Sunday, 31 January 2016

FRANZ SCHAFFHAUSER ON MÁRI HÁRI

The pedagogicisation of conductive upbringing

I do not think that Franz Schaffhauser ever met Mári Hári in life, though of course his own life and career were later considerably influenced by what she handed on from András Pető in the form of her own heritage – on which he has now left his mark.

Franz did meet Mária, however, in the world of ideas. A brief paragraph in Franz's recent paper on the 'educational-philosophical foundations of Conductive Education' offers his view of Mária's contribution to the history of conductive ideas, through the pedagogicisation of conductive practice and theory.

This pedagogicisation has not been dealt with explicitly in the published hagiographical works, though privately Károly Ákos was highly critical of her for her role in a process that was perhaps inevitable in the social and institutional context within which at that time the work was confined.

(I am less critical than was Károly of what Maria did in this respect. She was riding a very difficult tiger, through a dark and dangerous jungle. It is remarkable that she succeeded at all.)

Franz's paper has been published in both Hungarian and English. I have taken the liberty of slightly adjusting a few words of the English version here and there, to make the whole more accessible to English-readers.

So introduced, this then is Franz's take on the matter –
While maintaining, and indeed emphasising the holistic approach, the principle of completeness, Mári Hári aimed at the entirety of the personality by following the intentions of her master while further pedagogising Pető's fundamental ideas. The most important element of this pedagogisation is that, in the knowledge of the most significant results of contemporary personality psychology (Vygotskii, Leontiev, Luriya, Alport), Hári determined the aim and essence of the process of conductive upbringing, namely that it influences the whole personality. This personality-centredness became the underlying principle of the systematic theoretical examination of the Pető method and its consistent implementation while weaving it into the pedagogical influences of infancy, preschool and school age, in other words delivering it, referred to by herself and her followers as the system of conductive upbringing (Hári, 1997, pp. 115ff.)
(p. 93)

This is a short article on a big topic, of which this excerpted paragraph shares problems of the whole. These include that there is just not space to address questions that its content immediately raises, and might there have been reasons for this other than philosophical, For example, what actual changes that Mária introduced exemplify this process of further pedagogicisation? Was this process altogether unproblematical? More, over that period Mária would indeed have been likely to have access to such 'contemporary personality psychology' – can the specific themes that she drew upon be referenced or otherwise substantiated? How is it argued that personality-centredness is the underlying principle: are there possibly other contenders, related or not? 

No doubt others would have their own questions – but this is a short paper.

Franz certainly opens a rich vein – including the further question of whether, for social, ideological and perhaps other reasons, Conductive Education may presently be undergoing a process of depedagogicisation and, if so, what are the implications of this?

A couple of earlier mentions of this work


More anon

Note

Konduktív nevelés has been translated above as 'conductive upbringing' rather than 'Conductive Education (see Conductive World, passim, for why).

Reference

Constantino, D. (ed.) (2014) Breakpoints and Bridges: punti di rottura e ponti di pedagogia umana, Trento, Erikson


  • A konduktív pedagógia nevelésfilozófiai alapjairól, pp. 81–87
  • On the educational-philosophical foundations of Conductive Education, pp. 89–94

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

CHANGE THE LAW

To enable CE schools

SERIOUS NATIONAL CE POLITICS
In Luxembourg

Petition to the Chamber of Deputies

This petition has been proposed by Maggy Wagner, President of Schrëtt fir SchrëttHere are some salient points, from the French text:
The current law in Luxembourg excludes disabled children from the right to a private education... 
This is not consistent with the fundamental rights of disabled people to be treated like any other on the basis of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 2011. This law is discriminatory since it separates disabled children and those with special needs.
Hereby, we ask you to amend the 2003 law referred to here to ensure all disabled children and those with special needs, free choice of education system according to their specific needs: ensuring the right to a private school and the right to choice in their education like all other children in compulsory education. [Schrëtt fir Schrëtt, the Luxembourg CE association] recommends the conduction system established for years in many countries by the eminent Hungarian physician Andras Petö…
This is an very specific and efficient educational and rehabilitative system, which aims to maximize learning and skills in relation to the potential of each and seeks autonomy and self-determination of the people concerned with the aim of maximum integration and an acceptable quality of life. Many centers and conductive schools operate abroad, as in Germany, on private basis (eg. inclusion schools)...
[Schrëtt fir Schrëtt] recommends the conductive system established for years in many countries, by the eminent Hungarian physician Andras Petö...
For our children with severe and multiple disabilities, inclusion in a basic school class is unrealistic: they need a different learning pace, other stimuli, a completely different management plan, encompassing the school side but also the rehabilitative side with social care and support for their everyday acts.
[The state's cerebral palsy institute] offers a diametrically opposite concept to the conduction system, which is not an option for parents concerned...
We believe it is time to ensure the families concerned the right to choose the proper education of their children with special needs, with the concept, the system, the educational and rehabilitative purpose that these children are supported. Their whole life depends on it. Please help us by amending the law referred here to allow the creation of private schools in the ediff sector.
[Etc.] 

