Friday, 30 May 2014

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

33 minutes' debate buries Conductive Education

The formal motion of the final business item of the day at the Scottish Parliament this Wednesday 
That the Parliament recognises the work of the Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments (SCCMI) in Cumbernauld for its provision of education and therapy services for children, young people and their families affected by cerebral palsy and other related conditions... further recognises the charity, Bobath Scotland, and the support that it provides for individuals and their families in a relaxed, non-clinical and fun environment... praises the work of both the SCCMI and Bobath Scotland... acknowledges that primary teachers, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and other staff work in close partnership to integrate educational and physical activities to address each child’s needs... and hopes that what it considers the excellent work of both the SCCMI and Bobath Scotland continues to support those with, or affected by, motor impairments.
This was not 'debate' as such but a series personal statements by Members of the Scottish Parliament, read out in turn with no questions permitted. It was led off by MSP Siobhan McMahon, and five other MSPs also spoke, concluding with the minister for Public Health. It was all most consensual and there were no grounds for contention or controversy. There was no vote. By the end the room was nearly empty.

The event appears as yet to have no attracted in the press, nor is it mentioned on either centre's website.

You can read transcripts of all the contributions at:


If you have 33 minutes to spare you can watch and listen on video:


Despite the double billing, talk was almost entirely about Bobath Scotland. Jackson Carlaw MSP suggested why –
I was less aware of the Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments or of the fact that Siobhan McMahon had a direct connection with it. In preparation for the debate, I went to its website and saw that it was founded a little bit earlier than Bobath Scotland and provides a similar service to children over a wide area...

In the motion put to the Chamber recognition was expressed to the work of
primary teachers, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and other staff

There was no mention of conductors throughout, or the distinct nature and implications of Conductive Education.  

Over the course of the 33 minutes, there was no vestige of the conductive message or of the cause that informed Scottish parents has so passionately advocated to Michel Forsyth, the then Secretary of State for Scotland when he went to see them in Budapest in the late eighties, to see what all the fuss was about. Three th-words, however, received very good airing from MSPs, 45 instances in all over the 33 minutes:
  • therapy         31
  • therapist       11
  • therapeutic    4
When Michel Forsyth initiated the Scottish Centre some twenty-odd years ago it was to defuse parental pressure for Conductive Education in Scotland.  It looks like his purpose has been well served.  

Scotland has seen no other services established since in the name of Conductive Education. So it goes.

House of Lords debate, 1999

That evening in Westminster all seems such a long time ago, actually just 15 years but in such a different world:





BUDAPEST

A little background for 1944-5
(And for Vienna, 1938)

From time to time items have appeared in Conductive World. touching upon the knowable circumstances of András Pető (and to a lesser extent Mária Hári's) during the Second World War. Events of the time were fast-moving and complex. Those looking for a well-stated outline of the major political and military events in Hungary of 1944-5 (and further onward links) might find helpful the following clear summary from the Holocaust Encyclopedia:


This historical framework may also provide useful background information in the immediate future, with further likely international attention to the unveiling of the Hungarian Government's Holocaust Memorial in Budapest, and the possibility of the interminably delayed general release of the Hollywood film Walking with the Enemy.

Austria, 1938, a good place not to be

The same source also offers a glimpse of Vienna a few years earlier, where András Pető had till then lived most of his adult life


In some time during 1938 András Pető took himself to Budapest, thence to Paris, and thence back to Budapest. Whatever the attractions of these two cities, there was certainly good reason for him to be leaving Vienna.

Reference

(2013 ) Hungary after the German occupation, Holocaust Encyclopedia, 10 June

(2013) Austria, Holocaust Encyclopedia, 10 June
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005447


Thursday, 29 May 2014

HOPE AGAINST HOPE

Hoping to hear more on this

Earlier this week Susie Mallett posted this brief statement from a father, who had known British, German and Hungarian conductors, in a conversation with a couple of them –

What is it about conductors, what is it that they all bring into our lives, into our home? There is almost something tangible in the air when they are about!

