Sunday, 30 June 2013


What else...?
Lessons in Life by Tracey Wolffe... is an A–Z of uplifting aphorisms, illustrated throughout by the author’s colourful, inspirational artwork. All profits are being donated to the PACE Centre in Aylesbury, a school for children with cerebral palsy ( 
PACE teaches conductive education to children with disabilities who need help with physical skills as well as cognitive learning. Tracey’s six-year-old son has cerebral palsy, affecting all four of his limbs and his speech.

This centre has recognised his cognitive abilities and understanding, and is using switches and communication books, and computer technology to develop his communication and learning skills,’ she says. 'The centre has qualified physiotherapists and occupational therapists in every classroom, who give the children unprecedented care, and the very best support and opportunities. The staff-pupil ratio is very high. every member of staff is caring and dedicated, above and beyond the call of duty. the centre received an ‘outstanding’ rating across the board from Ofsted in November 2012.'

Currently a primary school, PACE is raising funds for an early years centre and hopes in time to extend to much-needed secondary provision... 


(2013) Balliol books raising money for charity, Floreat Domus, Balliol College News, no 29. May, p. 10 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


19 May 1999

The Conductive Depository has posted up a full transcript of the big House of Lords debate on Conductive Education, held in the evening of 19 May 1999:

There was a time when Conductive Education was frequently mentioned in both Houses of the UK Parliament (and in the then Assemblies too). This, though, was the biggest debate specifically on this topic.

A Parliamentary occasion

It was also a small milestone in the history of Parliament, as Lord Iveagh who moved this debate mentioned in his concluding remarks.

A nice lad Lord Iveagh, drawn into the Conductive Education fray by pioneer parents and activists Colin and Donna Mock, and genuinely concerned to do the right thing. Colin and Donna were in the Visitors' Gallery to watch the debate, so was I – but nobody else came from Conductive Education.

In fact, nobody was there from the press or from any of the other bodies that might once have shown an interest. By 1999 the national heat was already out of the CE question.

Ten years passed...

Hansard well conveyed what was a civilised and fairly well informed discussion that evening in 1999. It is sad to see how poorly what had been discussed that evening was carried over into a major Lords debate on cerebral palsy, held ten years later, on 4 November 2009:

Makes one think of gunpowder...


Sutton, A. (2013) House of Lords debates Conductive Education, Conductive Depository, 24 June


How goes the fight?
How stood the wind for... Munich?

Ho, what news? 1

Not a lot. In general, worldwide, CE just seems less and less newsworthy. Maybe that is a good sign, maybe a bad one. Time will doubtless tell. Specifically, June in the Northern Hemisphere, where most of the CE action is situated, is for many people a time of transition from ordinary routines of the year to the special activities of summer. Either way, there is precious little CE news appearing on line.

So I asked Google News to tell what I might have missed recently. Not a lot. Here are the top-ten links for a simple search of Google News, looking for the term "conductive education”:

This little list of ten takes us back as far as 10 June. That is Conductive Education as the English-speaking world is presently hearing of it through the public news media.

For what it is worth from this limited sample:

  • five (half of them) come from the United States, three of these relating to a single event – effective PR work there), three from England, and two from Canada
  • in nine of the ten the prime focus is a local fundraising event.
No harm in publicising local fundraising events. I know too well the hard work that goes into them, the generosity of those who attend, and the disappointment and problems when things do not work out as hoped.

How goes the fight? 2

But where in the above news is the strategic media coverage that is surely essential for the wave of public support that will carry CE up with it, and in the long run bring more strategic funding? Where is the conflict with entrenched established systems, where are the dashed hopes and the constant struggle, where the intellectual excitement, the radical public policy implications? Where's the beef. Where is the story?

It is there is the daily existential reality of families and conductors – in spades it is – so what is standing in the way of its getting in the media? How goes the fight? Hard to say, if it carries on largely unheard.

How stood the wind for...3 Munich?

The 8th World Congress has yet to launch its PR strategy but this is still a good time to check background level of the German language media are saying in the meantime about “konduktive förderung”:

Not a lot. Just three stories. All are from Germany, two of these being the same story in different publications. None was about fundraising, all about achievement, real CE news item, one substantially so.

Yes the German media are different from those in the English-speaking sphere. And no, I have no time to trouble he multilingual Google Mail for what might be going on elsewhere...
Maybe there's a lot...
It's déjà vue, all over again

In February last year:

In May of this:

1 Shakespeare
2 ditto
3 ditto

Monday, 24 June 2013


Pictures of Saturday's ceremony

Photographs from Saturday's event have now been published on the PAI's Facebook page:

Previous information on this Heritage Award:

What half-century?