Read it in full, in English

This French edition reponds well to Google Translate. Read the machine translation into English at:


What's this all about?

Schrëtt fir Schrëtt is the parents' association for advancing Conductive Education in Luxembourg. See more:


As is often the case nowadays, the linguistic side is the easiest aspect of a translation. The hard bits are the social, cultural, political, historical contexts essential for understanding what the words mean.

Something important is going on. Parents are standing up on their national stage. For conduction pedagogy, as education.

Could somebody explain more – pour encourager les autres?

News update

http://www.wort.lu/en/politics/petition-results-more-leave-less-discrimination-56a0f9570da165c55dc519f8 (in English)




Friday, 22 January 2016

THANKS A MILLION

Passing 1,000,000 pageviews
Some sort of milestone

At some time unnoticed over the last three months or so Conductive World chalked up one million 'pageviews' over the course of its existence (since 4 October 2007).

It has taken 2,391 postings on my part to achieve the present score 1,040,687 pageviews.

Pageviews?

I realise that I am not altogether sure of what this word signifies, so I have looked it up –
A pageview is a count indicating the number of times a Web page has been loaded into a browser. The publishing platform Blogger, used for all Blogspot-hosted sites, counts pageviews using Google’s proprietary algorithms... Several factors affect the number of pageviews shown for a blog; the exact number reported by Blogger will almost always be different from the pageviews shown by other traffic analysis applications.
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/pageview-blogspot-59699.html

So there you are. Personally I am none the wiser.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

ON PLANET NINE

With John Keats
L. S. Vygotskii and András Pető

Midst all the fuss about Planet Nine I have been reminded* of John Keats' feelings upon first looking into Chapman's Homer:

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
That's exactly how I felt in the early nineteen-seventies when I first came across L.S. Vygotskii and some of the ideas and practice that followed (largely though not exclusively in his native land)

And rather later, in a smaller way, when I came across András Pető and what was manifest of what he had done.

I just thought that I would share this with those who have felt the same...

____________________
*    Andersen, R. (2016) Planet Nine may help us slingshot our way to interstellar space. Or, it may not. The Atlantic, 21 January

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

ENGLAND AND WALES – CE CHARITIES

Times they are a-changing
And in North America? 
Elsewhere?

I had recent cause to consult the website of the Charity Commission for England and Wales. While I was there I looked up Conductive Education in its Registry:

My search brought up 19 charities (non-profits) identified as having been formally concerned with Conductive Education. See the complete list:


Of 19 charities registered in England and Wales in the years since the Foundation for Conductive Education led the way in 1986, 14 have now been removed from the register – only five remain.

Nothing of course is simple. At one point PACES SHEFFIELD and RAINBOW HOUSE have reconstituted under their original names, and therefore each appears on the list twice. PACE for example is not on this list, being a more general charity for children with cerebral palsy and other charities employing conductors either do so as part of providing a range or services or are defined according to the populations that they serves, e.g. children with cerebral palsy.

Granting this, and perhaps other provisos, the ratio of registered to deregistered charities in English charities with Conductive Education a defining feature is perhaps indicative... of something. But of what? Public definition or underlying realities? Perhaps such a rate has not been unique.

Is there 'a literature'? Some years ago (see below) David Dvorak surveyed the survival of CE centers in North America, drew conclusions and proposed action.

In England and Wales, new charities with a specific focus on CE are no longer being formed. For a variety of reasons, new conductive services in the UK operate as businesses, private practices, consultancies etc. A recent example:


Their survival rate will be important, perhaps vital for the sustained development of Conductive Education in the UK. It will be interesting to see whether they make their way successfully in the world as service-providers, either in collaboration with public services or wholly independently, without need for charitable fundraising – and, if so, discover how.

