Monday, 29 February 2016


A step forward

Yesterday Conductive World mentioned goings-on over CE in Blekinge county in Sweden:

But Sweden is a diverse country, different counties and local and national government following their own paths. The Patients' Act that came into force last year increases Swedes' right to chose their own treatments, and this applies to Conductive Education offered through approved suppliers.

Last week a press release from CE organisation Move & Walk announced –
It has now been confirmed that the Patient Act applies to the agreement on Conductive Education... This means that no matter where you live in Sweden you are entitled to train with Conductive Education at Move & Walk in Gothenburg... Currently this applies to children and adolescents with cerebral palsy up to 19 years...

No doctor's certificate required...

Move & Walk is an approved supplier. This means a step closer towards Move & Walk's goal of Conductive Education for all  Swedes who need it.
Move & Walk invests in a Press Officer. It shows:
There is no further word about Blekinge from Lars Mullback, where CE centre's deadline expires tomorrow.

Sunday, 28 February 2016


Ever easier access to a world of plenty

Over the last week Conductive World has featured postings dependent upon reports in a number of European languages, French, German, Swedish, Portuguese and Swedish. Hungarian has also featured recently, and something Russian will be reported soon.

Cut and paste

This reflects continuous advance in translation technology. As far as European languages are concerned, especially when translating from Western European languages into English, this is becoming very good indeed.

Cut and paste some foreign-language text into Google Translate or one of the other machine translaters – or insert a page's URL if your chosen translation technology will stand this – for an almost instant translation, sometimes a remarkably good one:

Romance languages come over very well into English, and Germanic languages usually fare pretty well too. Hungarian, however, being Finno-Ugrian, does not, though Slav languages are usually just about intelligible. Chinese usually does well enough to convey the gist.

There is now a wide range of languages to chose from (though this last week I failed to find anything to take on Luxembourgish).

Coming soon

Proper appreciation of what is going on in CE outside one's own country nowadays requires willingness to give foreign-language documents a try if not to be left out of things.

Real-time interpretation is now coming into operation, so presumably it will not be long till one can also listen to foreign news items on radio and TV.


I do not know how machine translation manages when translating modern semi-professional jargon from English into foreign languages. I hope that, when it does. it does not suggest a precision that is not always apparent in originals.

Saturday, 27 February 2016


Save our centre, in Sweden
Scandi noir?

I have just learned of another public petition to politicians, to prevent a European CE centre's being closed due to professional opposition. The deadline for closure was to be 1 March. Then latest information that I have found on line is on Lars Mullbeck's Facebook page and on his blog, all dated 20 January:

His blog posting, in Swedish, begins as follows –

Open letter to local politicians in Blekinge

OPEN LETTER TO county council politicians We parents and relatives of the neurologically damaged children in Blekinge are very worried  
In the minutes from the November meeting of the Board of Psychiatry and Habilitation we read that you are considering not to renew the agreement for Conductive Education that expires on 1 March, 2016, despite the fact that the Agreement can be extended a further two periods. Instead Maj-Lis Olsson, Head of Operations, Rehabilitation has been commissioned to investigate whether Conductive Education can be offered in-house...
As you probably know, we have neurological damage and our relatives have had to fight very hard and publicly in Blekinge for the right to choose Conductive Education as a complement to habilitation since 2011. The main reason is that habilitation management is hostile to Conductive Education as a complementary activity. Some of the resistance we have encountered is described in a doctoral thesis Rehabilitation in Focus but also in a number of articles under the category of Blekinge on
Just the fact that that the operations management, which as as has been documented, is so negative about Conductive Education, has been commissioned to investigate Conductive Education makes us worried. Below are some arguments that should be considered before a decision to participate in the case ...
Follow this account further on Lars's blog:

I learned of this business less than half an hour ago and I do not know whether the petition has been successful, or where things currently stand in Blekinge in the south of Sweden.

Maybe someone there could update and inform.

That dissertation

I think that this may be the thesis referred to above. It is available on line in full, in Swedish (with an English summary on pages 287- 298):

It is by Ulla Bohlin and is dated 2009.