The Heritage Award commemorated 'a half-century of healing and educational activity'. Fifty years ago András Pető's Institute was still under the control of the Ministry of Health, still the Institute for Motor Therapy. On András Pető's birthday that year, he received a letter from Pál Ilku, then Minister of Education, praising his efforts, granting permission at last for the Institute to train its own staff, and officially confirming the Institute's transfer out of Health, into Education. Henceforth it would proudly provide, and train, motor upbringing and motor pedagogy.  See passim:

Fifty years was a long time ago, and a long way to come, depending upon your perspectives.

A bonus: Mária Hári

Scroll down the page to belowr these pictures. Under 'Other albums', click on the first picture, the one entitled 'Hári Doktornő halálának évfor...' This takes you to brief parallel reports in Hungarian and English on the commemoration ceremony for Mária Hári held in October 2011, along with photographs taken at that event:

One item from that event in 2011, in full (also in parallel texts, Hungarian  and English):

I wonder... Do you?

I know that this is an unanswerable question but I cannot help wondering how AP and MH would have regarded such events. I can but guess as AP's response but I am fairly certain of MH's, since she frequently told me. Just four words in English: your turn to guess...  

Saturday, 22 June 2013


Six items from 2011

First published on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Mária Hári's death...
Sutton, A. (2011) Háriana I. – A két Mária / The two Márias, Conductive World, 6 October
     A personal remembrance, in English and in Hungarian translation
Sutton, A., (2011) Háriana II. – Mária Hári in her prime, Conductive World, 7 October 
     Some of her principles for conductive pedagogy
Sutton, A. (2011) Háriana III. –A night at the theatre, Conductive World, 8 October
     One of the late Péter Popper's wry anecdotes
Sutton, A. (2011) Háriana IV. – Speaking out, Conductive World, 10 October
     Resisting superficial imitation
Sutton, A. (2011) Háriana V. – Disciples awake, Conductive World, 12 October 
     Try to convey her ideas on others
Sutton, A. (2011) Háriana VI. – Obituaries, Conductive World,
     Three notices from the United Kingdom
CEP is toying with the idea of a second 'Hári book', to come out perhaps towards the end of 2014.

Any comments. Any suggestions? Any offers?

Thursday, 20 June 2013




Magyar Örökség díjátadó ünnepségen kitüntetésben részesül

Laudátor: Dr. Réthelyi Miklós orvos, anatómus

A díjátadás időpontja: 2013. június 22 (szombat), de. 11.00 óra
A díjátadás helyszíne: Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Díszterme
Hungarian Heritage Award
A half-century of the

Eulogist: Dr. Nicholas Réthelyi, physician, anatomist
1100 Saturday
22 June 2013
Main Hall of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

The Hungarian announcement continues with what looks rather a particular account of András Pető's life and work.

Interesting how the Hungarian state has now so taken András Pető to its heart.


Legacy Rainbow House

Planning application

Unanimously agreed

The plan

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


Rational or what?

I rarely applaud much at events, and often not at all.

There is no great principle at work here. Simply, I have always understood that one claps the hands together to signal appreciation, pleasure, perhaps agreement, in order to convey one's feelings to the performer, and does so in proportion to how strongly one feels. How long this is continued, I have understood, indicates the degree of one's appreciation.

I never applaud films or other recorded performances because the feedback element is absent. And I was not brought up to applaud professional or academic presentations – as just not appropriate to such occasions, except perhaps in the case of personal tributes.

I realise that acting as I do in this respect may make me stand out, appear odd, or worse.

I am therefore pleased (cue for applause?) to wake this morning to BBC World Service's report of one of those jolly little social-psychological studies involving undergraduates:

Oh well, now for the morning's regular 'real news', like dirty doings in our world-famous National Health Service, dodgy bankers, Syria, the busy world of the 'international community', the economy, the weather etc.



Morelle, R. Clapping reveals applause is a 'social contagion', BBC News, 19 June
Includes nice onwards links, though the original report is not available on line, not yet anyway.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


De facto purge of East German psychology

I have recently been reminded of something that raised virtually no remark in the West in the heady years following the fall of the Wall so rather than rely on my own distant memories, I thought that I would look it up on the Internet.