Comparative footnote: the US survey

With important provisos, the criteria, method, time-span etc. in David Dvorak's survey are not directly comparable with what little data are presented above for England and Wales, and his study is now quite old. Here is the abstract of his published report –
Abstract Development of Conductive Education services across North America has been driven by parents of children with motor disorders seeking to establish Conductive Education programs local to their homes. During 2006-7, some fifty programs were found in various listings. Only thirty were found to be operational, twenty-five of which responded to brief enquiry on the management challenges that they experienced. Center administrators’ responses clustered mainly in five areas, finance, conductors, overall management, leadership and marketing/publicity. Respondents also offered suggestions as to how these issues might be addressed, helping in the creation of a Management Report on Conductive Education Programs in North America.

I know of no other such surveys elsewhere – as ever I should be pleased to be proven wrong.

Reference

Dvorak, D. (2009) Management report: Conductive Education programs in North America, Recent Advances in Conductive Education, vol.7, no 2

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

'EMPOWERMENT AND NOTHING ELSE IS CURE'

Anna Dévény at 75, and still hard at it
Compare and contrast...
An interview with Barbara Molnár, published in English some 18 months ago in the Budapest Telegraph, begins –

Hungary is well off in offering treatment for infants born with problems: parents looking for assistance can choose from (at least) three (hotly competing) institutions and methods.

Some other quotes from this article –
  • ...treatment should become part of daily routine in hospital units specializing in the care of premature infants.
  • You don’t invent a new method just by thinking hard – it must be based on plenty of practice and experience.
  • Mind you I did that on six days of the week because five-day weeks were only introduced in Hungary in the early 1980s. So I was busy between 6.30 a.m. and 9.30 p.m. I did that driven by an inner motivation, not for the money.
  • Mind you I did that on six days of the week because five-day weeks were only introduced in Hungary in the early 1980s.
  • [Then, in the early 1980s there was a prime-time television interview] The downside of that celebrity status was that so many people brought their children to me for therapy that other therapists became jealous. It’s inconvenient even to think of the conflicts of the ensuing 15 years.
  • When a practitioner offers an entirely new approach, it generates tensions – in every field. Suffice it to refer to how Ignác Semmelweis died.
  • There is no clear distinction between cure and development in kinetic therapies.
  • When a patient is declared as cured with my method, he/she is fully functional.
  • I hope there will be younger colleagues to carry on this method.
  • This method is only effective as long as it is not mixed up with elements of other methods. Methods,just like medicines, cannot be freely replaced and mixed up. The proposition that the more types of treatments a patient gets the better, is wrong.
  • Every infant would benefit from [this] treatment in the first weeks of his/her life
  • [Although fellow therapists have often criticized her method, she has received several prizes: Batthyány-Strattmann László Prize: 2003, Prima Primissima Prize: 2010, and Order of Merit (civilian) – Commander Cross of Hungary: 2014.]
http://www.budapesttelegraph.com/news/743

There is plenty else beside in the original interview, presenting a most fruitful and enjoyable topic  for comparative study.

I myself met Anna Dévény fairly early on in my connection with Conductive Education, I think on my first visit to Budapest, in 1984 when I was first trying to develop a perspective on this approach. She was operating in an empty shop in Pest, near the Parliament House. I met no interest when I told people about her over the years though her presence on the Internet suggests that eventually she had little need of help from me. On the same visit I also met Ferenc Katona. He was already well versed with the opposition of fellow paediatricans at home and abroad, who wanted more research rather than be open to a new practice.

References

Cottam, P., Sutton, A. (1985), Conductive Education: a system for overcoming motor disorder, London, Croom Helm (p. 25)

Molnár, B. (2015) 'Empowerment and nothing else is cure' – an interview with physiotherapist Anna Dévény, Budapest Telegraph, 24 July



Monday, 18 January 2016

WHAT DOES 'PROTECT' MEAN HERE?

Protect what? And how?

There is no further news on what the PAF is wanting to protect. The question of how the Hungarian word levedhetik might best be translated in this context* has, however, seen some discussion on Facebook:
Should it then be 'patent'?

Earlier postings on Conductive World (1-5 January)

____________________
* into English at least

Sunday, 17 January 2016

MONEY, SOCIAL STATUS AND ACCESS TO CE

Socially devisive

Conductive Education as currently generally understood is dependent upon people. It is a 'people technology'.

As they used to say, in the Western world anyway, 'Costs walk on two legs' (in on other parts of the world of course labour is often a very cheap commodity indeed). Conductive Education has developed to be dependent not just on people, but on trained people at that, with higher costs still.

Only a proportion of people in the Western world can afford to employ staff, even through professional fees for short-term or one-off services.

All this leaves Conductive Education in a bit of a fix, especially at a time in which the distribution of wealth is shaping up so that a relative few get richer and most of the rest get poorer.

it was the goal of early activists that CE should be part of universalist state education systems, and therefore open freely to everybody who might be eligible. That was thirty or so years ago, and the world has changed.

