Thursday, 17 August 2017


A baton

Nine years ago conductor Wendy Baker and I published a little overview article entitled 'Parent-child interaction as focus for early intervention: experience from early-age Conductive Education '. This remains live on line, free and open access:

Around a year later Wendy competed a masterate, 'Developing interactions between parents and their young motor disabled children through Conductive Education':

I had rather wondered whether 'early-years conductive education' (upbringing and pedagogy) might hold the basis for a coherent academic literature around emerge. It hasn't. Perhaps Semmelweis...

Wendy Baker is now headteacher of a primary school in Staffordshire, in England.


Baker, W. (2009) Developing interactions between parents and their young motor disabled children through Conductive Education, MA (Childhood in Society), University of Warwick

Baker, W., Sutton, A. (2008) Parent-child interaction as focus for early intervention: experience from early-age Conductive Education, Interconnections Quarterly Journal, no 2, July, pp. 14-22

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


Now on line as separate offprint

This  study from Tsad Kadima, surveying conductors' perceptions and attitudes on working with parents was published on line at the end of July, as part of a complete issue of the International Journal of Special Education:

This paper is now published more conveniently in the form of a stand-alone offprint, on Tsad Kadima's own website:

Free and open access in both cases.


National recognition for important new scholarship

Each year the Russian Government awards prizes for education, to an annual value of ten million Roubles. Last week Prime Minister Dmitrii Medvedev announced this year's winners. One of the four lauréats awarded this year goes to the Makarenko Pedagogy of Upbringing Research Laboratory at the Kozma Minin University in Nizhnii Novgorod:

This prize recognises a programme of work called 'A. S. Makarenko. the school of life, labour, upbringing: a text book on the history, theory and practice of upbringing', carried out from 2007 to 2017.

The prizewinners were Anatolii Arkadievich Frolov, Sergei Ivanovich Aksyonov and Elena Yur'evna Ilaltdinova.

In the view of UNESCO, A. S. Makarenko was one of the four pedagogues who determined the path of pedagogical thinking in the twentieth century. The others were John Dewey, Georg Kershensteiner and Maria Montessori.

The study

One of the project's main objectives has been to assemble a complete collection of A. S. Makarenko's works. This has not been done in the post-Soviet era. Over ten years of work, the researchers from Kozma Minin University have published this work in nine parts, with the materials in chronological order, presented with their their own commentary and additions, along with elaborated educational and methodological materials for use in the educational process.

This programme of study reflects long-term research work on generalisation and critical analysis of the results of the development, and the theoretical and practical use of A. S. Makarenko's heritage in the USSR, Russia, and other countries over the period from 1939 to the present day. A. S. Makarenko appears in this work as a reforming social educator, a classic of pedagogy – organically combining the qualities of practising pedagogue, thinker and writer, creative writer, publicist, and public figure.

Collected works, and more

This new edition of the works of A. S. Makarenko contains the author's pedagogical, artistic-pedagogical, literary and journalistic materials, and documents on his practical activities, personal letters, records, etc. The publication includes detailed academic commentaries, educational materials, a personal index of people involved in his activities, and illustrations. The publication claims to present every one of his works presently known to researchers, along with various author's materials, and documents on his activities.

Unlike previous editions, all the above texts are accompanied by academic commentaries that not only explain the main content of each item but also give analytical evaluations, link it with other documents, report the time and circumstances in which it was written, and indicate the meaning of specific terms.

A. S. Makarenko's legacy has huge academic and practical potential, and merits in-depth research and generalisation, in philosophical-ethical and social-pedagogical relations. It permits critical analysis of historical and pedagogical experience, to approach modern problems of upbringing and education in a new way.

The work's target audience is students, undergraduates, graduate students, academics, specialists in general pedagogy, the history of pedagogy and education, and the theory and practice of education – as well as those working in the field of culture, fiction, sociology, psychology, ethics and aesthetics, and academic methodology.

The above account has been extracted from the website of Kozma Menin Pedagogical University:


A heroic act of scholarship and devotion – not least as these three scholars must over these ten years have felt the strain and the responsibility of keeping alive a torch that very few cared should live or die. UNESCO rated A. S. Makarenko extraordinarily highly in the twentieth century. In the twentieth, however, politics and history may have made it seem that his light has been flickering out fast, not least in the lands of the former Soviet Union where most of his practical heritage has been largely lost in reformed school systems.

That these scholars' labour and its fruit are officially recognised in 2017 is no chance. President Putin and his government need a different kind of reform now, a different pedagogy and a different upbringing. This prestigious and prominent award recognises some extraordinary scholarship. It should send a strong signal to meet and greet the new school year, one that Kremlin-watchers around the world might also heed.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


Time marches on

Image result for franz schaffhauser

It is three years since Franz Schaffhauser first took the chop for not resolving the problems of the then Pető Institute. The dust has yet to settle, and three years may yet not yet be enough time for historical perspective and reassessment.