What is it? There is something, no matter what nationality the conductor is, that radiates from all of you, something in your souls that is so similar whether British, German or Hungarian?

This was on her Conductive Upbringing and Lifestyle blog, in a posting reflecting again on the nature of hope in Conductive Education. This drew my own attention back to the hope question in CE. This question has attracted Rony Shencker's attention as well as Susie's but it is surprising how little in general it has been explicitly considered compared to the number of times that hope seems mentioned in conversation by service-users and conductors.

I have added a few not very original thoughts of my own in a Comment on Susie's recent posting, including this on research –

So why is it that this essential mechanism and outcome of CE has not been investigated by researchers over the years. Presumably one response to this question must be that to do so would be just too difficult.

Hope presents an odd problem for researchers. Is 'hope' a psychological phenomenon, a kind of emotion, or is it more of a philosophy of living?

I am very aware, by the way, that hope is as important for the providers as for the users of CE – and is a collective as well as a personal phenomenon. At the recent CE World Congress in Germany, hope was stated in a context of positive psychology and the psychological capital of Tsad Kadima.
 
Pandora has something for everyone!
 
References

Mallett, S. (2014) Hope springs eternal, Conductive Upbringing and Lifestyle, 26 May
http://www.susie-mallett.com/2014/05/hope-springs-eternal.html

Schenker, R., Pinto, Y. (2013) Know hope – the psychological capital of Tsad Kadima:Keynote Presentation no 14 to the 8th World Congress on Conductive Education, Fürstenfeldbruck, near Munich, October 2013, Conductive Education Occasional Papers, Supplement no 8: Abstract Book, n. p.
http://www.ce-worldcongress2013.org/dokumente/WCCE_Abstract_book.pdf

Sutton, A. (20o8) Know hope: hope for the future, Conductive World, 2 January http://www.conductive-world.info/2008/01/know-hope.html

 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

INSTITUTE PREPARED FOR ITS FUTURE

'If you believe, you will achieve'
If you organise and act, that is
The content of the following passage is hauntingly familiar –
The Feuerstein Institute is an international educational-therapeutic center that works to promote thinking and learning skills –
Mission
The Institute's goal is to create a world with wide social support and consciousness , that based on the belief that every individual in every age and condition has the ability to change, and that a man needs to be estimated by his own potential and not to be constantly compared to others.
This vision liberates us from stigmas, medical fixation and past failures. We can change! We can develop. In the Institute's vision, every man, with no differences of religion, gender, race or nationality can realize his great potential, and by that to secure not only his survival, but the quality of his personal, social and moral life. In such world people won't be judged or categorized by their current abilities, but will have an option to change dramatically. People will have the opportunity to make this change even if their "beginning point" in life is not as high as others and even very low.
Every person has the option to change! 
Description
Founded in 1956 by Professor Reuven Feuerstein, the Feuerstein Institute is an international educational, treatment and research facility, dedicated to the task of teaching individuals how to learn. This is accomplished through use of the Feuerstein Method, which utilizes mediation to enhance learning potential. As a result, clients gain the knowledge and tools to reach beyond their manifest abilities. The Feuerstein Method can help EVERYONE improve how they learn.

So too at the more personal level –
The Feuerstein Institute gives children and adults a real chance and the proven ability to change and overcome a variety of physical and mental impairments, to be rehabilitated and integrated in society as contributing people.

Find both these extracts and more at:

Reuven Feuerstein died on 29 April. His succession, managerial and intellectual, had been already established.

It might interest people in Conductive Education to follow how this is intended, and how it works out. An easy way to do this is to click Like on a further Facebook page:

The path mapped out by Reuven Feuerstein and his immediate successors is not the only possible strategy to ensure the survival and development of a transformative practice and theory in an uncertain world – but it may prove more effective than no apparent strategy at all.