Most recent posting on Luxembourg petition

Material for a comparative study. What else is going on?


Friday, 26 February 2016


End of the beginning in sight?

There are a lot of people of Portuguese background in Luxembourg – Portuguese Luxembourgers or Lusoburguês – more that 80,000, around 16% of the population of that small country. Inevitably, some of them have disabilities. Not surprisingly there are Lusoburguês children and their families involved with Schrëtt fir Schrëtt.

Portuguese Luxembourgers are the largest cultural minority in Luxenbourg, with their own media. Today's Portuguese-language edition of the newspaper Contacto updates on Schrëtt fir Schrëtt's struggle for survival

It reprises the background to the case as already covered in the country's French, German and Luxembourgish media and followed as well as can be by Conductive World. The article then quotes Laurence Borges and a signatory to the petition to the Chambre of Deputies –
My wife is Portuguese, and our son does not walk or talk. But he has learned to read and write through conductive pedagogy. The key to this system is to give greater autonomy to the children in the family, and a job well done can gain magnificent results.

Reporter Henrique de Burgo states that there have now been 3,780 online signatures and more than 3,000 signatures on paper, taking the total number beyond the 4,500 signatures required to generate a Parliamentary debate. The closing date for this Petition is 7 March.

If as a result the law is changed, the association Schrëtt fir Schrëtt, will continue working with severely disabled children, but as a school. The petitioners are presently confident that this will happen.

Schrëtt fir Schrëtt estimates that about 30% of its eligible population have Portuguese backgrounds.

Previous posting on l'affaire Luxembourg


de Burgo, H. (2016) Associação reclama escola para crianças com deficiência, Contacto, 26 February

Thursday, 25 February 2016


Others could so easily do something like this

As a video this is very straight reportage. Various people speak, either on stage or direct to camera:

This event is not mentioned here for its content but for its form. It is offered as a prompt to others who organise meetings around CE, who do not provide written material but still feel that their programme might have something to say of wider interest or even general benefit.

Here is the published programme for this particular meeting:

It must have taken quite some organising to get these people together. But a successful conference is not over when everyone goes home at the end of it. If the speakers live up to their promise, and stimulate worthwhile discussion, then there is a wider audience out there who might like to learn from the event – and, if the speakers are a class act – then what they say may also be good PR for the organising body and its cause.

One does not expect written papers outside proper academic, scientific and higher-level professional conferences. Links to unaccompanied overheads as a substitute are, frankly, often useless. And no onward communication at all of what is said suggests how little the actual content is valued, not least  by the organisers  not a good message.

In the absence of written outcome a straightforward seven-minute video report such has been produced here may offer a model for communicating something of what is said, to general satisfaction.

There are a couple of CE conferences coming up soon...

(Probably without that song!)


 (2015) Inklusion im Jahr 2015. Wo stehen wir heute? [Inclusion in the year 2015. Where are we now?] Würzburg, 1.10.15 (2015) Inklusion 2015 – Präsentationsvideo

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Is this important or can it be thrown away?
'Conductive Education,' Mária Hári often said, 'it is a system'.

For Franz Schaffhauser, elaboration of this system during her time as Director of András Pető's State Institute was Mária's particular contribution to the development of Conductive Education. 
What András Pető himself might have thought about on this matter of 'a system' is (as usual!) not at all clear. At one point though, when and in what context one does not know, he asserted –
      It is not a system it is a method

As often the case, what he actually meant by this is less than clear.

What is certain, however, is something else that Mária would frequently affirm: 'It is very complex'. Very complex indeed, an extraordinary tangle of ideas and practices, formulations and applications, that has grown like Topsy over the years in response to an ever-widening range of circumstances and ideas, pressures and opportunities. For example :
  • features surviving from the time of András Pető himself and his own particular personal experiences, knowledge, personality etc.,
  • others from the regime of Mária Hári and from the realities of surviving within a state institute in the context of Goulash Socialism
  • the process of feminisation that began right back when András Pető began to relinquish direct daily control of his Institute
  • the logistic and financial requirements of its 'health-tourism' role in Hungary
  • the struggles to find sustainable niches elsewhere in the world, to meet novel and diverse requirements
  • new policy memes such as inclusion, accountability
  • 'rights'
  • widespread and implacable professional antipathy
  • fads, individual enthusiasms, practices and theories that might have seemed like a good idea at the time, to someone, somewhere, at some time or other, and have adhered to the canon.
And along the way there are other things that, whatever their utility in themselves, and their possible importance for other aspects of the work, have for similar reasons just dropped out of use and have been forgotten. What has been added and taken away are the result of specific situations, and they have not come and gone to meet conscious programmes of reculturalisation or development, or on the basis of  a priori theorising and/or empirical testing.