Societies vary of course, as much within themselves as in comparison with each other. Some families and institutions are lucky, with CE's made available free of cost at the point of access – through insurance systems, charitable fundraising, medical damages, or hard fought-for individual claims to recognise CE as an individual 'special educational need'.

On the whole, however, Conductive Education is not freely available to all (children or adults), only to to people who can draw upon considerable personal finances, are extremely lucky in where they live, and or have the strength and/or knowledge to fight long and hard for what they want – and perhaps not even then.

In other words, even in the economically favoured Western world – and putting aside the question of there being no foreseeable hope of creating and employing the necessary workforce – most of those who might benefit from Conductive Education have no realistic chance of ever even experiencing it. Perhaps of even ever hearing of it.

Some of course will hear of it and some of these will experience it. This does not deny the previous statement.

Haves and have-nots. Of course there will be exceptions, but given Conductive Education's historical roots and the apparent attitudes to money of its founding figure András Pető, what a paradoxical situation to have come about: Conductive Education as currently widely understood developing withing a framework of social and economic devisiveness.

Since on can do very little about the various social and economical realities alluded to above, what courses are open to those who care about such matters, in the Western world and elsewhere.

Nothing new here of course, nothing that has not been apparent, and stated, for the last thirty-odd years.

Friday, 15 January 2016

YET ANOTHER PETO (1890-1977)

Gladys

I love spotting Petos. The name is everywhere. The English name and the Hungarian name. It has not been a good week for the name in Hungary (Zsolt), so I offer this posting to lighten the balance

Gill Maguire is collecting people named Peto and Pető , for publication. Here's another one for her list: Gladys Peto:


Gladys left a considerable legacy of work but surprisingly little seems known about her life.

Creative but a mystery, these are not to been seen as family traditions – the English and the Hungarian names are not related, though they are both formed in the same way.

If you would like to hang a Peto on your wall you might still pick one up fairly reasonably:



Thursday, 14 January 2016

ONE MAN'S ORTHOFUNCTION

A lottery-winner's values and dreams

Ralph Strzełkowski won something on Saturday's lottery: $8.00 not $1.3 billion. On his blog this morning he writes –

Many people don't believe it when I say it. I really don't have big dreams for myself. There's no gadget that I really must have, I never wanted a mansion and fast cars don't really impress me. I just want to be comfortable. For me that means being in a place where I don't have to wonder if I see enough clients this month to pay my rent. And quite frankly I'm not there yet. I have my moments of stress and my moments of doubt. But for me life is about being able to make it. And having a life doing what you know well and love. Helping people. Being surrounded by friends. Searching for and finding happiness...

Sounds reasonable to me. I do hope that Ralph does not mind my describing these aspects of his philosophy of life with such a dreadful jargon word, 'orthofunction'. If you do use this work be reminded that it has a perhaps essential spiritual side too and, to use another jargon word, it it nothing unless is holistic – as here.

Ralph grew up in Poland from where as a boy he attended the then Pető Institute. He is now an attorney in Gainesville, Florida, and leads FDAAF, the Florida Disability Access and Awareness Association.

You can read the story of his upbringing and something of his new life in the United States in his book Never Never Quit, still the only conductive autobiography. Preview his book, and order a copy here if you wish:


Reference

Strzełkowski , R, (2015) If I won the PowerBall... Wheelchaired for a day, 13 January

http://blog.lawyeronwheels.org/2016/01/if-i-won-powerball.html




Wednesday, 13 January 2016

ENGLAND AND WALES – CE CHARITIES

Times they are a-changing
And in the US. And elsewhere?

I had recent  cause to consult the website of the Charity Commission for England and Wales. While I was there I looked up Conductive Education in the Registry:

I was not altogether expecting what I found. My search brought up 19 charities (non-profits) identified as having been formally concerned with Conductive Education. See the complete list:


Of 19 charities registered in England and Wales in the years since the Foundation for Conductive Education led the way in 1986, 14 have been removed from the register – only five remain.

Nothing of course is simple. At one point PACES SHEFFIELD and RAINBOW HOUSE have reconstituted under their original names, and therefore each appears on the list twice. PACE for example is not on this list, now being a more general charity for children with cerebral palsy and other charities employing conductors either do so as part of providing a range of services or are defined to the Commission according to the populations that they serve, e.g. children with cerebral palsy.