Like with many another thing, because I knew that it was there to be found, somewhere, I found it – but even so it took some finding.

Here's a handy summing up of what happened, by Lothar and Helga Sprung, for the International Union of Psychological Science
The development of psychology in united Germany: 1990–2000

After the two German states were unified on 3 October 1990, psychology in the new federal states, that is, in the territory of the former GDR, was newly organized. This was carried out exclusively according to the model of the old federal republic. This new organization process had two very different faces. On one hand, it led to the massive transfer of psychological scholars from the old federal republic to the new federal states within united Germany. Only in scattered cases was there a transfer in the opposite direction. After the unification of the FRG and the GDR, only academic psychologists from the former GDR were evaluated professionally by colleagues from the (old) FRG. Academically employed psychologists from the former GDR were the only ones who had to reapply for their own positions, often without success. The transfer, evaluations, and mandatory new application process for positions already held resulted in the loss of many positions for psychologists from the GDR in united Germany (Vilmar, 2000; cf. Also Scheler, 2000). However, a still greater loss of psychology positions was caused by the collapse of numerous research, educational, and praxis establishments in the former GDR during the unification process. Estimates of personnel and institutional losses for all the reasons cited here lie between 60 and 70%. On the other hand, the new organization of psychology in the new federal states was linked with a significant expansion in personnel, facilities, and technology at existing academic institutions and departments of psychology. Also, new institutes and departments were established at new and old academic institutions, for example in Potsdam, Greifswald, Halle-Wittenberg, Rostock, Magdeburg, and Zwickau. A new Max Planck Institute for Psychology was also established, the Max Planck Institute for Neuropsychologic Research in Leipzig. To summarize this aspect of the unification of the two Germanys, it can be said that more was achieved quantitatively and, to a certain extent, qualitatively, during the years from 1990 to 2000 in the part of Germany once called the German Democratic Republic than during the previous 41 years of the GDR’s existence.

If one applies formal criteria for the genesis of a scientific discipline to the development of psychology since the unification of both German states, then the development as a whole can be evaluated very positively at the start of the 21st century.
So that's all right then...?  A net gain over that decade (leaving out of the analysis all other relevant social and economic changes in the former East Germany over those years).

Broadening the analysis, however, one might conclude rather differently, that over that decade major institutional development stimulated from the West was not reflected in a corresponding increase in qualitative achievement.

Just history now?

A shabby, even shaming little business, a long time ago, bringing with it at the time personal distress and loss for individuals forced out of work and career, and no doubt all sorts of wider social and intellectual waste too  but all forgotten now.

No harm, however, in remembering. It may even help a little better to understand the present. The Sprungs quoted Ingrid Mittenzwei –
A people cannot choose its history. This is something that has occurred and is irretrievable; but a people can and must create a relationship to its origins… and use history to mobilize or to warn.
Explanatory note: abbreviations

FDR – the Federal German Republic, 'West Germany'
DDR – the German Democratic Republic, 'East Germany'

Sprung, L., Sprung, H. (2009) History of modern psychology in Germany in 19th- and 20th-century thought and society, Psychology: UpsyS Global Resource, Edition 2009, International Union of Psychological Science

Saturday, 15 June 2013


Chose where you fight

I received this circular notification this morning from Ontario, Canada, via Facebook. This is a sample letter to be sent to Members of Parliament, prepared by the Chase the Dream charity, but with local variations it might be sent in many places around the world where CE's advocates try to get local legislators and insurance systems to pay for Conductive Education for children:

And I am torn about what to think, what to do. The letter carries enormous hope, and it is so right in thrusting this issue firmly into the political arena where it belongs.


The provision of Conductive Education is a political matter, concerned with choice and power and money, and only an organised political campaign will see Conductive Education through in the face of ubiquitous opposition (it is amazing how few seem to realise this to the point of concerted action). Provision of Conductive Education is not a question for policy-making by 'professionals' and bureaucrats.

The letter's basic position is compatible with this –

Families and friends of children with neurological motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and victims of stroke or brain injury, are asking that the Ontario Health Care system do its homework and recognize that the current system is not meeting the physical, intellectual, social, and medical needs of these individuals. Conductive Education programs offer families a coordinated system of treatment that will help to meet these needs.

Conductive Ed needs to be recognized by the Ontario Health Care system as a legitimate method of therapy and treatment for individuals, young and old, suffering from neurological disorders, and provide financial support to help families off-set the costs incurred while receiving such treatment.


