Wednesday, 28 August 2013


A tight fit in 15 minutes...
Vygotskii and Conductive Education

Andrew Sutton

Theoretical statement: In 1925, L. S. Vygotskii wrote -
Any physical inadequacy not only changes a child's relationship to the world but above all affects relationships with people...
In psychology and in pedagogy the problem of childhood disability has to be posed and comprehended as a social problem, because the previously unremarked social aspect, formerly diagnosed as being of secondary level and derivative, actually turns out to be primary and supreme. One has to look this problem boldly in the eye, as a social problem. If in psychological terms physical disability signifies social dislocation then in pedagogical terms such children's upbringing means resetting them into life in the same way as one resets a dislocated or injured organ.
(Vygotskii, 1983, pp. 111, 112-113)
A contextualising framework: Conductive pedagogy and upbringing still lack explicit theoretical framework. The above early insight of Vygotskii's was basic to developing his own defectology and other special pedagogies. It subsequently offers a standpoint for construing and articulating the relationship of the conductive approach, passed down from the practice of András Pető and his associates, with the nature of disability as a whole.
Some advantages: Vygotskii's own defectology was integral to his Socio-Historical (or Cultural-Historical) Theory of the development of the human psyche, and as such explicitly Marxist. Those schooled in such thinking have found Conductive Education immediately self-evident and have a ready apparatus criticus with which to discuss and interrogate it.
Viewing the nature of disability in (real) Vygotskian terms permits one to see the operation of Conductive Education more clearly as dynamic, systemic, ecological, dialectic, reciprocal, reflexive, transactional, mediated, holonomic.
Vygotskii's understandings may be seen as resonating with other theoretical formulations. Particularly, similarities with Reuven Feuerstein's Mediated Learning have been widely noted, even though this latter manifests a different tradition (Feuerstein, 2002). Remark will be made of similarities between how the ideas of L. S. Vygotskii and András Pető have fared in the Western (perhaps especially the Anglo-Saxon) world.
Caveat: NB, to note parallels is not to suggest 'CE is based on Vygotskii'.
Feuerstein, S. (2002) Biblical and Talmudic Antecedents of Mediated Learning Experience Theory, Feuerstein Institute
Vygotskii, L. S. (1983) Sobranniya Sochinenii, V, Pedagogika
Another tight fit

It will be tight fit to say what I want to, and also leave some time for the audience and for the change-over to the next speaker. But there is another bit of tight timing that I shall have very much in mind on the day.
This presentation is part of the second of the History and Theory sessions. This runs parallel to the second Inclusion session, and the second session on Transcultural Adaptations. There are things that I should very much like to hear in both of these parallel sessions. I shall have to beetle very fast between rooms and it may still be a matter of luck what I catch when I arrive. If I do not make it I shall have to trust to there being written versions available.

Moreover, I have now spotted that there is a book presentation at the same time. I shall have to go look out reviews of its original, English-language edition. More on this anon.

And I shall have to see what I can do to arrange another book presentation, for English-speakers. Ah, but where to hope for this to be fitted in?

Previous postings on WC8 abstracts

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