice and encourage to develop it further to suit the ever-changing needs of families and fit with the context they work in.

Yes, the situation is unhealthy or perhaps dysfunctional as Andrew suggests, but it is not fatal. Conductors slowly contribute to the development of the discourse in very small steps. The question is will we have time to take small steps before we miss the boat?

Andrew Sutton
22 May 2009 13:23

I wish that I could have put it as well as has Tünde.

Just one small point, though.

Tünde writes: 'CE therefore could not get a reasonable status so far because it lacks theoretical justification and dissemination of its experiences. In the 21st century I am afraid the only way to do this is via research and publications.'

I do not agree here with the word 'only'. Ultimately, surely decisions, reputations, public status etc. derive from political, micro-political, even personal factors within 'the system'
Research etc. are all very well, but if services were provided only on this basis there would have been very little of the existing system established in the first place, never mind left standing now!

Ultimately, on this analysis, CE's future will depend upon winning 'hearts' as much as 'minds', i.e. it will be a political process. Achieve this, create the Holy Cow status currently enjoyed by, say, inclusion, physiotherapy and multi-agency services in the preschool, and then no one will take notice of what might be established as 'the facts'. That will have to wait for the historians to pick over when it all safely doesn't matter any more.

Do inclusion, physiotherapy, multi-agency working, merit their current esteem. Who knows? They don't have the same burden of proof upon them as does CE. Why not? Now there's a very interesting question for research, again probably most safely left to the historians.

Meanwhile, my position on the need to open the windows on to CE and let the world see what is really involved here on all sorts of levels, is also vital to generating the much-needed 'political' support for CE.

I have a sneaking feeling, though, that there is something else required here to achieve this, something above simply informed knowledge and awareness. I just can't think what that might be and, if and when it comes, then this might be as much by chance as the result of analysis and planning

.Joanna Lumley did it for the Ghurkas, against every likelihood. What unpredictable factor, what deus (or dea) ex machina, might crack this problem for us?

Tünde Rózsahegyi
22 May 2009 17:52


I appreciate your comment and I must agree with you. The point I tried to make was that raising the status of CE will not happen without the conductors making a more significant presence professionally and academically, or perhaps politically (for which we definitely will need another Joanna L...).

Maybe someone will come along to convince Gordon Brown and Co. but she will not be able to do it without the support of conductors who deliver practice and the only ones who can tell exactly what CE is. Parents and service-users will add their own perceptions to make a fuller picture. I wish it would happen in the UK and worldwide.

However I have a little problem. I am not fully sure what is our desire or what are we aiming for? In which way do we want CE to develop? The Gurkhas have a clear unambiguous objective to achieve. Do we have such common aims which are realistic and implementable?

OK, lets wait for the chance to come to improve the overall status of CE but are we using the waiting time effectively?

Gill Maguire
22 May 2009 18:06

I do agree with Tünde here as I have been trying for a long time to get conductors to write and contribute to library holdings.

I have elaborated on these concerns on my latest blog posting at:

Gill Maguire

To share or not to share, that is the question
22 May 2009 1752

Andrew Sutton’s blog postings referring to the lack of conductor participation in conferences,

and reluctance to write, evaluate, and ask questions about CE,

has prompted some strong reactions.

The point that financial considerations can limit participation at conferences is a valid one and probably goes a long way to explaining the lack of conductors at conferences

For example, a conductor working in the UK and wanting to attend the World Congress next December in Hong Kong would need to outlay 1500 pound sterling at least. And do it in advance, to book a place and a plane seat.

As to recording and sharing knowledge, it has been suggested that information should not be shared, as this encourages others to start their own practice when they are not qualified to do so. Surely other professions, such as doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, do this without such fears or predicted results? Most people realise that you can’t learn how to do something like this from just reading a book, paper or seeing a film, realise that more in-depth knowledge is needed and that this is provided by training. Otherwise there would be no need for training in anything, we could all learn by reading.

It is important to build a literature, to record practice either in paper form, on the Internet or on film. Collecting such material is what librarians do, bringing it together to make it easily accessible for those who want to learn more. If everyone refused to tell their ‘secrets’, the world would be a poorer and less knowledgeable place. As Tünde says, that is what helps to build respect for CE from other professions, and encourage researchers to investigate. I have asked hundreds of times over the years for conductors to write about their profession, with little result.

In fact, my last blog was on this topic.

It took eighteen years to build the collection held in the National Library. This includes material at all levels, some well written, presenting CE ‘properly‘, and some not doing so well but still helping to build a comparative literature, a basis for further study.

I heard an item on the radio last week about the statistics for domestic violence. Apparently some figures were being quoted by respected sources about this, which had been obtained from an inaccurate report. No one had queried their accuracy, even though the figures were unexpectedly high, before going on to refer to them. It made me think of Conductive Education and how this happens in a similar way. Because the people who know what it is, how it works etc don’t write it down and provide basic accurate information for those who wish to know more and understand it, so others use papers and books containing inaccurate facts in their research and thus compound the initial mistake.

So come on conductors, give it a go and help your profession move forward to a better acceptance and higher regard. Sharing can only help CE, not hinder.

Andrew Sutton
22 May 18:06

1. Tünde, you write: 'raising the status of CE will not happen without the conductors making a more significant presence professionally and academically, or perhaps politically'. Well, actually it COULD be done without the conductors. After all, that is precisely what had to happen in the first phase of internationalising Conductive Education.

