Sunday, 31 January 2016


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


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


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

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