Increasingly, it may be inappropriate to describe what exists now as either a system or a method, at least in the sense as might applied to the work under András Pető or Mária Hári. 

Clearing out our stuff

If Conductive Education is indeed becoming less a system than a growing number of ad hoc collection, accumulated here and there over the years, it is surely Educations is not unique in this respect. Its rapid spread around the world and a lack of a coherent and accepted written literature, may have made it particularly prone, however, to growing in this way. No matter, it is always time for a clear-out, a spring clean.

Getting rid of our 'stuff' is a continuing topic for the newspapers, there are books and TV programmes on how to do it, people earn their living from advising on how to do this, or even from coming in doing it themselves. Perhaps the principles strategies and techniques involved here should not really be so different from what might be applied to Conductive Education, be that what is in our own heads or with respect to 'the system' as a whole.

Being a lifelong collector and hoarder I am hardly qualified to speak if this. But for those more directly involved with Conductive Education, just how should one choose what might be thrown away (and what may be needed to fill its gap), how to sort the wheat from the chaff, how to avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater, without simply repeating the ad hoc serendipity processes that created the present problem in the first place?

How is Conductive Education going to find the R&D (research and development) sufficient for this task?

Tuesday, 23 February 2016


Tsad Kadima's, in Rishon LeZion

Yesterday Conductive World presented the educational concept of Fortschritt Rosenheim's inclusive conductive school at Oberaudorf-Inntal:

There are of course other CE schools, in different social contacts and at different points in their own historical development.

Accounts of the principles and practice of conductive schools are rare. Below is an account of Tsad Kadima's Rishon LeZion school, in principle and in practice, written by English special educator and author Michael Farrell. This account was first published in 2012, acknowledging how his visit and understanding were informed by Rony Schencker.

The Tsad Kadima Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Tsad Kadima as a specialist centre is a professional hub and a social identification hub for the community with physical disabilities from early childhood to adulthood. It offers a continuum of services for children with cerebral palsy living within the municipal area. Pupils from other municipalities around Rishon LeZion participate as well. It is also a training centre for students who study to become conductors. It offers accessibility to a 'conductive upbringing environment' for pupils and teachers in the regular educational system as part of the socialisation process. The centre develops and nurtures a special 'tool box' which includes specialised pedagogy (conductive pedagogy) for children, parents and staff. Tsad Kadima provides educational, didactic, therapeutic and social processes, practised mainly but not only in special educational institutions for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy and their families. This aims to facilitate both optimal learning experiences and inclusion within the children's capabilities. The Center has a variety of specialists including, importantly, 'conductors'.

'Preparation for inclusion' at the Tsad Kadima Special Education Center allows and supports the development of an orthofunctional personality of the child and his family. An orthofunctional individual has a general capacity for adapting or learning, allowing him throughout his life to adapt increasingly to his natural and social environment. 'Complementary inclusion' is implemented outside the formal educational framework, involving mainly extracurricular activities, free time, development of social skills, and preparation for independent housing. 'Inclusion in stages' is designed for children with cerebral palsy from the age of kindergarten up to secondary school. It involves partnership between the special education system and the regular education system, and offers a range of various possibilities of conductive inclusion stretching between special education and regular education.