As you imply at the end of your earlier Comment, though, for people with more pressing priorities (perhaps relatively well-off parents particularly, isn't that de facto what is already happening anyway? They not be willing to hang around and wait.

If change is driven almost wholly by others, conductors might not like the direction that it takes: by then, however, it might be too late to do other than complain!

2. You also write: 'In which way do we want CE to develop? The Gurkhas have a clear unambiguous objective to achieve. Do we have such common aims which are realistic and implementable?'

Who's 'we'?

Uniting at least a significant body of the sectional interests within Conductive Education would be a considerable political achievement! Is this really do-able? I suspect that most people would rather direct the enormous effort that this would absorb into getting on with more pressing problems that resolving differences within the conductive movement (herding kittens!).

We may just have to accept that there is more than one competing agenda here, and these may well be fundamentally irreconcilable. Again, this has happened before, and the nascent conductive movement fragmented as a result.

One simple and hardly contestable example of such an internal contradiction: the agendas of conductors and of those who use (and often pay for) their services may often conflict in a variety of ways. Those who read these words will probably have experiences and/or otherwise know of examples galore of this, and be able to think of their own examples of other group conflicts of interest within the conductive movement.And what about 'the conductors' themselves: hardly a coherent group! I guess that you better that I can think of the divisions and sub-divisions that abrade against each other within the conductors’ ranks.

The Ghurkas have not only had a commonly agreed goal to fight for, they are also a disciplined force. A disciplined force of conductors? Now there's a oxymoron to rival ‘police intelligence’!

3. You write of '...conductors who deliver practice ... the only ones who can tell exactly what CE is'. In response, I would gently enquire where is the empirical base for asserting this ability. I think that you are confusing 'should' with 'is' here!

It was my own belief that they most certainly SHOULD act towards such an ability, that prompted me in the first place to pen the item that is the subject of this thread of Comments.

4. You have also, however, acknowledged: 'Parents and service-users will add their own perceptions to make a fuller picture.' To my taste this does make service-users sound a bit secondary, whereas I would accord them at least equivalent significance.

Were I a service-user, a parent, say, and particularly a parent-activist with my own centre, I might be keen to restate in this context the old adage: 'Conductive Education is too important a matter to be left to the conductors'. As a conductor, you might wish to put it otherwise, say: 'Conductive Education is too important a matter to be left to the parents'.

5. And finally (at least, until you come back to me!) just maybe neither of these two significant sectional interest within the present conductive movement will be decisive for the future development of CE, because the world of Conductive Education as it currently stands may not itself be decisive in this future. The fascinating question then arises of just what might be...

PS You're too good, Tunde, to waste yourself unseen in the Comments pages of Conductive World., where even Google will not find you.

Don't be a village-Hampden. Get yourself your own blog. If the likes of you are not going to make your voice heard, then what hope...?

Tünde Rózsahegyi
23 May 17:39

Andrew and others,

This is what we need, this sort of discussion, but let's hear the conductors' perceptions too. Let's hear about the practice. We had long years of debates on the political and social agendas of Conductive Education, what about the pedagogical debates?

Let's discuss the teaching and learning of Conductive Education, just as there are discussions about such issues in other pedagogical/educational approaches.

Andrew Sutton
23 May 0846

Tünde, I couldn't agree with you more on everything that you say here.

And just to remove one possibly imagined barrier in some people's minds: there is nothing sacred about discussing such matters in the English language.

Conductive Education is at such a primitive stage in this respect that the central point is not that such discussions should be widely understood in an 'international language' but that they should be undertaken at all.

It matters not one jot whether conductive practice is described, analysed, criticised etc in this language or that. What matters is that this process should get started. at all.

This might be in Hungarian, or German, or Spanish, or Russian, or Hebrew, or Chinese, whatever. If other people rally want to take note of what is being written, in any language, then they will find a way to work it out. Conversely, if people want what they have written in their own languages to be more widely available, then they will take steps for others to take notice.

Either way, distilled and formulated understandings ought to have a better change to emerge in languages in which writers feel confident and comfortable, and better formulated understandings are desperately needed to strengthen the wider world view.

Sounds ideal! But I am no idealist, and I shall believe it when it happens. In making this remark, by the way, I do take due note of something that you wrote earlier in this thread: 'Conductors slowly contribute to the development of the discourse in very small steps...' Maybe writing in their own languages might so free the tongues of those for whom English is not their ffirst language that these 'very small steps' might break all the more easily into strides.

'The question is', you continued, 'will we have time to take small steps before we miss the boat?'

Never mind short steps, even strides may not be enough here. Conductors (and others) ought to be breaking into a run!

Susie Mallett
23 May 23:02

I was going to comment here yesterday but work didn’t finish until late. Today, I got carried away with what I was writing so my Comment has ended up as a posting on my own blog.

The posting contains my thoughts from yesterday, including those that I had before I had seen the comments from other people that followed on from Anonymous’s initial remark.

You can find all this at:

Susie Mallett
When it comes to the crunch
21 May 04:56

I have been reading with interest Andrew Sutton’s recent postings encouraging people not only to attend conferences but also to present papers or poster boards, or simply to advertise themselves on a stand.

I too get very exasperated because people in Conductive Education just don’t go. Then I suddenly realised that I am one of those people who don’t go, but I have tried and I will keep doing so.

Only six days ago I described how I had submitted a proposal to a conference in Finland.