Recent postings on this topic on Conductive World

Sutton, A. (2014) Reuven Feuerstein: some reminiscences of the past, some hope for the future, Conductive World, 15 May
Sutton, A. (2014) Reuven Feuerstein: Shloshim, Conductive World, 20 May
http://www.conductive-world.info/2014/05/shloshim-received-this-morning-for-in.html


Friday, 23 May 2014

DINA REVISITED

Not before time

I have been working recently with Gill Maguire on reissue of the English edition of the book Dina, by Conductive Education Press

The English edition of Dina was published in 1991. How things have changed over the years and how they remain the same. I have been looking through the Foreword that I wrote to this book, almost exactly twenty-three years ago. I republish it here –

Foreword
Over the last few years the families of cerebrally palsied children have become tantalising aware of a new hope for the mental and physical development development of their children, Conductive Education. They are also aware that for most of them this hope might be a distant one – in all probability too distant to benefit their own children... it is bitterly clear that it will be a very long time, if ever, before everyone who might potentially benefit from this approach can have access to services like those developed in Hungary.

Parents do not expect miracles. They want an educational approach to their children's disabilities, one that sets out determinedly and confidently to transform their children's dysfunctional development. A transformational education has three essential requirements:
  • a philosophical approach that sees children's development as very much the product of their upbringing and education
  • methods appropriate to achieve this and
  • the organisation whereby all this can be implemented
At kindergarten (nursery) and more so at school age these three demand a highly complex system, with theory, methods and organisation often quite different from those commonly met in our schools. This is why the training of conductors and the establishment of Conductive Education in new contexts is such a complicated and difficult task.
In the first two or three years of life, however, it may prove less tricky to find some of the ingredients for a successful transformation in the course of cerebrally palsied children's development.
  • Many, many parents are already philosophically primed to the notion that their children's development depends upon the quality and nature of parental care, upbringing and education.
  • They desperately want to affect the course of their children's development.
And for the great majority of children in our society the essential organisational structure is already in place in the parent-child dyad (the mother-child dyad). In some fortunate situations the required methods seem to be created spontaneously out of the talents, resources and experiences of the family itself but in most cases parents desperately seek guidance on appropriate methods to observe, understand and guide their children. They want to be taught what to do.
This book by Károly and Magda Ákos provides the parents of young cerebrally palsied children a most welcome window on to the practical and theoretical approaches of Conductive Education for a specific age group and context. It cannot provide the full panoply of the system. It is neither do-it-yourself kit nor panacea but, from a different wing of András Pető's intellectual heritage, it offers practical insight into a way of transforming young children's development through education, in which many parents may find the inspiration and reassurance that they have been seeking.
Professionals reading this book, whatever their discipline, will also find fascinating windows opened, some expectations confirmed and perhaps some refuted too. Some may find the Central European style and vocabulary unfamiliar but it would have been unfair to tamper excessively for fear of losing its flavour. 'Gymnastics' seems commonly used in Hungary with the sense of exercises rather than the more formal activities implied by the word in English. The words 'heal' and 'healer' do not necessarily imply to cure but, in an older, less technical sense, to make whole.
Though terminology differs, underlying concepts may be comfortingly familiar. 'Anthropogenetic co-operation' refers to the interactions, the reciprocity, out of which human personality develops, with the child playing an active role. Dysfunction is seen as a learned, psychological outcome of disability within this context, with 'metamorphosis', transformation, possible through appropriate adult attention. Movement is not some separate, physical product of nerves and muscles, but arises essentially out of the joint, meaningful activity of adults and child, within the emotional bond of parent and child.
Most specially the developmental psychology described evokes the work of Vygotskii and his followers. Their stages of development – close parallels are apparent in this book:
  • early age (which is the central concern of this book), in which children learn best acting on their world in close emotional bond with their parents
  • kindergarten age, in which the leading role is taken by collaborative and symbolic play with peers
  • and then on to school age with its more formal instruction.
Naive interpretations by visitors to Budapest, seeking to ground what they have seen and heard there firmly within the framework of existing practices [back home] have suggested that Conductive Education is somehow a mix, combination or agglutination of teacher, therapist, nurse etc. Both the practical accounts and the theoretical statements given here by Károly and Magda Ákos confirm the necessity to take on the child's total psychological development, not least the emotional and motivational aspects, in any attempt to create movement education for cerebrally palsied children.
This a humane and compassionate book respecting the autonomy of parents. It recognising how isolated they may feel in bringing up a cerebrally palsies child and how existing services can appear alienating and uncomprehending. It offers no magic solution to all their problems but reassurance of what can be achieved by love and intelligent observation, patience and persistence. The help and supervision of an experienced conductor might be of enormously greater benefit than what this book can offer – but for most this is not available. Short of that. Whatever the occasional disagreements, parents should not cut themselves off from or cease to fight for the specialised help that existing systems provide. Perhaps this book will help better articulate what additional help it is that they require.
Károly and Magda Ákos hoped that their book would enable parents to band together to help each other. At the time of writing, this hope has not been realised in the German Federal Republic, where Dina was first published. Perhaps in the English-speaking world with its strong traditions of self-help and parental organisation, the Ákoses' hope might prove more fully reasonable.
Andrew Sutton
May 1991