I do not know the structure of services and how they are funded in Ontario but surely no other special-educational service there is provided via the healthcare system.

It is hard enough to fight for Conductive Education for the motor-disordered. Children with other developmental disabilities in the twenty-first century will have been long within the province of the education service, where no doubt their parents continue to strive for ever better upbringing, pedagogy and education accordingly (not treatment and therapy).

Let us not be cynical, nor let us be surprised if fundholders in education everywhere are more than happy if the advocates of Conductive Education divert their enormous energies to assaulting the walls of the fortress next door, that of the the health authorities.

This can line of attack can be certainly justified by Conductive Education's being made to sound to outsiders like a health concern –

Conductive Ed programs work. By re-training the brain through intensive, multi-stimulatory therapy, people with neurological motor disabilities are able to generate muscle memory to enable them to perform body motions – such as sitting, standing, walking, holding and manipulating objects, and drawing – all of which were not possible through conventional therapy currently offered by the Ontario Health Care system. Coordinating services (e.g. occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language) allow families more time and energy to focus on quality family time instead of travelling from one appointment to the next. Conductive Ed programs offer individuals greater independence, thereby, function with less reliance on government agencies in adulthood.

These are not arguments to threaten Conductive Education's opponents within health, though they may maintain or even widen Conductive Education's distance from education.


I wrote above that I feel 'torn' over this letter. In the early twentieth century so much is taken ans unproblematicly 'medical'. It may be that the assumptions of this age will be strong enough to convince legislators in Ontario that Conductive Education should be pushed through and established within the realm of health provision.

A younger generation of advocates is likely know the spirit of their time better that I.


Chase the Dream (2013) Help those who can’t – support Conductive Education (sample letter), 28 April

Thursday, 13 June 2013


So exceeding slow

A few days ago I stumbled across this article from 2009, and the world looked just a little better a place:

Well, I'm damned, whatever next? It would be nice to think that next might be the truly dreadful English-language translation 'zone of proximal development'.

Never mind conceptual substance, though, the social process reported is the more interesting – how once existing ideology is served and the damage done, then there is no turning the reactionary oil-tanker. Oh well, contradictions in all things!

I wonder whether Vygotskii will ever be be redeemable in the West. Or the rest of the psychology, pedagogy, upbringing, defectology etc. that he represented.

So it goes.

(Nothing here peculiar to Vygotskii, of course)


Cole, M. (ed.) (2009), The perils of translation: a first step in reconsidering Vygotsky’s theory of development in relation to formal education (editorial) , Mind, Culture, and Activity, vol. 16, pp. 291–295

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Online publication of Congress Abstracts

As I did for the Seventh World Congress in Hong Kong I submitted more than one 'Abstract' to the forthcoming World Congress. After all, I reasoned to myself, they are paying me to go all this way and putting me up there, I really ought to give value for money. More selfishly, I ought to keep my hand in and, anyway, I quite enjoy it.

The invited keynote address (my ticket there) needed an Abstract to go in the programme, so along with it I submitted Abstracts for three oral presentations and, jointly with Gill Maguire, a poster.

Come the day, one of my oral presentations was not accepted.

No sweat, it is turning a very full programme, and I had a job fitting what I regard as important to say under the stated theme of the Congress ('Rhythm and balance').

Abstracts on line

A few days ago, Ralph Strzałkowski published the Abstract of his keynote Address to the Congress, on his blog, Lawyer on Wheels:

I am surprised that the Congress itself has not taken the opportunity itself to publicise some of its actual content in this way – particularly before the 'early bird' price-offer expired. This could have have been good PR and and probably an effective aid to recruiting punters.

Following Ralph's lead, I publish below the Abstract of my presentation that didn't make it. And I shall also be posting on line my Abstracts that did.

Few of those who will be presenting at Munich will have their own blogs, but surely many will come from centres with their own sites. I hope some these will also follow Ralph's lead and publish their Abstracts on line, accepted or rejected.

Munich, the book

Following the Seventh World Congress in Hong Kong I collected my various contributions together and published them in a small book.

I shall repeat this exercise after the German Congress This will include the full wording of the presentation on CE literature that will not be given at the Congress.