(You can also see there what I wanted to say. I believe that it is important.)

I was prepared to pay some of the costs myself but I certainly could not afford all of it. I thought that I had found some financial help but this fell through and now I am well past the closing date anyway.

I wonder how many other conductors are actually trying to put themselves about, to attend conferences and spread the word, but are just not managing to get there.

When it comes down to it, if anyone from the conductive world goes to these things then most of the people who are able to make it are not conductors.

So where does this leave us with the development of our work and our knowledge?

We are probably not going to be doing it by way of conferences.

PS Maybe this is especially a problem now because of the “credit crunch”. I can see that it must be very difficult for people to promise that they will be able to afford to fund me in a few months' time. But I can also see that people who are arranging conferences have to know well in advance whether enough participants will be able to pay to be there.

None of this of course is my problem, at least not directly, except that I am stuck in the middle and don’t get to go!

Comments and discussion

There the discussion ended, for the moment anyway, more on this being imminent on Conductive World, and possibly elsewhere too. Maybe the matter had been exhausted, maybe new items coming in simply pushed these Comments too far down the page to be noticed.

One suspects that many of those who read Conductive World do not find their ways on to the Comments pages at all. A pity, because that is where this publication to some degree fulfils one of its original intentions, to generate a little public discussion around Conductive Education.

This is all the more necessary since CE discussion forums worldwide persist in failing to establish any real discussion, of anything.

Correspondence on this matter remains open. Do feel free to join in, whatever your opinion.

Thank you, Anonymous for kicking off this pleasant discussion far better than did the original article! Come again and say more.


Maguire, G. (2009) To share or not to share, that is the question, Conductive Education Library, 22 May

Mallett, S. (2009) When it comes to the crunch, Conductor, 21 May

Sutton, A. (2009) C’mon everybody. You have a world to gain, Conductive World, 21 May

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Introductory CE experience for Portuguese-speaking families
Educação Condutiva - com amor
Third three-week holiday course
(in Portuguese)
Ninety-seven hours of activities
13-31 July 2009
Mondays to Fridays
1030 to 1700 (starts 1000 on first day)
Parents take part along with their children to 1100
An opportunity for children to take part in ninety-seven hours’ Conductive Education activities in a pleasant environment, and in independent daily-life. Activities for parents too.

Groups will again be led by English conductor Becky Featherstone que vem de forma primorosa conduzindo as rotinas no Grupo Com Amor.

Further information

Two vacancies remaining. Personal enquiries to Leticia Kuerten on (48) 9167-6105

What's the problem, what's to be done about it?

Conductor László Szögeczki may have laid more than his head on the block in a posting on his blog earlier this evening, in which he writes:

There is a stereotype that women are, on average, more focused on relationships and more kind and considerate than man. This might be true - on average. However, if I think of my professional past, present, I just can not totally confirm this in our community. Despite that the ladies who involved with conductive education are immaculately giving their caring love to children, clients, they can be real disastrous to each other. Why is that? I do not know any good reason, but maybe some good answers can be collected.

If you have any 'good' answers please post them as Comments on Laszlo's blog:

Meanwhile, I am reminded of recent attention to questions of workplace bullying within Conductive Education:

As for 'collecting good answers', then never mind that. Better to do something about it. An effective conductors' trade union might go some way towards stamping out some of the negative things that might arise in the conductive workplace.


Szögeczki, L. (2009) Stengths of humanity, László Szögeczki's CE blog, 25 May

Monday, 25 May 2009

An epitome

I have only just come across a very good news article from February, in Gazebo News, the electronic community newspaper for Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, Illinois. So who cares? The giants of the US press certainly do. Such well-written, grass-roots, back-home journalism is an important factor in the present collapse of the traditional US newspaper industry.

The article that I have just read, written by journalist Adrienne Fawcett who established and runs Gazebo News, is a typical story of parental determination to access CE, so why mention here yet another of its kind?

Firstly, because it is compellingly written. If you want an example of a CE story like this (say for an assignment or to add to a portfolio that you are building up to make a case), then hang on to this one. It's well worth reading in full and you'll find it at:

Secondly, though, the human quality aside, crystalysed here in a single story are what by 2009 appear to be well established tendacies in the development of Conductive Education across the United States. Here are some points. presented in the order in which they occur.
  • small-town America
  • holistic therapy, leading to problem-solving and self-sufficiency
  • no state or federal funding
  • not covered by most insurance
  • family started CE in a centre that subsequently closed
  • well-organised community fundraising, to help others access CE
  • leading to establishment of local non-profit foundation
  • five-week local summer camp + visiting Hungarian conductor
  • works best in groups
  • now 15 to 20 children attend

Plus a nice parental analysis:

  • Conductive Education is not a cure, but its benefits are profound... I could tell the difference in her whole disposition... There's no limit to what she can do in our house...'

Along with not unexpected misemphases

  • muscle co-ordination
  • 'blends physical therapy with a Montessori approach'
  • conductor has a degree from the 'Peto University'

In a nutshell

Rugged and generous determination, a window created for CE where there was none before, triumph and disappointment, hope and persistence, strong local community support... This does seem the story of a sizable section of CE in the USA.

The story so far, anyway.

Reference and note

Fawcett, A. (2009) Basketball, Balloonist and Snow Cones, Gazebo News, 6 February

Sunday, 24 May 2009

What's yours?