After twenty-three years I would probably express myself a little differently – and I hope better – but the essence seems to stand. The only change made in reproducing this passage here is to use the new technology for a slight reformatting (through indentation), to make the argument a little more visible.

And oh yes, over these twenty-three years, as far as I know the Ákoses' notion of parents' banding together to help each other in this way has never been realised, anywhere.

Reference

Ákos, K., Ákos, M. Dina. A plea for personal responsibility and action by parents of children with cerebral palsy. A mother practises Conductive Education (Pető System), Birmingham, Foundation for Conductive Education, and Ulm, Alabanda Verlag


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

REUVEN FEUERSTEIN

Shloshim

Received this morning –

'For in the image of G-d, He made man' (Genesis 9:6)

The Feuerstein Institute invites you to attend
 the memorial ceremony to mark thirty days
 (Shloshim) since the passing of
Prof Reuven Feuerstein

of blessed memory
Monday 2 June at 6.30 p.m.

Ussishkin Hall, Binyanei Hauma, Jerusalem


SPEAKERS
Rabbi Shai Piron, Minister of Education
Meir Cohen, Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services
Rabannit Adena Bar-Shlom, Israel Prize Recipient
Adv. Yakov Neeman
Sheik Farid Haber El-Jabari, The Sheikh of Hebron
Rabbi Raffi Feuerstein, Vice-President, The Feuerstein Institute
Public Dignitaries

TUNES OF PRAYER
Shlomo Gronich

MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Sivan Rahav-Meir


Monday, 19 May 2014

A NEW SLOGAN FOR 'SEN' IN ENGLAND

Does it make you feel good?
Or despair?

Special Needs Jungle, along with a number of parents' bodies in England, is taking part in an eleventh-hour consultation on explaining to parents the new world of 'special educational needs'. Apparently an explanatory 'booklet' is coming together and already exceeds 250 pages...

A slogan for the future
Every teacher is a teacher of children with special educational needs

A self-evident and self-righteous slogan, unquestionable and irrefutable, meaning everything and nothing.

I wonder whether this stirring principle will sink without trace. Or perhaps it will live on to justify all sorts of doing nothing – because nobody will admit to having no idea of what to do and therefore, obviously, there's nothing different will be possible and no alternative needs trying.

'Special educational needs reform' is coming to England on 1 September. There will be no need for the word word 'can't'. Do, however, watch out for cant.

Cant

'Cant' is is a venerable English word meaning thieves' jargon
The more general sense of cant is insincere talk: affected language often used with an assumption of piety or moral high ground. But in philology, cant refers to the sublanguage of street criminals and people on the fringes of society, such as gypsies, hobos, beggars and rogues.
http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/thieves-cant

Not just the criminal underworld, of course. The professions and semi-professions have long had their own cants. Now the state is moving in. As officialdom in England advances apparently unopposed into the appropriation (theft) of the theory, philosophy, language – the very ownership – of childhood, watch out for and relish Newspeak slogans such as the one quoted here, deployed as further diversion to substance and understanding in the new special needs jungle.