That abstract

The 'CE-literature':
some problematics
Andrew Sutton
Conduction, UK

Background: A first overview of the available 'CE-literature' (Cottam and Sutton, 1985) found it small, largely in English, often mistaken, and not very helpful. Nearly thirty years later, immensely more is available, but this may still mislead as much as inform about Conductive Education. This 'literature' by now includes academic and professional writings, PR and marketing, paper and electronic materials. Now as then one has to reserve this cautionary position:

Perhaps the art of education is ultimately conveyed only by a work of the imagination (ibid., p. 27)

In 2013 there are many materials out there, for all to see. In these years of CE's internationalisation, the author's personal intervention has promoted a few books some serial publications, and created a publishing house, with emphasis on encouraging others to publish. Others have made their own interventions.

Continuing problems: Now in the Internet age, everybody can publish but most people need considerable help and encouragement to become 'writers'. In writing about CE, quality control and describing practice remain persisting problems. Developing 'the literature' is not a priority for CE's institutions. There is little time for mentoring, and little market for CE publications.

'Three estates': CE once largely comprised three groups –
  • users and would-be users
  • conductors
  • a 'third estate', a small number of involved professionals and academics from other fields, who once contributed disproportionately towards the literature
In the twenty-first century the third group has become very small 

A 'technical literature': This needs to be plausible to those outside CE and useful to those within. Its creation is more than the quantitative problem of generating a growing number of unrelated works, plus the qualitative problem of how good these are, but evolution of a systemic whole, an organic body of knowledge linked together by sensible and critical reference to what had gone before and what happens elsewhere, kept alert by critical review, and clear and lean from disposing of what is no longer worth knowing. It should be dynamic and holistic. CE's literature remains neither.

Without prospect of a strategic plan for Conductive Education, how might one progress from here?


Cottam, P., Sutton, A. (eds) Conductive Education, Croom Helm


Strzałkowski, R. (2013) The Abstract, Lawyer on Wheels, 10 June

Sutton, A. (2011) Last Year in Hong Kong, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press


Another intervention

Jordan has seemed to have stood on the sidelines of Conductive Education for years, not quite taking a first practical step. I recall years and years ago being visited by a high-powered lady from Jordan (the wife of the Prime Minister, if I remember right) who wanted to get something going and, a few years later, I was not sure why, the Jordanian Embassy in London arranged a visit from a Jordanian Princess. As far as I knew at the time, nothing came of either. I am sure that there will have been other initiatives elsewhere, but nothing concrete appears to have resulted from them either.

I have only just noticed another, more recent initiative.

The Jubilee Institute is a non-profit, independent, residential, co-educational secondary school for gifted Jordanian pupils, located in Amman, Jordan. A group pupils from the King’s Academy had visited different centres in Jordan offering services for children with cerebral palsy, finding that further development is required in developing services across the country. A search of services available around the world suggested Conductive Education to be the best approach to enabling children to integrate into their communities.

Wanting to share their findings and enthusiasm for CE with professionals working with children with cerebral palsy, the pupils organised a conference in March of this year, opened by Princess Rajwa Bint Ali, the first to be held on this topic in Jordan on this topic.

The conference

King’s Academy in collaboration with the Pető Institute (Hungary)
Independent Life through Conductive Education
24 – 26 March 2013
The workshop will discuss the effect of conductive education on children with cerebral palsy. The workshop will be led by speakers from Jordan, Hungary and England. Papers will be presented to describe various experiences with cerebral palsy and the challenges that are faced.

Topics to be covered
  • Basic elements of Conductive Education
  • How Conductive Education is established in some Arab countries
  • Cerebral Palsy in Jordan (this lecture will cover statistics, services and 
  • A unique experience for Conductive Education in UK
  • Professionals working with physical motor disabilities.
  • Recommended for undergraduate students in the universities who study physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy or high school students, and educators who work with cerebral palsy
  • Royal Medical Services – Royal Rehabilitation Center (Farah Center)
  • The workshop will be held from March 24 - 26, 2013
  • Consultations will be available on March 27 and 28, 2013.
  • 9:00am – 1:00pm (each day)
  • Pal Csuka / Pető Institute – Hungary
  • Eszter Daroczy / Pető Institute – Hungary
  • Magdolna Kovacs / Rainbow Center – United Kingdom
  • Dr Saleh Al Ajlouni / Queen Rania Hospital – Jordan
  • King’s Academy Students

150 JD per student, 200 JD per specialist, includes:
One Jordanian Dinar = 0.90 British Pound Sterling.


(2013) International recognition for the Rainbow Centre (press release), Rainbow Centre, undated

Jubilee Institute (2013) Conference programme, Facebook, 19 March