Saturday, 16 May 2015


Is there relevance for Conductive Education?

It is not easy to generate sensible and open discussion of Conductive Education anywhere – never mind create sustainable conductive services for other than a tiny privileged minority of potential beneficiaries. Let's face it though, some societies are rather more amenable to the notion of transformative pedagogy than are others.

Money of course is an ever-present factor in this, so to is the countervailing force of existing institutions. No doubt readers can add their own lists of further factors out of their individual experiences.

Yesterday Conductive World 's Facebook page linked to the progress of Tsad Kadima in Israel, remarked now even in Hungary:

This progress has been unmatched in scale by any institution in Conductive Education's international diaspora.

Often remarked by Conductive World has been the comparisons to be made between Conductive Education and the late Reuven Feuerstein's mediated learning approach – a comparison underlined by Reuven himself. The outward spread of his work from its original client base and its geographical location also shows parallels. In terms of its acceptance, however, its spread has been patchy, some societies being rather more open to it than others.

An index of how far mediated learning has come in its Israel itself is its progressive acceptance by the Israel Defense Force:

It is hard to imaging anything vaguely analogous in for example the United Kingdom.

Behind the money, behind the countervailing forces of existing institutions, there surely stands a super-ordinate ingredient for effecting change in human mental development: a society that accepts welcomes and encourages the very notion. Perhaps it is something in 'the Jewish culture', perhaps it is a more proximal factor of being a society always at war, under siege, desperate for its very survival. Perhaps this, perhaps that, but how to account for societies that are uneasy about the message, or even opposed to very idea that the development and potential of human beings lies in the hands of their fellow humans – and that psychosocial-intervention is not just feasible but desirable, and maybe even essential.

By the modest standards of Conductive Education, Tsad Kadima has flourished. Perhaps in no small part this is because it has been planted in fertile soil in a suitable climate. There may be other, more specific factors involved here. Some of these may be 'exportable' to contexts where Conductive Education initiatives are foundering. But if the analysis tentatively offered here has some validity, what to do about transplanting Conductive Education in less conducive climes, in less nourishing soils?

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