This slogan comes, I believe, from the Code of Practice and could be set to attract the status of Holy Writ.

Reference

Tirraoro, T. (2014) Pitching the SEN Code of Practice to parents, Special Needs Jungle, 19 May



ANOTHER ONLINE RIP-OFF

Reputation, intellectual property
Misrepresentation

Another new CE site appeared on line yesterday

10 FACTS ABOUT CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION
Published by


Some of these words and phrased used are hauntingly familiar. Some of the statements in which they are embedded are dire and destructive:


Disclaimer

This nothing to do with me.

The home site of this new facts page has introduced some further material of the same standard as before:


Lurking

Another rather similar-looking site, advertising cosmetic products through CE, continues to lie dormant:


Earlier items about these sites




DOWNLOAD FOR FREE

Well not quite...

Yesterday I was offered, unsolicited, what looked like a most tempting deal on line
Download book Conductive Education Occasional Paper: No. 2 - Google Docs
google.com
Download Conductive Education Occasional Paper: No. 2 book pdf.
You can download your book here. Conductive Education Occasional Paper: No. 2
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hQ4lIsd2SwR16EsSxw-YPsP3zlRBFo9TQIgeT0uHiKY/edit

The offer comes from a site called Download Genius.


DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT

A free lunch? Don't you believe it, there's no such thing. Just thieves, arrant criminals, physhers, trying to steal your money.

You might get this notification too. It looks very slick, copper-bottomed.

If you do ever get an offer that looks a bit fishy, you won't be the first. Look the service up on Google and see other people's experience of it.

Ripoff Report

SuprBay

Etc...

Sunday, 18 May 2014

SOME NICE QUOTATIONS

But who selected them?
  • On living Life is action and life is good only when action is a joy. (p.19)
  • On parents Love never faileth. (p. 23)
  • On cerebral palsy Thou whose exterior semblance doth belie Thy soul's immensity. (p. 27)
  • On psychology A man's body and his mind – in all reverence I say it – are like a jerkin and its lining, rumple the one and you rumple the other. (p. 37)
  • On education A good system is twice blessed – it blesses him that trains and him that's trained. (p.34)
  • On kinaesiology Cogito, ergo sum 1. ( p. 77)
  • On movement training Die Blinden und die Lahmen könten euch gnädig sein 2. (p. 91)
  • On education Me reposer? Je ne veux pas. J'ai soif de vivre. 3. (p. 105)
  • On speech The world is best enjoyed and most immediately when we converse blessedly and wisely with men. (p. 109)
  • On schooling Je me trouve fort bien d'être une substance qui pense et qui lit. 4 (p. 113)
  • On aids Simplify, simplify. (p. 118)
More on this anon...

On English usage

This has changed over recent years. In the above read 'men' as 'people'.

1    I think, therefore I am
2    Blind and lame people could be gracious unto you.
3    Me, rest? I don't want to. I thirst for life.
4    I am content to be a substance who thinks and who reads.

Friday, 16 May 2014

ÁGNES GERÉB, 2014

No longer under house arrest but...
Persecuted midwife still not wholly free
The decision of 21 February 2014 came about when an appeal made by her legal team regarding the severity of the conditions of her house arrest was upheld by the Court of Appeal in Budapest. The court ordered that the house arrest restrictions be removed and ruled that the human rights defender could move freely around the city of Budapest and throughout the immediate countryside. She is not, however, permitted to go beyond this territory nor is she allowed to advise or consult with pregnant women.
http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/25162

One can think of worse conditions for the restriction of liberty but that is hardly the point.