This partnership exists in a number of ways: a bridge to inclusion and neighbourhood inclusion. A bridge to inclusion is in partnership with the educational frameworks not geographically close to the Tsad Kadima Center. The partnership relates mainly to children of kindergarten age at the Center. These frameworks are designed to enable children to become familiar with social interaction and living together at an age when typical children are more accessible and open to accepting others. 'Neighbourhood inclusion' allows children with cerebral palsy to belong to both the special and regular education systems simultaneously, benefitting from the advantages of each. In time, a common language is created which influences what is being done in each of them.

The sequence of the possibilities of inclusion moves from the separate to the inclusive. At the Tsad Kadima Center there is a professional staff (conductors and the health and care professionals) in keeping with the idea that inclusion starts while the child is still learning in the special education setting. Accordingly, an individual progressive programme is created for each child designed to lead him towards inclusion through three basic stages:
  1. The special education framework at the base, preparing for inclusion and the initial experiences in it.
  2. Partial inclusion in the regular education system with the base still in the special education framework.
  3. The child's inclusion in the regular education system, accompanied by the regular guidance of the school's inclusion team, with the child's special needs provided for by the special education staff.
Parents are full partners in all of the educational processes. The conductor accompanies the child, the family and the including school at every stage from the separate framework to full inclusion. In Tsad Kadima Center conductors provide children with learning experiences in their daily lives incorporating a variety of functions designed to move the children towards independence. Additionally conductive support and instruction are available to the children and the staff at the including school. At the elementary and at the middle school [in Rion LeZion], where some 30 children with cerebral palsy are included, there are homeroom teachers, teachers of various subjects, special education teachers, health professionals and advisory staff. In these schools the conductors play an important role as the intermediaries between the child and his special needs, his family, and the school's environment with all its complexities. Tsad Kadima provides services for a variety of age groups in the community included in special or regular education. This includes active summer camps for children included in regular education, a practice flat for teenagers in preparation for independent living, and a flat in the community for adults with cerebral palsy.

It is instructive to read the reports on the conductive schools in Rishon LeZion and Rosenheim side by side, though the two accounts are not of course directly comparable:
  • accounts by visitors present both advantages and disadvantages
  • the same may be said about accounts by those closely involved
  • this second edition of Michael Farrell's book was published in 2012, and is may thefore already be an historical account, a report on work in progress, with time for further development to have occurred since, in both model and practice.

Farrell, M. (2012) The Tsad Kadima Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel, in Educating Special Children, second edition, Oxford and New York, Routledge, pp. 22-24

Monday, 22 February 2016


Tried, inclusive education
A conductive school for all

The latest version (February 2016) of the 'educational concept' of Fortchritt Rosenheim's private inclusive school at Oberaudorf-Inntal came on line last week:

This document describes the underlying philosophical and ethical principles behind a school that seems to manifest successful synthesis of conductive tradition with expressed Western liberal-educational values. It offers vital demonstration that such synthesis can be realised in practice. This may not be the only such synthesis to have been arrived at around the world but I am not aware of another so well and publicly articulated.

The original document is in German. This important educational concept should be more widely accessible so, as well as I can understand it, for English-speakers at least, this is what it says –

Educational concept

This page shows in brief the essential elements of the school's concept.
This concept is being developed further on a regular basis.
The image of man
We are guided by the humanistic image of man, that all men are equal and learn from each other. In neither objectives nor methods do we distinguish specifically between children with disabilities and those without. Each child is considered a valuable human being with skills that need strengthening.
The aim of our pedagogy is furtherance of independence for learning in everyday life. This is realised by self-determination, and by acting and learning cooperatively within open learning. Skills learned are implemented consistently in everyday life, even if this is time-consuming. The pedagogues help as much as necessary, but as little as possible.
Other cardinal objectives are permanently to receive the joy of learning and to further individual talents.
Building blocks of pedagogy
Education – Movement – Encounter
These three elements are closely linked – the children move while learning and learn with movement. They meet their diverse classmates and people from the community. They learn openness and self-confidence.
Full-day concept
The school operates throughout the day. Morning and afternoon activities are conceptually related. Lessons and programmes with different focal points (motor skills, cognition, leisure, self-care, etc.) alternate within the daily routine. This model ensures continuity, for staff, pupils and spaces for groups, and allows a meaningful rhythm to the day. Concentration and relaxation, rest and exercise, 'top-heavy' and hands-on learning, teaching and fun, form a perfect balance.
Year mix
We say farewell to the illusion of homogeneous groups: the differences in development in so-called 'homogeneous' year classes may be up to three years, and we have no diagnostic instrument that reliably predict school-readiness. We make this difference in learning fruitful and have learning groups mixed by years throughout the primary-school stage (school years 1 – 4).
Inclusion – diversity as opportunity
The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities came into force in Germany on 26 March 2009.The convention specifically addresses the enforcement of universal human rights, not the introduction of special rights for the disabled. It encourages conversion to an inclusive society.
ALL CHILDREN ARE DIFFERENT: diversity is enriching – not a hindrance.
Orientation towards potential, and furthering talent
Everyone benefits from individual classes. Talented children especially often have difficulties with a fixed, predetermined pace and an equally rigid learning content. Children who are bored because they can already read when they start school or who have special skills expected of them, will not be with us! We support the joy of learning, bring the children together and teach them all in a way oriented towards potential. Special interests and talents can be deepened, even if this goes beyond the sum of curriculum content.
Pető's Conductive Education
Our educational concept is based on Pető's conductive upbringing. The Hungarian physician and pedagogue Prof. A. Pető founded 'Conductive Education' about sixty years ago. Originally developed for children with cerebral palsy (brain damage), its scope has been successfully expanded.
This holistic approach is good for all children.
For the first time, we offer Conductive Education for all, including among other things the following elements:
  • holistic approach, practical orientation, furthering independence and self-determination
  • simultaneous furtherance of motor, cognitive and social skills
  • learning in movement
  • healthy and regular exercise, consistent motor upbringing
  • daily physical education with sports scientists
  • additional sports projects (skiing, climbing, swimming, horseback riding)
  • correct seating (back-friendly, loose pillows, custom seating
  • living and learning in movement
Time and space for exercise and physical activity are an essential part of the daily routine. A sports scientist and conductors lead daily inclusive physical education. Movement and self-activity are provided in all learning situations.
Evaluating performance
Different kinds of services (project outcomes, portfolios, group work, among others) are recognised as equivalent. The learning pathways and their results are documented on suitable forms (for example, logs, learning diaries, portfolios). In this way grading will be avoided. Rather, performance-evaluation is based on each individual child's own performance.
Children who want to transfer to a grammar or technical school after the fourth grade, can do so – as long as no state approval is required – after passing the sample lesson. Their preparation is versitile and intense. The learning content is known to everyone, because the entire teaching is based upon the Bavarian curriculum.
State recognition will be possible at the earliest after five years of successful operation, which will be in the school year 2018/19. We shall decide in the fourth year of operation, according to educational criteria, whether we shall apply for this national recognition.

Reading the above it is hard not to feel the wind in the sails. I remember that lovely feeling.

A major step for Conductive Education

I have followed Fortschritt Rosenheim's development from afar for some years now, and went to its excellent Petö und Inklusion congress in 2012. I do not think that I have too rosy a view of what it is doing and its implications.

Aspects of this Geman school's liberal-educational philosophy will be familiar to many in the English-speaking sphere who recall the world as it was in many countries before the heavy hand of centralised control – repression even – responded to pedagogic excitement and advance by preventing it. In the nineteen-eighties education in England was still sufficiently free to permit grass-roots hope and optimistic starts with a view to transforming the bigger picture of public education. It was in this spirit that thirty years ago the movement to internationalise Conductive Education began. It looks like Germany has managed to maintain an educational and political culture sufficiently at ease with itself still to allow variability and initiative. Without possibility of permitting individual discretion in educational philosophy and practice, it is hard to see the possibility of such imaginative and well-placed conductive projects.

The message from Fortschritt Rosenheim's private school is particularly strong because its 'concept' is not just an idea, a pipe dream. This school is actually up and running and has already extended up from primary into secondary school. When the Bavarian regulations permit the Fortschritt to consider closer incorporation into the state's education system, it will then decide itself what to do in its own time, according to its own educational philosophy.