Granting this, and perhaps other provisos, the ratio of registered to deregistered charities in English charities with Conductive Education, according to their registered role, is perhaps indicative... of something. But of what? Public definition or underlying realities? Perhaps such a rate has not been unique.

Is there 'a literature'?  Some years ago, Dave Dvorak surveyed the survival of CE centers in the US, drew conclusions and proposed actions.. 

New  charities with a specific focus on CE are no longer being formed in the UK. For a variety of reasons, new conductive services in the UK operate as businesses, private practices etc, the latest for example:


Their survival rate will also be interesting. It will be interesting to see whether they make their way successfully in the world as service-providers, either in collaboration with public services or wholly unconnected, without need for fundraising – and, if so, discover how.

Comparative footnote: the US survey

With important provisos, the criteria, method, time-span etc. in David Dvorak's survey are not directly comparable, and his study is now quite old, here is the abstract of his published report –
Abstract Development of Conductive Education services across North America has been driven by parents of children with motor disorders seeking to establish Conductive Education programs local to their homes. During 2006-7, some fifty programs were found in various listings. Only thirty were found to be operational, twenty-five of which responded to brief enquiry on the management challenges that they experienced. Center administrators’ responses clustered mainly in five areas, finance, conductors, overall management, leadership and marketing/publicity. Respondents also offered suggestions as to how these issues might be addressed, helping in the creation of a Management Report on Conductive Education Programs in North America.

I know of no other such surveys anywhere – as ever I should be pleased to be proven wrong.

References

Dvorak, D. (2009) Management report: Conductive Education programs in North America, Recent Advances in Conductive Education, vol. 7, no 2

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

ANNIVERSARIES GIVE PAUSE

To think

Norman Perrin comments on yesterday's posting on Schrëtt fir Schrëtt's twentieth anniversary –
I wonder how many more 20th anniversaries there are coming up?
http://www.conductive-world.info/2016/01/another-twentieth-birthday.html?showComment=1452553631314#c3298613603441495408

The 1990s were a time when parents' serious interest in CE surged outwards from the first heady enthusiasm that had followed Standing up for Joe, as the flurry of meetings, newsletters and other means of communication around the world began to make certain things clear:
  • an institution in Hungary could help or it could hinder, but it could offer the world no general solution
  • training conductors back home was a very long-term solution
  • it was progressively demonstrated that conductors could provide something in small units in far-away places
  • the Iron Curtain was down and many conductors were footloose
  • small parent-led centres were just about affordable and even sustainable, at local rather than national levels
Quite a few services got up and running in that decade, in the UK, Australasia, in some parts of Europe and in North America. Some proved unsustainable and have vanished without trace.

Anniversaries remind us how much has happened, good and bad, in just twenty of so years. It is a shame, though, that so much hard-won experience has gone largely unrecorded, as others could have learned from it.

There must be several twentieth anniversaries presently in the offering but the big CE anniversary coming up in 2016 is not a twentieth. It is the thirtieth anniversary of the start of the whole process of internationalising CE through the only mechanism that has so far been generally successful in the West – personally driven, grass-roots, popular movements.

That anniversary should also provoke some reflection.

Monday, 11 January 2016

ANOTHER TWENTIETH BIRTHDAY

Schrëtt fir Schrëtt
(Luxembourg/Luxemburg)

Another of the conductive services formed in the nineteen-nineties, in the second wave of international interest in Conductive Education, is this week celebrating its twentieth anniversary – Schrëtt fir Schrëtt (Step by Step) in Luxembourg/Luxemburg.

Luxembourg straddles one of Europe's great joins, between the Francophonie and the German sphere, incorporating both languages and its own. The latter is manifest in its CE Centre's name, Schrëtt fir Schrëtt (in the Luxembourgish language), with the two great cultural blocks apparent in the centre's parallel websites:


And (of course?) an English website is also promised.

One further background fact that may be of significance: Luxembourg enjoys the highest per capita gross domestic product of any country in the world.

Birthday bash

From 1430, Friday 15 January


Nibbles, birthday cake, wine...

Anniversary meeting

From 1830, Friday 15 January

In addition to a presentation of Schrëtt fir Schrëtt's school there will also be:
  • Dr. Champolion, medical disability specialist, working with Conductive Education (France)
  • Dr. Leclercq, psychiatrist, President of the Franco-Belgian Association of Conductive Pedagogy
  • Peter von Quadt, Founder of Fortschritt Starnberg (Germany)
  • Zsuzsa Hadházi and Zsuzsa Balázs, conductors
Further details:


Locale

Both events will be held at the Kulturcentrum Prince Henri de Walferdange: