Saturday, 2 October 2010

Karóly and Magda Ákos

Let us not forget

This is just a short note to flag concern that one hears an awful lot about András Pető, and that many people above a certain age have warm memories of Mária Hari – yet few people out there in the world of Conductive Education give a thought to Karóly and Mágda Ákos.

Their book Dina is the most practical and theoretically intelligible book on CE to have emerged from Hungary – but, though it has been published in German, English, Russian and Chinese, it never appeared in Hungarian and I doubt that many Hungarian conductors have heard of it. Never mind that, how many of the people who try to explain CE in the languages in which it has been published, have ever tracked it down and considered its implications. Not a lot.

Károly was he only figure involved in the Hungarian period of the history of Conductive Education who would have been accepted by his peers as a member of the country's intelligentsia. He saw very early on the danger in developing András Pető's ideas institutionally, and from somewhere or other (I know not for certain where) he interpreted conductive upbringing as a transactional (dialectical) process between mother and child and advocated practice accordingly.


Yet to be told is what actually happened about the 'succession' when András Pető died.

And yet to be unravelled is the start of what we in the English-speaking world tend to call 'parent and child' work .Early conductive intervention with very young children had been tried before András Pető died, and had been unsuccessful.. Then the mother was introduced into the equation, and it worked. (the only major methodic innovation within CE, at least during is Hungarian period). This seems to have occurred at just about the time of Karóly's maximal involvement in the affairs of the State Institute. .Was he instrumental in this – or what?

Why were Karóly and Magda subsequently alienated from the Institute (despite having a conductor daughter and – when the main Institute relocated to its present address – living just down the road)?

And what was 'psychochronology'?

I learned a lot from talking with the Ákoses. What is there still to be learned? As negation negates negation perhaps the next stage of the CE's internationalisation – its globalisation – might better appreciate the potential value of their contribution.


  1. Andrew,
    Dina has always been the book that I to recommend to parents who have newly discovered conductive upbringing. I have sometimes recommended it to adult clients when I think it will help them to understand.

    Sometimes I have met parents who have read the book on my recommendation before we began our work together. I do notice a difference in the way we start on the path towards a conductive lifestyle if they have delved into Dina first. I believe it is the understanding they have that they are not giving their child to us to transform, but we are all there together to find a way of life that is right for the whole family. It is similar to the difference I experience when a family begins their conductive life in a parent and child group before the child is in a group alone.

    I never met the Ákoses, although I had often wished, as walked past their interesting house, that I had been brave enough to knock on the door and introduce myself. I knew about the Ákoses. I knew because of asking about the other name, beside Mária Hári's, on the only book we poccessed at the very beginning of our training on Conductive Education. During our training we were never told who the Ákoses were. I later became more aware of them as one of my fellow students would visit them, their daughter was a conductor involved in my training and then later I read Dina in English and in German.

    For me and many of my clients, through Dina, the Ákoses play an important role in conductive upbringing today.

  2. How very sad.

    They 'touched' you, even though you never never closer than the street outside their house, yet through you their work lives on and is elaborated.

    That they did touch you at all was very much a matter of chance.

    How many, many more might they have touched had the world been different.

    What a sad, sad waste...


    PS But of course, it is never too late... they wrote, and at least left behind 'Dina'. In English at least, there is a mountain of them!