In societies that are too repressive to permit such educational initiative, too educationally nsecure, and too strapped for cash, what are advocates of Conductive Education to do about it? What will happen if one does nothing? Where is it headed? What are the possibilities for the future?

Whatever happens in the future in Germany or elsewhere, the private inclusive school at Oberaudorf-Inntal has secured its place as a milestone in the history of Conductive Education.


Private Schulen Oberaudorf-Inntal (2016) Konzept, Rosenheim, FortSchritt Rosenheim e.V.


Revising history (a footnote)

A couple of historical quibbles arise from the document above:
  • 'Originally developed for children with cerebral palsy (brain damage), its scope has been successfully expanded.' Not so – quite to the contrary.
  • 'Prof A. Pető founded Conductive Education about sixty years ago.' Not so – the foundations of what we presently know as Conductive Education had already come together by the late nineteen-forties, and he was not a professor as we nowadays understand the term.
There is such a an important document. There is no need to spoil its case for little things that can be easily checked. I do hope that they will be amended when this emerging concept sees its next revision.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


Be quick, though, I can't see its lasting

I drafted this posting last Monday but with my elementary Internet skills I could not find how to access Sci-Hub. Yesterday Rony Schencker passed me the following URL, for which I am exceedingly grateful:

I had not heard of the long established top-level domain '.io'. I find that it is the British Indian Ocean Territory:

The link works, and so does Sci-Hub

At the moment academic and scientific journal articles are open to all, free of charge, through Alexandra Elbakyan's Sci-Hub website.

Read about it in Emma Henderson's article last week in the Independent newspaper –
Millions of academic papers have been made available online after a Russian neuroscientist set up a website offering them for free...
The website, which has more than 47,000,000 papers, began as Ms Elbakyan was forced to pay to read articles while doing her own research –
'Payment of $32 (£22) is just insane when you need to skim or read tens of hundreds of these papers to do research...'
The website’s motto is 'to remove all barriers in the way of science', describing itself as “the first pirate website in the world to provide mass and public access to tens of millions of research papers'.
The struggle continues

What a treat but, I suspect, the publishers may well still see off her challenge, in the short term anyway.

In the meanwhile, use this window while it is open. And no, I do not find a great moral problem in encouraging others in free access to knowledge.

I cannot really see this as theft. Some of my own stuff, on a variety of topics is locked up in behind paywalls. In the normal course of events, as a private individual with no access to an academic library, I cannot even access it myself online and there is limited point in letting others have the links if their financial resources are as limited as mine. Of course, it is not really 'locked up', you can buy access to it (though be assured, if you do pay then I myself do not see a penny of it, everything goes to the commercial companies that hold the rights). You might feel the old, saying 'All property is theft' a little extreme, and I am not so daft to think that somebody is making a mint from what little I have struggled to write for academic journals over the years. But at least making this particular product of my labours free and open access might ensure that a few more people would be able to glance at it.

That is after all why wrote it in the first place, to be read. I did not write it to contribute to the incomes of shareholders somewhere, I was not paid for my material, nor did I even do it for career advancement since I have never held a tenured academic post.

My field over the last thirty or so years, Conductive Education, has so far failed to become an academic-scientific one. Perhaps one reason for this has been that most people in Conductive Education do not have ready access to academic literature – perhaps nowadays this can begin to change.

Since the advent of online publishing I no longer join in the ritual dance to get published in 'the journals'. I know that there are serious questions around self-publishing and the open-access movements but there are big-enough open- and self-publishing sectors now to suggest that the world can find solutions to these.

Just maybe Alexandra Elbakyan's initiative may prove a further hurdle tumbled in the battle to liberate academic journal articles from the mort main of the 'academic publishers'. We shall have to see. I am not holding my breath for major long-term change immediately, but it is nice to hope that one day the world may see this.

Try it for yourself

Go to, enter the URK of the paywalled article that you would like to read, and press Open. What a liberation!

What has been going on?

Sci-Hub, Libgen, Bookfi et al...


Henderson, E. (2016) Pirate website offering millions of academic papers for free refuses to close despite lawsuit, Independent, 15 February

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