James Forliti of the British Columbia Association for Conductive Education has just left a nice Comment on an earlier item in Conductive World. He writes:

Hi Andrew. One of the things I like about reading your blog is that I need my dictionary nearby; and I'm an English teacher!

I think that he means this as a complement (from someone who appreciates the semicolon, no less). I'm taking it that way anyway.

Pressure toward homogenisation

Over my career the register of how I write has gone round the houses and back again. When I was running the Foundation for Conductive Education it was pointed out to me that perhaps all those with whom I needed to communicate on its behalf might not not necessarily understand what I was saying to them and that the Foundation's cause might suffer correspondingly. There was some sense on this and I demoticised my style and my vocabulary accordingly. Hard sometimes, but salutary.

Then I was made reluctantly aware of the the recent concept of 'elitism' in public speech, that some some might take umbrage at this, and that umbrage is a powerful emotion (at least in some of the circles in which Conductive Education has moved). This served to reinforce the pressure towards demoticisation. I even tried to dumb down a bit in the service of wider ineligibility.

Bang went the half-nativised Latin words and phrases that had been a feature of so much of what I had read and said since childhood. Even 'i.e.' and 'e.g.' got the chop! Bang went a lot else too.

And then there has been the creeping influence of Microsoft. Readers of Conductive World will have noticed that I cannot type and that the text is littered with typos. I make a lot of use of spell checks. Along with these Microsoft also serves up a 'grammar check'. This can be very useful in spotting the odd slip but it goes impudently beyond grammar and into questions of syntax and style. I don't have much regard for Microsoft's rules of English syntax, nor do my (very British) manuals, and as for its notions of style, what can I say? It seems to have an outright revulsion for the passive mode and shies away in horror at what it calls 'long sentences'. For a time it was a useful discipline to review every example of such 'errors', till I realised that this was a slavery that was homogenising me.

There is another force for homogenisation, Conductive Education's global reach


Conductive Education is many things, one of which is a remarkable practical exercise in active, cross-national, cross-cultural, cross-lingual defectology. Wider mutual intelligibility is therefore a vital feature in the spread and influence of Conductive Education. Its lack is an impediment.

I have tried to internationalise my English. Basically, I maintain the conventions of British English but I do recognise reality and at times permit myself American usages. For example, I think that it is now time to recognise that the (to me) abomination of the use of the world 'billion' to refer to a mere mere one-hundred thousand has now overwhelmed the word's original British-English meaning. I am also happy to use the American word ' program' to denote a service or provision in North America, something for which the British 'programme' does not really include. I draw a personal line, however, over 'student' for 'pupil' or 'schoolchild'. There are limits!

And unlike most British people who write or speak for overseas consumption I try very hard to purge my work of terms that refer to specifically British institutions or practice. Where I cannot avoid British terms, then I try to remember to offer a brief explanatory note (e.g. '...educational psychologists', what 'school psychologists' are called in the United Kingdom').

Be yourself

I urge others to write in the mode in which they feel most comfortable, including writing in their native language. I also urge them to have a sense of audience. Like everyone, I find that these two important guidelines often enter into contradiction.

While I worked for a living, and therefore wrote for that living too, demoticisation, elitist flight, Microsoft's bullying and the pitfalls of internationalism, made for a creeping blandness that it has taken some time to shake off.

My present conscious formulation to writing (and speaking) is to retain lessons from earlier stages but above all to remember that I write Conductive World solely for my own enjoyment. Nobody's livelihood depends upon it (including my own). I am therefore free as I can be to follow my own advice and feel free to be myself.

If that turns some people off, then that's their privilege, not my problem. If some go racing to their dictionaries, then that's no more that I have had to do all my life. That what dictionaries are there for, to be raced to, often I hope.

The public language of Conductive Education

Well, James, that's where I am at the moment. No doubt I shill bounce too far but at least I know that I am bouncing. What about the public language of Conductive Education as a whole?

I used to try to teach student-conductors how to express themselves in a manner appropriate to the importance of their later task in communicating Conductive Education. Perhaps the most that I could aim at was to make them conscious that this is an issue, that there are skills and understandings involved here as in other aspects of their work as conductors, and that poor work in this aspect of practice will have the same blunting effect upon their impact as does poor work in anything else that they do.

I have no idea how much of this message they carried away with them or subsequently implemented, nor what they think of it now, but it was fun to do (I enjoyed it, anyway).

Not that much in fact is written publicly by conductors or others from within Conductive Education (though there is presumably a huge outpouring of non-public written material, both on paper and electronic) to meet all sorts of requirements to do with day-to-day operational requirements.
  • What is it like? What factors, what self-awarenesses, what instruction, what jargons, go to shape this aspect of the practice of Conductive Education?
  • How intelligible is it to its audiences, how well does it convey what those who wrote it actually think, what do its readers think in their turn when they read it?
  • What vocabularies are being adopted and what verbal accommodations created, blended with what (if any) models from the limited 'CE literature'?
  • How consciously is this seen as an issue a potential problem, a task to be solved?

Presumably the experience of these unpublic materials will serve as background to be drawn upon for public expression.

Those who will do this will doubtless be subject to the same pressures and constraints that I was, when I worked, and maybe others besides.

Just another little problem to be solved...


This has been written in the context of the English language.
Maybe things are different in others.

Friday, 22 May 2009

End-of-year BBQ at NICE

The end of the academic year in England and another batch of newly trained conductors off to seek their fortunes in the big wide world of Conductive Education. Time again for the informal Annual BBQ.

