Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A shocking question

Does anyone have an answer?

The question

I have been asked one of those apparently simple questions that make one look again at a familiar field – and find that it is not familiar any longer! It was quite a shock. Maybe I just don't know the field, or maybe there is no longer one there.

I was asked the question on behalf of 'a young psychologist who shows the interest in specializing in CE and is searching for the psychological bases of that method'. Wonderful, there should be many more such. There is certainly plenty, divergent and hypothesis-raising material to read, there are lots of people to talk to with all sorts of 'psychological' ideas, there is the most extra-ordinary range of practices to investigate. Above all, there is a need for more, formal psychological involvement in all this.

Here is the simple question that I was asked. This young psychologist is looking for a university-based psychologist with an active interest or involvement in Conductive Education, to guide him critically and comprehensively into this. Could I direct him to one?

The shock

There was a time that I could have answered this simple question with ease. Casting around the world, at a given time I could have offered him several potential contacts. Never many, but always more than one. They would have been mostly involved with specific aspects of the subject, as many academics tend to be, but doing this thoroughly, as mostly they tend to.

That was then, and this is now. Now I cannot think of any – not a psychologist, not in a university, not actively involved, not anywhere.

I could be terribly wrong here, simply out of touch. If so, it is a shock (a beneficial one) to be woken up and realise just how out of touch I am.

Or it could be that I am not out of touch, and it is indeed objective reality that there are no longer academic psychologists actively involved in the psychological questions fundamental to conductive pedagogy and conductive upbringing. Given the welcome beginnings of pedagogical articulations amongst practitioners, it is indeed a shock to be woken up sharply to this paradoxical situation.

The answer?

I am working on the hypothesis that I am wrong to think that there are no psychologists active in the fascinating field of Conductive Education. Please prove me wrong in this. Please tell me whom I am missing.

Your answers would be of practical help for this young psychologist, educative for myself – and perhaps tell us something quite important about the world of Conductive Education.


  1. Andrew,
    What is the psychological basis of the primary and secondary education in the UK or elswhere?

  2. Education systems are in my view primarily politically, economically and ideologically based.

    Out of this mix there also emerges an explanatory psychologisal system that may vary from society to society in the degree to which it is of practical benefit to advance the education system's goals.

    I have witten a little more about this in relation to the governing ideology of human development in England, see:

    I suppose that one ought to make an analogous analysis of CE!