Campaign video

(2012) Freedom for Birth (50-minute international campaign video, One World Birth

Free 15-minute abridged version online :

References

 (2014) Hungary: Update – Human rights defender Dr Ágnes Geréb released from house arrest, Frontline Defenders, 22 February

Sutton, A. (2012) Call the midwife (she's not a nurse), Call the conductor (she's not a therapist)
http://www.conductive-world.info/2012/09/call-midwife-shes-not-nurse.html


Thursday, 15 May 2014

REUVEN FEUERSTEIN

Some reminiscences of the past
Some hope for the future

Reuven died on 29 April. I have not written an obituary as such. I leave that task to those more closely involved in the specifics of the practices that he developed, and to those who knew him more closely as a human being.

With the exception of an excellent item by Hannah Brown in the Jerusalem Post, who was much closer that I in both these respects, his death and by extension his life and work have gone almost wholly unremarked by English-language media. It is still too early to expect anything in the professional press – we shall see. Within the little world of Conductive Education Gill Maguire was quick off the mark with a bibliography of relevant texts but – hardly surprisingly – nothing else has emerged. This present posting is not an obituary, in the sense of a prepared, measured, formal document, but rather a spontaneous utterance written straight into the computer, in a feeling that I could leave it no longer to mark his passing.

I had come across Reuven in the early nineteen-seventies, and we knew each other on and off and at a distance for some forty years. Over this time I visited his centre in Jerusalem only once, and once I nearly managed to bring him to ours but in the event he was not well enough to travel. We met mainly at conferences and courses. If arrived late for his presentation, he would interrupt the proceedings to give me an effuse public greeting – much to the puzzlement of his audience. He was a real showman, and an incorrigible rascal.

Minuses and pluses

I was not an uncritical enthusiast. I was not personally attracted to his Instrumental Enrichment materials – they seemed to lend themselves all too easily to the same sort of naïve, mechanistic, reductionist understandings that I was seeing bring havoc to the heritage of Vygotskii in the English-speaking West – and would see do the same to the heritage of Pető. I would have liked him to to move away from the intelligence and discourse. And I wished that one could have heard much more about his 'upbringing' work in foster home group care.

I was intrigued when I realised how strongly his theoretical position was rooted in Jewish cultural and child-rearing traditions – as later explicated by his brother Shmuel – and have wondered ever since how far similar questions might be raised about the deep theoretical underpinnings of other pedagogues and/or psychologists of Jewish heritage, who have affirmed the power of education to transform development. The stories of Vygotskii and Pető, for example, have been unquestioningly appropriated by the lands of their later years. Yes, the adult Vygotskii was a Marxist and, yes, the adult Pető believed who-knows-what. Vygotskii's childhood at least has already well enough described to permit some revisionist interpretation of the boy took precocious interest in German philosophy and whose mother had read him German poetry. The personal history of Reuven's ideas might yet prove as heuristic as his ideas themselves!

A master of communication

On the too few occasions when I saw Reuven 'perform' I envied the power of those well-honed off-the-cuff performances that seized the attention and the hearts of audiences around the world. I recall the last time that I saw him do this, in 2007, at the conference that Tsad Kadima organised in Tel Aviv. The bulk of the audience were parents of children with cerebral palsy, and Tsad Kadima people. I suspect that most of them knew little or nothing at all about Mediated Learning or even who Reuven was. He entered from the back of the hall, on the arm or his Personal Assistant, and made the long, slow, effortful walk to the front. The audience watched the entrance of this little old man with polite curiosity. I helped him up on to the podium, seated him behind the table there, and placed the microphone in front of his. It was like a switch being thrown – he said what he must have said hundreds of times in similar situations, in a variety of languages around the world. Here, at home in Israel, he spoke in English, slowly, without notes and with understated passion. I watched the faces of his audience: he slew them. They may or may not have understood Mediated Learning, but they recognised his message of pedagogic hope and faith, hard work and determination, and knew that here was a great truth, bigger that Conductive Education and applicable far more widely than to motor disorders. He offered them a place in a wider world.

Some people 'understand'?

