Thursday, 21 May 2015

HISTORY WITH HOLES IN IT

Teleology

The Facebook page for the 8th World Congress held in 2013 remains live on line, and continues to attract occasional announcements on this or that:


Recently this Facebook page has linked to a text called 'The development of Conductive Education in Germany':


Publication history

The text linked to here is published on line by the BKF (Bundesverband Konduktive Förderung nach Petö e.V.) an umbrella organisation for German conductive institutions. The text was compiled initially by the Phoenix GmbH, a division of Pfennigparade, a large service-provider based in Munich, in conjuncion with Bundesverband der Konduktoren e.V, the German professional organisation for conductors and others – and originally published by the European Conductors' Association as pages 61-65 of the 'Glossary' arising from an EU Leonardo project:


This EU Glossary has been reposted on line by Move & Walk in Sweden, including the pages under consideration here:


The Glossary is published in Euro-English, and includes accounts of developments in Austria, Hungary and Sweden as well as in Germany.

Authoritative?

It is characteristic of Conductive Education worldwide for its publications to evoke little or no critical comment. The reappearance of this document via the Facebook page of the 8th World Congress might be read to imply a further institutional imprimatur, perhaps as the basis of the German conductive story to appear at the next World Congress. But is it a sufficient, authoritative and critical account of what led up to twenty-first century konduktive Förderung? Cursory examination suggests problems that requiring further work and consideration.

There are factual omissions from the story of developments in Germany at all stages of the history of Conductive Education:
  • The prehistory. There is no mention of Ándras Pető's having been been culturally 'German', as much as or more so than he was Hungarian in this respect. Nor that before the Second World War, when he was living in Austria, he had been involved in the publication of the journal Biologische Heilkunst, in Dresden, Germany.
  • The Hungarian stage. There is no mention that in the early sixties, during the Cold War, shut off by the Iron Curtain, András Pető published two books in Germany – in West Germany. They are in German, and their content has never been incorporated critically into the small canon of published material that appeared later in Germany and Austria (despite copies' still being easily obtainable on line).
  • The Internationalisation stage. A There is no mention of the work of Károly and Magda Ákos, and of Gabi Haug and the Verein zür Verbreitung Konduktiver Pädagogik, based in Ulm. Recognising that there were never going to be enough conductors for all but a fortunate few, they proposed a radical model: parent-based rather than centre-based implementation of the Pető method.
  • The future. There is no mention of present-day service-innovation, especially with respect to inclusion, social and educational.
Nor indeed is there exploration and critical evaluation of a major departure in the two major German-speaking lands, creation of the PTKs (Pädagogisch-therapeutischen Konduktoren), and their Austrian equivalents, the pedagogic-multitherapeutic conductors, sharing the common rubric of 'conductors' with those who have undertaken full profesional socialisation and training. There no critical examination of how far in the light of this konduktive Förderung is establishing a coherent identity of its own – nor of the grounds to justify use of the now common eponymous term 'Petö'.

The effect of partial accounts may be problematical and decidedly teleological history that appears to lead inexorably to a present that is the beste aller möglichen Welten (best of all possible worlds), and serves to justify how things have come to be as they are now.

The 9th World Congress will be held in Budapest from 10 to 13 December 2016, under the title 'Welcome to the Home of Conductive Education' – perhaps cause and opportunity for lots more history-writing. Cui bono?


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