Friday, 17 February 2017


Another hole in the wall

One pervasive and longstanding problem

Yesterday I posted an item on Conductive World, concerned with the problem of Conductive Education's maintaining core features when its practice is embedded in contrary and sometimes actively inimical social contexts.

I was alluding to a problem that I have known in reality since the mid-eighties (though even before then it took small imagination to see it coming!) From that outset this conflict of paradigms was often played out pretty nastily (no surprise here, either). All these years later, I have no means of measuring whether things are better or worse.

I regard there still to be fundamental problems in any attempt to introduce a different paradigm into an already established (and entrenched) system of provision. I suspect that this philosophical (or ideological) transfer to be superordinate to a somewhat lower level of problems, those relating to national or 'cultural' differences – though in Conductive Education such comment as there is on this question rarely rises above this level (and is rarely described in concrete terms). It goes without saying that in such situations the possibility of misunderstanding, confusion, conflict, etc. is not necessarily restricted to players within the little world of Conductive Education.

None of this means that steps may not be necessary to resolve such specific problems as arise – or indeed that, either by design or higgledy-piggledy, a general approach or strategy should not appear. Two differing paths were suggested in yesterday's posting:
  • the established thought community, the existing hegemony, might give way and incorporate fundamental tenets of the new arrival, or
  • the new arrival might begin absorbing fundamental aspects of both theory and practice from existing ways of thinking and doing, and be slowly buried in the very soil in which it wants to take root.
I made no suggestion what to do about this situation, simply asking whether people might have ideas of how to proceed along some third way.

This is an obscure methodological question, no doubt, and though I have been trying to express it clearly for years, I am very aware that I may still not do so..

So yesterday, inevitably, I was misunderstood.

A comment on Facebook

Each time that I post on Conductive World (the blog) I notify something of the content of the new posting on Conductive World (the Facebook page), to attract the attention of some of those who might otherwise miss it. Quite often such Facebook entries generate discussion in their own right (something that the actual blog posting rarely does nowadays (why this is I do not know).

Among yesterday's Shares and the Likes on Facebook, a respondent posted something longer, a personal cri de cœur about internecine behaviour that she has met among conductors. She apologised that she might have misunderstood my posting (in return I should apologise back that I may have been less than clear!). She wrote that she had been deeply affected by sniping and negativity, sufficient to withdraw almost completely from her previous contribution to the public sphere.

I know her, she is no shrinking violet but a bold, brave lady, and far from being the only such to have reported similar mobbing and bullying over the years by conductor no-accounts, leading to a similar wish to have no more to do to with public life of Conductive Education. Read what she says in full, for yourself:

Not uniquely, in this instance the behaviour reported has come from a particular group within CE, to be blunt from some of the large number of conductors trained at the Pető Institute (now PAF).For her part she had been trained in the UK, through the FCE. Granting that my own history precludes me from a wholly impartial opinion on what has been reported here, I would rush to asset that this is far from a universal behaviour in this population. I have heard of it, however, from different parts of the world and from conductors of every level of experience – and it can be 'institutional' as well as individual.

My correspondent went on to suggest that such attitudes and behaviour are a factor  standing in the way of conductors' proper professionalisation in the full modern sense of this term. I see no reason to nay-say this – though I still regard there to be more fundamental components to Conductive Education's problems though, if bold imaginative spirits are being driven underground by Yahoos, this may in turn impede solving the major problem with which I opened this posting.

Conductors. Necessary? Sufficient?

I have never needed to point out to people involved in the development and advancement of Conductive Education over the years that conductors are not necessarily the only nor necessarily the most important players in the Conductive Education story. To put it another way, the full and effective participation of conductors in the debates both in and around Conductive Education seems necessary to advance this field – but not sufficient to move Conductive Education forward and keep it on the road. Conductors have played important roles but not necessarily leading ones in the this story – and not always necessarily progressive ones.

I state nothing here that that has not been widely discussed over the years, and not just by 'non-conductors'. If some conductors find this a surprise, then I suggest that they ask themselves why it comes as such, and what this might imply about themselves and their personal positions within the whole.

Again, to paraphrase the well-known meme, Conductive Education is too serious a matter to be left to conductors.

I do not, by the way, suggest that along the way Hungarian conductors have not suffered all sorts of professional discriminations and indignities from both outside Conductive Education and within (though these too seem to receive little airing in the public domain).

More than thirty years down the road of internationalisaing Conductive Education, well into the second decade of the twenty-first century, and with some remarkable successes, nay triumphs, to report, Conductive Education still faces all sorts of fundamental problems. Objective reality surely puts enough its way. Should it still have to put up with such subjective ones too?

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