People might not have known what he was taking about but they seemed to know they were in 'a presence'. I used to see the same thing with Mária Hári: at times she could be talking at her most unintelligible but sensible men and women, cynical journalists and hardened politicians even, could feel the force of humane, understated conviction emanating from her, and be completely drawn in. I do not know how she and he did it, but it worked. Yes, of course Reuven's beard and his trade-mark hat were great props for the role of guru, but such attribute are not fundamental. He believed, he knew, and he drew people in to believe and to know with him. It worked with children, it worked with adults, and it worked with audiences. It needed no physical presence: I have seen it work in a tele-conference, and I have seen in work from a video-taped television programme. I trust that his recorded image will continue to 'work' for years to come.

The television programme was The Prophet from the Wilderness, one of the Transformers series made by the BBC as a direct successor to Standing up for Joe. It was not a bad little film (though one or two bits do make me squirm!) but Reuven was a star, a 'natural' – as in real life a bit of a ham, playing the part he played so well, himself. It was a disappointment therefore that this TV film did not set the TV audience on fire, as had Standing up for Joe a few years before. Why this should have been so, I do not know. Nor do I fully understand why his ideas never really took off in England. Perhaps it was just that: they were ideas, and English education offers stony ground for educational theory. It was the wrong place, and the particular politicisation of education over recent years has meant the wrong time too.

How far people in general have 'understood' the central message of Feuerstein, I am no position to judge. A few years before, I introduced Howard Sharron to the notion of writing a popular introduction to Reuven's thinking work, Changing Children's Minds – and it still serves this purpose well. I think that in Howard Reuven met as great a rogue as himself. Certainly, each and every time that Reuven and I met after that he still chuckled about 'our friend'. Howard understood – so he really was 'our friend'. So did Ann Paul, who produced The Prophet from the Wilderness. So too have so many others over the years.

Many do not...

Many who understand have been personally converted by hearing Reuven speak at some form of public presentation. Some will have had the lives of their children and their families transformed by interventions based upon his work. Some will have got it from books. Others will have come to it with their transformative understandings already formed through other channels and found that Reuven's work offers an alternate, corroborative slant on an already familiar meta-position.

Yet many reject or ignore Reuven's ideas. Perhaps some have met them ill-explained. Perhaps some find them all to complex. Perhaps some have come with minds clenched tight for ideological reasons. There are rational reasons here for passing on by, and these can potentially be addressed rationally. And there are irrational reasons too.

Keep going...

I have tried and many others had tried too, for Reuven, for L. S. Vygotskii and his clan, for Pető and Hári, and for others too. I hope that many more will continue to try, to wage the presently so unequal fight for the cause of what Reuven called the 'modifiablity' of human psychic development – what I call its transformability and some call metamorphosis. What goes around comes around, and the world's need for this should be up there with climate change, pandemics, near-Earth objects, nuclear Armageddon and all those other anxieties that we might or might not be able do something about. This one we could do something about. It is human problem, and therefore potentially modifiable. Reuven tried.

Conductive World will doubtless return to Reuven Feuerstein at a later point when reason arises, as it surely will. His words and the philosophy of the infinite capacity of human thinking will continue to have meaning for me, as I know that they will for others.

Meanwhile, Rony Schenker is leaving a stone for me on his grave.

References

Brown, H. (2014) Professor Reuven Feuerstein: a personal remembrance from a very grateful mother, Jerusalem Post, 30 April

Feuerstein, R. (2008) Conductive Education and structural cognitive modifiability. Recent Advances in Conductive Education, vol. 7, no 1, pp.5-8

Feuerstein, S (2002) Biblical and Talmudic Antecedents of Mediated Learning Experience Theory: Educational and Didactic Implications for Inter-Generational Cultural Transmission, Jerusalem, International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential and Ashkelon Academic College

Sharron, H., Coulter, M. (1984) Changing Children's Minds, London, Fontana


Sutton, A. (2014) That Nobel Peace Prize: an historical footnote, Conductive World, 21 January