Overcast, a light misting of rain (and worse forecast), people clustering under the gazebos. Sausages and burgers. A cake to be cut. Punch and wine, fizzy for toasts. Low key, very English.

The conductor-training course at NICE is a boutique affair. It is the twelfth cohort graduating this year, only five this time round, four of them women. All the women have jobs waiting for them, the man will be going to the USA and will sort one out when he gets there. Three of the five come from outside the UK (Canada, Norway, Germany). All five will be working outside the UK (NICE conductors have no problem finding jobs). So very international too.

The occasion also marked the end of my formal contribution to the course.

Natural ally for Conductive Education?

Consider this roadshow seminar event from Peter Limbrick at Interconnections, introducing TAC (Team Around the Child):

No more child overload: just too many practitioners for babies and pre-school children who need ongoing multiple interventions?

9 July 2009
Postgraduate Centre
City Hospital

This seminar is designed for senior managers and multi-disciplinary practitioners who support babies and young children who have ongoing, multiple conditions and disabilities – and their families. The focus will be service development embracing Team Around the Child philosophy, principles and practice.

  • The traditional approach is to add a new practitioner for each disability that we discover. The child can be overwhelmed by the requirement to relate to so many people and might have a weekly routine crammed with discipline-specific programmes.
  • Pre-school practitioners suffer too with increasing demands on their time as they try to meet parents’ aspirations for regular sessions of this or that.
  • This scatter-gun approach has happened by default and is not tenable within the resources available in the UK. Nor should we perpetuate it when we give some thought to what is fair to children.

These children manage to creep under our ‘child-centred’ radar. Are we stuck in an overly medical approach seeing the disabilities under the microscope but not the child under our nose?

Outline programme

  • How some babies and pre-school children become overloaded with multiple practitioners in response to their multiple needs.
    TAC protocols as part of a child-centred solution to prevent or remedy overload
  • How some babies and pre-school children become overloaded with too many separate discipline-specific programmes.
    The TAC system as part of the solution with integration of education and therapy programmes and a primary interventionist – when appropriate
  • Does TAC open the way for a radical reconfiguration of how practitioners spend their time supporting children with ‘complex’ needs?
    The need to involve parents in planning these changes to how support is delivered.

Sound familiar?

Sounds like a first specification for creating a conductive parent-and-child service!

It lacks the explicitly future-orientated, potential-creating and dyad-focussed pedagogy of conductive upbringing at this stage of life (Sutton, 2009), and I know too little about the theoretical basis of TAC even to guess whether the CE and TAC models might ulimately prove compatible, but clearing a way through the Augean stables of multi-disciplinary and multi-agency services constitutes common ground at one level at least and opens a possible way for sensible discussion..

This particular seminar is being held in Birmingham but the TAC road show will be off to London and Wakefield in the Autumn. More importantly, it will come to your own venue if you would like it to.

Are the TAC people natural allies of CE? Are there bonds that unite the two movements stronger than particular points that might divide them. There is only one way to find out? That, however, is not my job.


  • Seminar in Birmingham (inc. lunch)
    £120 per participant (discounts for more bookings)
    Limited number of free places for parents and carers
  • Seminar at your own venue
    Per-person costs considerably reduced

Further information


Sutton, A. (2009) Conductive upbringing: a revolution for families with children with cerebral palsy, Google Knol

A right Royal occasion

Conductive Education (for children anyway) seems to bear a strange facination for Royalty. Responding most actively. the Hungarian Foreign Ministry has the Pető Institute in its sights, having twigged the notion when Princes Diana ('Lady Dee' to the Magyars, I recall) visited the Pető Institute in the early nineteen-nineties. Ever since then, visiting foreign Royalty are likely to find themselves taken to the countriy's largest institution for disabled children, not the usual kind of attraction on such visits elsewhere..

Still, the Pető Institute is a member of the Hungaricum Club, which means something like being a uniquely Hungarian national treasure capable of being marketed abroad, and such a visit provides great photo-opportunities.

Latest example of such a Royal visitor is Prince Akishino of Japan, making an official visit to Hungary and visited the Pető Institute on his last day.

Get a flavour of the occasion from the picture report in the Hello!-style Royalty Blog, which records the eventful lives of the world's Royals:

Strange events Royal visits. Who gains most from such occasions, the visitors or those visited? I would take some convincing that it is not the former.

Don't tell me about Royal visits. Peccavi.


Laforest, N. (2004) Hungary's dowery. Hungaricums: traditional hungarian products in the common market, Business Hungary, vol. 18, no 5

Thursday, 21 May 2009

You have a world to gain

Why, oh why don’t more conductors (and others directly involved in Conductive Education) write about their experiences, understandings and above all their practice? They might quite rightly regard themselves as ‘no academics’ but so what? They are privy to something much more important than most mere ‘scientists’ can ever be, they are part of the actual phenomenon requiring elucidation.

If only more conductors would speak, or better write about what they know of Conductive Education, then the more there would for researchers, scholars academics, scientists, and just intelligent, enquiring people from any walk of life, to get their teeth into. Correspondingly, there would be the less room for all those understandings, decisions and research about CE, based upon a far-too-thin information base of communicable knowledge about what this very human, personal and social activity actually involves. Conductors may not need themselves to become theoreticians, (though it would be nice if aiming to do so were more widely seen as a part of a proper career path for them).

