Monday, 27 April 2015


You have big guns on your side
Vygotskii and Goethe, no less

Yesterday Norman Perrin blogged –

...How often do people – professionals – look at the child (or adult) with motor dysfunction (cerebral palsy, perhaps) and see only the disability and not 'the possibility'?
The system – the Government, of whatever stripe – demands it. As we face up to another assessment of our daughter's care package (as a result of handing to local authorities sole responsibility, on the closure of the Independent Living Fund), we know that only by emphasising her disabilities will her full care needs be met. Ever the disability, not 'the possibility'.
Many children's childhoods have been hemmed in, blighted, stunted even, by services (the services' own term for what they provide) that impede rather than enhance parents' role and their honest aspirations for bringing up their children.

Why? Is it because people who work in these services are stupid, uneducated, lazy, incompetent, evil, etc? In some cases of course they are undoubtedly so. Many, however, perhaps most, are not. If there is something rotten it is the state of 'the system'. This is not something that will be solved by more money, paying for more people, differently organised, thinking the same thoughts and doing the same things  to the same effect, and perhaps more so.

One has to delve deeper. What do these services and the people whom they employ think that they are doing? What deep down do they believe about the nature and causation of human change? Perhaps a tiny but fundamental tweak at this philosophical level might have systemic, transformative effects on outcome, and even the cost of it all, human and financial.

Nothing new under the sun

As Vygotskii put it eighty-odd years ago –
Education must be oriented not towards the yesterday of child development but towards its tomorrow (Vygotskii (1934, p. 251)

Or, as Goethe put it, at least a century before that –
If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be (Goethe, I cannot find where he wrote this)


Perrin, N. (2015) So what does Bryant Jennings know of Conductive Education? C.E. Jottings, 26 April

Vygotskii, L. S. (1934) Myshlenie I rech', M.-L., Sotsekgiz, Sob. Soch., Vol. 2, M., Pedagogika

1 comment:

  1. What attracted me and still attracts me to Conductive Education is that it sees "the possibility"; more, it sees that "the possibility" is something that is created; created in the mediated interaction between the individual and its environment; mediated by the conductor.