Three years do, however, seem quite a long time in human and institutional terms, long enough at least for the following:
  • Franz reappointed
  • inauguration of the new chancellor system of governance, with appointment of a Chancellor and his department to run the administration
  • re-creation as a college
  • Franz replaced again, by a new Rector
  • the whole organisation (its administration and its professional management, and all that it does and owns) incorporated into Semmelweis Medical University as a faculty.
Franz and the system that he headed could not deliver everything that was required by those who felt themselves to have stakes in the operation. The range and incompatibility of these constituencies, who knew?

Now, the arrangements that followed have themselves failed to meet the expectations of those who felt themselves to have stakes in the operation, so here we are three years later with a re-wiped slate, To meet what range and compatibility of requirements? Whatever the perceived problems, a new system of governance will be tried, along with wholly unfamiliar academic requirements.

Critical for the outcome of the next phase may not be a matter simply of the structures and people who emerge to run this new show. It may also prove a factor of the expectations and demands that will be made of the new, dependent institution. Who knows what these might be...

In the meantime, ready or not, not just Franz's contribution will be viewed in a different perspective, increasingly the rest of the story, before, after and since, will look different too.

Thursday, 10 August 2017


No charge

Ida (the Rehabilitologist) Igra has an event on line on Saturday. She writes a jolly reminder (my rough translation) –

Dear parents of special children, professionals who work with them, and everyone who visits my page!

By tradition, next Saturday, 12 August, at 21.00, in Moscow, Kiev and Jerusalem, I invite you to take part in an online meeting.

This week are talking on the topic: THE SPECIAL CHILD'S INDEPENDENCE: FOOD. We shall consider how to teach child independent in eating from the viewpoint of specific motor skills, sensory development, developing communication and much more. Be ready with your questions, and invite your friends to take part in the live broadcast, and take part yourself.

See you on Saturday!

I am not clear about the format (Skype, webinar, whatever). To know more, contact Ida via Facebook:

The time zone that Ida is working to is GMT+3

The event is advertised for Russian-speakers, but Ida is very versatile.

A bold initiative in a potentially important are aof development.

Previous about Ida

Monday, 7 August 2017


Two not entirely unrelated programmes!

Taranaki Parkinson's chairwoman Ngaire Riley gloves up.

From New Zealand's South Island, news of the opening of yet another Counterpunch training programme, a further brick in the wall towards building a national network of boxing for Parkinson's in God's Own.

The newspaper writes –

Taranaki Parkinson's chairwoman Ngaire Riley said the non contact boxing skills sessions were another option for sufferers to improve co-ordination, balance and rhythm. 'I was resistant at first because I thought boxing was the last thing we wanted to do but the training is non-contact and only uses the training skills of boxing. It's challenging and it's fun and we hope it can meet the needs for many people who live with Parkinson's in Taranaki'.
NZ's Counterpunch began in Auckland, in the North Island, and is spreading. It was founded and is run by conductor Lisa Gombinski and her associates:
Altogether coincidentally, Taranaki is also to about to see opening of a conductive service for children:

Saturday, 5 August 2017


Not Martin Luther's...
A.R. Luriya's

Image result for "martin luther" playmobil

I am afraid that Playmobile does not make an Aleksandr Romanovich. The paradigm change that he represented in his field , however, was just as radical as Martin Luther's in his – but no general Reformation has followed, one reason that conductive pedagogy still stands so alone and is so little understood.

This is the third time around for this Credo on Conductive World. See these six simple principles, and why I like to rerun them:

Most recent mention here of A. R. Luriya

Friday, 4 August 2017


New coat of arms
Új címer

(I believe that Róbert Mascher had a hand in this)

URL is unchanged:

Chancellor's department pages gone

English pages seem unchanged:


Stephanie Driver's new, two-pronged service

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, child, outdoor and nature

Conductor Stephanie Driver has lived for years in Vietnam where she worked both as a conductor and as a Yoga teacher. She has been possibly the world's longest-standing CE-orientalist. She is now settled back home in Brentwood where she offers conductive services and Yoga.

She writes on Facebook –

An amazing opportunity has come up for 5 children to have ongoing weekly Conductive Education sessions with a qualified conductor (myself) in Essex, that will be funded in part by a local charity. This means the cost for parents is just £15.00 / session!


(2010 revisited)

At the 7th World Congress, Hong Kong, December 2010, a round table 'Conductive Education in the twenty-first century', to which I was invited to make a contribution

Contribution to a Round Table

I get to have the final word. I like that.