Certainly, however, especially at the present state of the art, they could and should be providing non-conductors a lot more to chew over.

In the event, however, conductors as a group have created very little communicable knowledge about their actual practice and their understandings of what they do.

This is not meant as an unfriendly comment. No non-conductor recognises better than I how hard most of them work and how little their training prepares them for such a role. Moreover, I appreciate that and they have more than enough to be getting on with doing the things that they arepaid to do, and ‘writing’ is rarely or never one of these),

This is not meant as an unfriendly comment. It is, however, meant as a critical one.

There are no books on the day-to-day minutiae of conductive pedagogy and conductive upbringing, no tradition of writing articles for journals, magazines or even newsletter, and as far as I can discern, there is still only one conductor creating an on-line corpus of accounts of everyday practical minutiae.

This is all a most unhealthy situation. Dysfunctional, you might say.

There is only one way to resolve this disharmony. Others should take up the pen. It could be you.

C’mon, everybody

A response to a recent thread of Comments

An interesting discussion has been building up in the Comments to the recent item '®'. If you have not noticed, you can find it by going to:

Scroll down to the foot of the article and click there on COMMENTS

Three issues seem to be emerging here, substantive, moral and legal, all important ones.


Mhari Watson describes a most attractive-sounding service-model, not just a one-stop shop but a one-stop shop in which co-exist various services from outside the golden circle (or closed shop, if you prefer) of the existing system. You can see the centre that she refers to at:

There are shared overhead costs, and the chance of increasing public awareness of CE, simply through osmosis. Then there are the intellectual advantages, for those who want them, of working in close proximity with people with very different practical approaches to familiar problems, from the standpoint of sometimes very theoretical positions.

(All this without what seems the burden of practising within a ‘multi-disciplinary team’, a way of providing services that still await proper basic description with respect to how conductors might operate in this context, never mind critical justification.)

OK, one might find oneself amongst strange bedfellows in terms of some of the things being done in such an informal context, but then you might find plenty of equally strange practices manifest within the multi-disciplinary team.

It sounds like a context almost tailor-made for conductors looking to test out new theatres for conductive practice. I am sure that there must be all sorts of similar or analogous experiences around the world. We ought to hear more of such experiences and of what people think of them.


The use of the little ®-symbol raises the immediate question of who ‘owns’ the phrase ‘Conductive Education’, in Canada or anywhere else. Put aside for the moment any legal questions on this (legal and moral are not the same things), who owns the ‘right’ to use the term ’Conductive Education? Who does it belong to?

Morally, the answer is quite simple. The term ‘Conductive Education’ belongs to no one, as it belongs equally to everyone who wishes to use it.

I have no idea what Andras Peto would have thought about all this, though I am pretty sure that Maria Hari would have had contradictory thoughts. It doesn’t matter, however, what they would have thought, as they lived and thought in worlds so very different from our own, inconceivable to them in their time. Not least inconceivable to them would have been the present situations around the world of the inheritors of the traditions that they founded.

These traditions have manifested ideas (ideals, if you like), differently in different places at different times. It it these manifestations that we lump together within the probably overgenerous category of ‘Conductive Education’.

Morally, who ‘owns’ this category, and the name that it generally goes under? The question has meaning only to those who have little or no idea of the field under consideration.

And the same applies to expressions like konduktive Forderung and equivalent terms in every language under the sun that generates its own equivalent.


Legally, the situation is horrendously complicated, not least by being different within every legal jurisdiction.

In the United Kingdom I once had very expensive legal advice to tell me that the situation that has subsequently arisen in Canada could never happen under English law.

What precisly is the situation in Canada? I do not know, other than that a few years back now OMOD (Ontario March of Dimes) registered the term ‘Conductive Education’, with effect for the whole of Canada.

The intention, I believe, was to stop the use of the term by non-conductors (mainly therapists) claiming to offer Conductive Education on the basis of the so-called ’principles’ . Certainly Canada now seems free of such practices, and maybe OMOD’s action in registering the name has played a part in this (on the other hand, the principles have so far taken little root in the Americas).

I do not know what part OMOD's ®-symbol has played in the spread of Conductive Education through the employment of conductors. Jerzy Maslanka reports that it was directly instrumental in the demise of the Alberta Association for Conductive Education. Maybe that is why the CE centre in Manitoba is called the Manitoba Movement Centre. Maybe that is why an earlier association in British Columbia styled itself in the name of Conductive Pedagogy, though there are also excellent and more substantive reasons for doing this, quite apart from ®. And maybe the present BC Association for Conductive Education had better watch out!

Either way, nobody who came into Conductive Education for the ‘right reasons’ did so with the slightest intention of being involved in such matters.

At one, level, of course, this is all the legitimate commercial business of OMOD (now March of Dimes Canada). On the other hand, it is the legitimate interest of anyone wishing to establish a CE service within the Canadian jurisdiction (though the simple legal response might be simply to call it your organisation something else).
More widely afield, though, there is are also legitimate questions to be raised, for example:
  • What is the law in my own country? Could it happen here that one organisation appropriates the right to ‘protect the name’? How would it effect me if it did?
  • Conversely, might this be something that I would like to do myself, maybe to help stamp out Mickey Mouse practices masquerading under the same name as what I provide?
  • From either point of view, does it work?. What have been the actual experiences both of OMOD and of other organisations in Canada of the implementation of this ®?
  • And where do you draw the line? What might one ‘permit’ to style itself ‘Conductive Education‘, what are the criteria? After all. Well-intentioned conductors might be employed to provide services that are as structurally Mickey Mouse as so-called Conductive Education provided by well-intentioned non-conductors.
  • In Conductive Education as in most other field cui bonum (who benefits in lawyer-speak) from bringing in the lawyers in the first place? There may be different answers to this question in different circumstances, but one constant in all of them is that it is the lawyers who always win. Is that what you came into CE to fund?

