Wednesday, 24 February 2010

L'éducation conductive: nul points

A lesson from history

French families receiving Conductive Education in Budapest contacted the French Embassy to request that the system be officially evaluated with a view to possible transfer to France. In September last year the French Ministry of Education contacted the Centre National de Suresnes to investigate and advise. A commission from the centre visited Budapest, going to the Pető Institute, the Bárczi Gusztáv College of Special Education and two establishments for disabled children. The commission also took account of discussions with establishments in France and Belgium which know of CE. The commission’s report has now been published. It is not favourable.

Read the more of this sad and shocking tale at:

Earlier this week I was asked something about Conductive Education in France. My reply required me to dig out the record of an event which, it seemed at the time, altogether closed down further official consideration of Conductive Education in that country.

This was the publication of the report of a visit of enquiry to the Peto Institute in Budapest by the National Centre for Study and Education of Disabled Children (acronym in French: CNEFFI).

As a mere Englishman I stand uncomprehending before the culture and society of France. I do suspect, however, that in dealing with bodies with names beginning with the letters CN one is advised to treat them with the outward respect that they consider themselves to deserve. Above all one does not patronise.

My impression upon reading CNEFFI's report was that the delegation thought that it was being sold a line, and reacted accordingly. It made no compromises in its judgements, it took no prisoners. CNs don't.

As a result, a national door slammed shut and l'éducation conductive en France was left to start again, from the bottom up. With the exception of a tiny handful of brave but isolated individuals (see for example, the CE blogosphere on the left-land column of this page) the families of a major European country have lost a generation's momentum is possible service-development. For the rest of us, we have lost the major possibility of contact, alliance and interplay between Conductive Education and Henri Wallon's heritage of psychomotricity – another sad, lost opportunity.

Yes, the people and circumstances have changed now in Budapest, and maybe it is worth people in France trying again. When they do, however, they will probably find CNEFFI's report still on file as the first threshold to be crossed.

Bonne chance!

For the record

I dug this news feature out of the old Conductive Chronicle that used to be published as part of the now vanished Conductive Education Website. The article in question was published on 29 October 1999. I brought it up it by using the Wayback Machine that retrieves no-longer published materials from the bowels the Web's vast archive.

You can find the original of this item for yourself at:

Perhaps I should dig out some more.


  1. Putting it briefly:

    Many French people (both within country and expatriates) are suspicious of anything which appears religious and/or transcendal.

    Wallon's approach is strongly political and theoretical.

    He seems to have worked with intellectually impaired and emotionally disturbed (turbulent is the word used in the Wikipedia, which in English may imply 'stormy' or even 'irritable') children.

    He also thinks regression is possible, which is anti-Piagetian (at least).

    (Aesthetic Realism has some connection to Wallon, as you might see from this link).

    Attention: an aesthetic issue

  2. Sorry, my english is too bad, I comment in French.

    Je connais ce rapport, j'ai eu l'occasion de le lire dans son intégralité. Même si certaines remarques sont pertinentes, je regrette sincèrement l'avis aussi tranché de la commission du CNEFEI qui a d'une certaine façon condamnée l'éducation conductive en France.

    D'un autre côté, ce n'est pas une mauvaise chose que son intégration se fasse par le bas, au moins cela évite que les principes de Petö soient diluées dans des considérations Franco-françaises. Les associations s'appliquant à respecter le travail des conducteurs.

    Mais c'est vrai que 10 ans plus tard, les choses ont pu changer à l'institut et j'espère que sous la pression toujours plus nombreuses des familles et des associations, un nouvel avis soit rendu.

    J'ai moi-aussi une petite association et j'espère réussir à ouvrir une classe de maternelle d'ici la fin de l'année. J'ai fait un lien sur mon blog sur votre article.