In the year 1910 nobody could have predicted what would lie ahead of humanity in the twentieth century:
    • total war
    • end of empires
    • decolonisation
    • totalitarianism
    • genocides
    • emancipation of women
    • antibiotics
    • climate change
    • life expectancy
    • population explosion
    • HIV/AIDS
    • computers
    • the Internet
    • the rise of Islam
    • plastics
List what was wholly unpredictable back in 1910 – everything that has happened since! That includes all of us in this room. It is not given to human beings to foretell the future.

In the year 2010, nobody can predict what will happen in the twenty-first century. Looking forward to the year 2099 one can still, however, make two assumptions:
    • all of us in his room will have gone, and

    • it is unlikely that we shall be much remembered.
Conductive Education as we know it now will also have gone, and maybe not be much remembered either.

Nobody is immortal. Similarly, ideas and institutions do not live for ever. But people and ideas can have effects, good or bad, that live on after their time and combine with others to produce vigorous offspring.

How to ensure this indirect kind of personal immortality of your own? Who knows? But generally speaking, such things do not happen by themselves: one has to do something. Doing nothing will in general grant us no personal legacy of worth

Similarly, if Conductive Education is here to leave a legacy for future generations, this will not just happen spontaneously, of its own accord. Certain things will have to be done. Here are some some suggestions:

  -    associate and interact with others who also know that the essence of our humanity depends not upon our biology but upon active participation, and upon pedagogy and upbringing – and proclaim our work accordingly in these terms, for all the world to hear

  -   work actively to help change the world's view of motor disorders, from mere physical disabilities to developmental disorders – right across the life span

  -   step outside motor disorders, outside disability, and identify with the universal, fundamental principle of human transformability

  -   realign strategically – change Conductive Education's primary reference group, away from 'rehabilitation' and 'therapy', to connect, blend, articulate and communicate, with fellow 'transformers' in fields outside motor disorder

  -   take a lead, do not expect the world to owe Conductive Education a living, it doesn't

  -   reignite the cause, that is the popular moral crusade, amongst the media, decision-makers and above all amongst individuals and families potentially able to benefit from transformative practice

   -    demonstrate – and proclaim – the core message of human transformability

Different people might make different action lists

Whatever you aim for – act, organise to affect the future.

The task for the twenty-first century is not to save Conductive Education as it presently stands – in a fast-changing world a task doomed to failure – but to contribute to a broader, more general end that, if attained, may in turn open new ways to benefit people with motor disorders and their families.

Time flies

Seven years have passed, not yet 8% of what in 2010 was left of the twenty-first century.

How is Conductive Education since then? What unforeseen directions is it taking, foreseeable or otherwise? What do you think of it so far? ,

Round table in Hong Kong

Thursday, 3 August 2017


Survey across ages 18-35

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A posting last month on Conductive World mentioned sex, cerebral palsy and Conductive Education:

I have now had my attention drawn to an article published last year in the Hungarian journal Rehabilitáció, written by conductor Bettina Birksteiner and neurologist Anna Kelemen

The article itself is in Hungarian but it includes an  English abstract –

Sexuality of adult cerebral palsy patients In our research we analyzed sexuality of adult cerebral palsy patients’ (age was between 18 and 35 years and were intellectually normal) from three aspects; their sexual awareness and information regarding the topic, their sexual habits, and additionally we collected information about how do they feel the habilitation/rehabilitation’s sexual information’s quantity and quality in general and diagnosis specifically. The research was conducted by a questionnaire and we made some interviews as well. Our control group consisted of healthy adults of the same age, working in habilitation/rehabilitation or who have a relative with cerebral palsy. We found significant divergence between the able-bodied and cerebral palsy group in general sexual issues, the nature of sexual relationships and in the number of sexual contacts. Almost half of the cerebral palsy patients haven’t experienced sexual life, their primary satisfaction was manual masturbation, while all able-bodied young adults of the same ages have had a sexual relationship, more partners, and their primary ways of satisfaction were oral and vaginal sex. Fifty-five percent of the questioned young adults with cerebral palsy didn’t speak with anybody about their sexual problems, habits, and about sex in general, therefore it is not surprising that neither of the groups are satisfied with the sexual information what the habilitation/rehabilitation practice was giving them. The results of the study are proved how important is to work on this issue from both the touched persons and the care-takers side as well. The pleasure of sexual life is important for the quality of our life, it is our life’s natural part, which can not be neglected, even if it is difficult to talk about it because of the subject's topic.

The article reports a survey, rather than being interventional.