What now?

I personally do not like use of intellectual-property law in a field like Conductive Education. This is in part a principled position, though it also in part reflects bitter personal experience of futile and footling attempts to use such law against the Foundation for Conductive Education a long time ago now.

The OMOD’s ®, like it or not, is an experiential fact with potential wider implications for Conductive Education elsewhere in the world. It also forces into explicit consideration the usually fudged question of what precisely one means by the term ‘Conductive Education’, also very rightly raised in the Comments that sparked this article, and very relevant to consideration of the attractive service-model that that raised the whole matter on Conductive World in the first place.

Experiences, criticisms, corrections are as ever very welcome here.

Even more welcome, however, would be publication by OMOD of the terms of its ®, its rules of engagement and most especially its evaluation of the benefits of taking this registration.

The VII. World Congress is coming next year and, whatever happens with CE (however defined) here in the West, out East here is major expansion under way and there will be even more in train by the time of the Congress. All the issues raised in this article will appear doubly relevant in that context. It would be nice to hope that OMOD could submit a presentation to that Congrss on its unique experience in Conductive Education ®.

Please don't do it to me

I do wish that OMOD could be a little restrained with its use of the its ®. It seems unable to state the words ‘Conductive Education’ anywhere without suffixing this bauble. For a recent example, click on the URL at the head of this item, to read of the ‘National Institute of Conductive Education® England’.

Sorry, there is no such place, either in reality or even under the law of Canada.

It is mildly amusing the first time that one reads such a thing. It can become irritating.

I do hope that nobody tries it on me.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

VII. World Congress on Conductive Education

7th World Congress on Conductive Education
Hong Kong
5-8 December 2010

Further advance information on the Congress is now on line, and more will follow soon:

Prime responsibility for organising this congress rests with SAHK (formerly the Spastics Association of Hong Kong). This looks like being the best constructed and most intellectually challenging World Congress to date. Certainly it has the most sophisticated website (available in Chinese and in English).

Information already online
  • A cheery welcoming video from SAHK
  • Organisation
  • Tentative plenary topics
  • First call for abstracts
  • Programme
  • Fee and registration
  • Partners
  • Local attractions

Yet to come

  • CE blog
  • What’s new
  • Social events
  • Accommodation
  • History
  • Useful links
  • Contact us


Offers an impression of the logistical operation needed just to manage this event and its preparation.

Note at the top of this page the co-patronage of the China Disabled Persons' Federation

Plenary topics

Seven tentative plenary topics

  • China's experiences of Conductive Education
  • CE - how it is used in HK for developmental and acquired conditions
  • Evidence-based practice in rehabilitation and its implications to the CE world
  • Current rehabilitation trends and International Classification of Function (ICF) for persons with disability and their relevance to CE
  • Advances in neurophysiology and neuro-psychology for neurological rehabilitation and how they can be included in the conductive environment
  • Philosophy of conductive pedagogy and upbringing
  • Historical, social and political issues of CE

Two plenary discussion topics

  • The essence of CE
  • CE in the 21st century

Call for submissions

Seventeen themes are suggested for submitting of abstracts. Do not, however, feel constrained by this: submissions on other themes will also be welcome. Submitting authors are encouraged to coordinate a batch of five or six abstracts under the title of a particular theme, organization or country, to constitute a symposium.

Submissions may be for oral or poster presentations. Fifteen minutes will be allowed for each oral presentation.

Seventeen suggested themes

  • Innovative practices with Conductive Education in developing/rural areas
  • Outcome measures of CE programmes
  • Alignment of CE with recent trends in education, rehabilitation and research work
  • Incorporating CE applications with contemporary interventions
  • Collaboration and conflict between conductors and other professionals in different settings
  • Sharing good practice
  • Long-term outcome of CE from the orthopaedic viewpoint
  • Adapted modes of CE practice in different settings and age groups
  • Information and Communication Technology applications in the CE contexts
  • Creative CE applications for different clientele
  • CE and organisation management
  • CE from clients’ and family-members’ perspectives
  • Case studies of CE applications
  • Knowledge-management in CE

The formal requirements for abstracts are presented in detail, being those normal for international professional-academic conferences. Accepted abstracts will be published in book form for distribution at the Congress, after which they will be posted on line. All abstracts submitted must therefore meet a minimum standard for both print and electronic publishing, as detailed on this web page.

Abstracts must be received by 30 Apr 2010. Acceptance or rejection will be announced no later than 30 Jun 2010

Conference programme

The event’s overall framework is indicated, with content of course to be filled in over the months leading up to the Congress.

Apart from formal Congress proceedings there will be:

  • exhibition by supporting and sponsoring organisations
  • post-Congress tour of the Mainland

Fee and registration


  • Participants from Mainland China
    Standard RMB¥2,100
    Early bird RMB¥1,800 by 31 July 2010
  • Overseas participants
    Standard US$515
    Early bird US$415 by 31 July 2010


  • Sponsored by Providence Foundation Ltd
  • Supporting organisations to be announced


Comprehensive list of links to introductory information for first visitors to Hong Kong:

Congress URL

Watch out to see additions to this Congress site as they are posted. These will also be announced on Conductive World.

Any comments?

There's a year and a half to go yet before this Congress, and only a proportion who might attend will be able to.

No reason in either respect not to make your comments and suggestion about this proposal. The Congress blog will presumably be open to comments and should be a welcome facility.

In the meantime, as ever, Conductive World welcomes readers' comments (click on COMMENTS immediately below, and will also report on coverage elsewhere.


What’s this?

Over on the Conductive Education Library blog, Gill Maguire has recently posted an account of what it takes to winkle Conductive Education from the most unlikely corners of the Internet.

Here's an unlikely item that I found myself, in this morning's, which serves the useful function of publishing press releases on line, free. Here I found Conductive Education nestling under the headline 'Now Available: Water Treadmill in Greater Toronto Area'. Now there's a heading under which you'd not immediately think to seek CE!

This particular press release comes from kinesiologist Katharine McLarty who has installed a Hydrotrack® Water Treadmill in her practice: “a no pain, all gain experience!”Her other services, she announces, include:
  • Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Kinesiotaping, Active Release Therapy®, Registered Massage Therapy, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Psychotherapy, Naturopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Personal Training, Pilates and Yoga Classes and Conductive Education®.

Presumably she works with a conductor.

Conductive Education®

What on Earth is ‘Conductive Education®’?

Note and references

Maguire, G. (2009) Where on Earth do you find it all? Conductive Education Library, 15 May

McLarty, K. (2009) Now available: water treadmill in Greater Toronto area,, 17 May is also Pressemitteilung of Vienna, Austria. What a global world we do live in! This press-release service is FREE (my favourite word in e-commerce). The English-language version is already attracting notifications from or on Conductive Education. The perhaps less PR-conscious world of Konduktive Förderung seems not to have latched on to this yet.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Becoming an oxymoron?

As remarked before on Conductive World, what happens in Hungary is still capable of disproportional effects across the little world of Conductive Education, perhaps most particularly because, for any foreseeable future, Hungary remains the only potential mass-producer of conductors: a most economically and politically fragile basket for such rare and precious eggs!

Everyone involved in planning a future dependent on the still largely Hungarian conductor workforce would be acting most imprudently not to be keeping a close eye on what is happening in that country.

More generally. though, Conductive World's most recent article on Hungary, also suggested that Hungary bears watching by everyone else too, as a sensitive canary in the present economic and political coal mine that we are now all groping around in, with perhaps particularly resonance for the United Kingdom:

A financially enmired economy, a deeply unpopular centre-left Prime Minister called Gordon, next elections due in 2010, a centre-right opposition party waiting in the wings… Watch the canary!

Hardly the hardest political parallel to spot!

That was all of a month back. This week in the current issue of the New Statesman magazine, political journalist Neal Clark makes depressing report on the present dire state of the democratic process in Hungary and brings English-speakers up to date with a little more detailed

His approval ratings are among the lowest ever achieved by a prime minister. As the former manager of the country’s finances, many blame him for its current economic predicament. By nature an introvert, he is finding it hard to build up a rapport with the electorate. His name is Gordon B....

No, not Gordon Brown, but Gordon Bajnai, who last month was sworn in as the new prime minister of Hungary.

Neal Clark also points to important differences...
... so far

Britain’s Gordon B may not have had his elevation to the premiership endorsed by the electorate, but he is nonetheless a democratically elected member of parliament. Hungary’s Gordon B has not been elected to any office...

Bajnai is not a member of any political party...

As well as the Prime Minister other unelected 'experts' hold ministerial positions in the Hungarian government, the finance minister, the economics minister and the minister for transport, telecommunication and energy. Neal Clark cautions, we should all be worried about what is going on in Hungary, not just the Brits.

The fact that unelected figures hold so much power in a European country that styles itself a democracy is alarming. The formation of 'non-political' governments to introduce swingeing cuts in public expenditure – and privatise health care, lower pensions and drastically reduce welfare provision – is an undemocratic development that could spread.

Such governments are a long way from being 'non-political. On the contrary, they are espousing ideologically motivated economic policies, but do so under the smokescreen of 'financial necessity'. Unable to receive a popular mandate for their reforms, neoliberals in Hungary have stuck two fingers up at the democratic process. As the economic crisis deepens and public unrest grows, don’t rule out their counterparts in other countries following suit.

The Hungarian canary in the European coal mine.

Except, upon reflection, the Brits at least have no need of a canary, in this last respect anyway, having long been past masters of slipping unelected mates into government (doing and disguising this is one of the functions of the House of Lords: think, for example, of Lord Mandelson).

Over the last couple of weeks, though, the British political class has followed the Hungarian one in another respect, down into unplumbed depths of public contempt, for its own apparent contempt for financial probity.

Note and references

Clark, N. (2009) Hungary tears up the ballot paper: observation on European democracyNew Statesman, 14 May

Sutton. A. (2009) Meanwhile in Hungary: that ‘faraway country’, Conductive World, 8 April

Neal Clark's article is also published on his blog:

His blog was last year's winner of the UK 2007 Weblog Awards, and a runner up for Best UK Blog in 2008. He must know something then that I don't (brevity for one!) and his blog makes salutary reading for anyone blogging in CE.