Birksteiner, B., Kelemen, A. (2016) Cerebralis pareticus felnőttek szexualitása, Rehabilitáció, 2015/1, pp. 27-33

Wednesday, 2 August 2017


A few first thoughts

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Conductive World reported yesterday's announcement by the Semmelweis Medical University, and the relevant items on Semmelweis's website, without making comment – but with the intention to do so:

Those who are interested in this incorporation of the PAF/ PAI into a medical university no doubt have their own thoughts. Here are mine.
  1. The date. This merger was a matter of top-down political urgency. The date 1 August gave time to catch the new academic year but left little time to get everything necessary done. It also falls in the height of the summer vacation period, when institutions are largely closed, people and politicians switch off and news, good or bad, just gets buried.
  2. 'PAK'. Nobody's fault but this is not the most felicitous acronym for many English-speakers, some of whom may be uneasy at using it. I suppose, that in Hungarian it is actually pronounced more like English 'pock' than 'pack'. The new faculty is named in honour of András Pető (as the University itself is named after Ignác Semmelweis) and so may continue known in common parlance as 'the Pető'. Or even 'the Pető Institute!
  3. Hungarian language. Semmelweis's website has an English-language version:
  4. There is now an English page called 'András Pető Faculty' (thank you, Agnes Borbély, for notifying of this). We can likely look forward to further definitive information in English This will be a considerable advance in transparency
    This page uses the more cautious descriptive term 'recognised around the world'.
  5. Website. For the moment the site remains active. Given time, Semmelweis-relevant content will presumably migrate across, and the old website  closed.
  6. World Congress. Negotiations between the two institutions had begun in November last year, in the month preceding the 9th World Congress, in Budapest. Not a whiff of this business leaked out into the Congress or, if it did, not a word went any further. Remarkable.
  7. Previous relationship. Again mention is made that 'Semmelweis University and PAF have had a long-term scientific and professional relationship, in Hungary and abroad'. Again unspecified.
  8. Working as one. The merger will 'provide new higher-education, education, research and development tasks in orthopaedics, neuroscience, movement development, complex rehabilitation and paediatrics from infancy to adulthood'. Primarily medical discourse at this point.
  9. Media interest. In the event there was very little. The announcement was made too late to catch morning editions, and what little came in the afternoon just cherry picked from this. At the time of writing, there has been nothing today.
  10. Reassuring words from Government. Later editions yesterday had reported two men from ministries.
    Balázs Hankó, who was recently appointed a ministerial commissioner to coordinate the development of higher education training courses in medicine and the health sciences: He is reported as saying that András Pető's spirit and legacy will be further strengthened by this merger. More 'patients' will be helped than ever before, for example those affected by stroke or injury – 'nothing is lost, everything remains and continues to grow and strengthen'.
    Bence Rétvári, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Human Resources, stressed that this step could increase both the international reputation of both institutions, as well as the number of students, and enhance the quality and effectiveness of rehabilitation capacities.
  11. Medical discourse. I don't know about 'András Pető's spirit and legacy'. I do again note the medical discourse. Perhaps I am too much on the look-out foe this. Perhaps everyone should be.
Just a few first-snap pernicketies. Time to move on... 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


Neither bang nor whimper
Meet 'PAK'

Image result for sote egyetem

Late last night, identical public statements on two websites:      

Hungarian language only, in both cases.

Main points of announcement:
  • On 1 August 2017, the András Pető Faculty (PAK) of Semmelweis University will run the András Pető College and its Conductive Pedagogical Centre
  • Students of the Pető András College will commence studies within the framework of Semmelweis University in the University's András Pető Faculty
  • PAF staff will transfer their employment to Smmelweis under the usual legal arrangements
  • Contents and locations and activities of PAF remain as before
  • Negotiations between Semmelweis University and management of PAF began in November 2016
  • The two Senates discussed the proposal for integration in April 2017, and preparatory work arising from this is now complete
  • The number of Faculties at Semmelweis University is now brought to six: General Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Health Science and Public Health, and PAK
  • Semmelweis University and PAF have had a long-term scientific and professional relationship, in Hungary and abroad, their activities complementing each other
  • They will work as one to provide new, higher education, education, research and development tasks in orthopaedics, neuroscience, movement development, complex rehabilitation and paediatrics from infancy to adulthood.
New name and abbreviation (or acronym?)

PAK – Pető András Kar ('András Pető Faculty')

Location and contact details

Remain the same

Media interest

None yet

Internet sites

PAK now features as an integral unit of Semmelweis's website

This page is in English and so far provides 'A brief introduction to PAK', including –

The faculty and its predecessor institutions are fifty years old in respect to running conductor-training, and they have a history of seventy years in working in conductive development. The 'Pető Method' is a conductive pedagogical system that is recognised around the world, of which András Pető Faculty is its intellectual, research, training, methodological and quality-assurance centre.


Academically, its basic strategic goal is continuous development of existing training, taking account of changing professional and social needs, accrediting and launching new training forms and training content.

The 'Pető Institute' Facebook page is still in operation under its old name:

Acting Dean

Andrea Zsebe is serving as PAK's Acting Dean (mb. Dékán). Her University page gives biography and full bibliography (Hungarian only):

* * *

Seamless transition?

So far, so it seems, plus ça change...


Probably, in time