Tuesday, 9 February 2016


A rather neglected perspective

One way in which to view and analyse the situation of Conductive Education is as an alternative education. As such of course it is but one of many but according to its nature and the circumstances in different societies then a variety of different congruities can be seen with those of different educational alternatives – and perhaps insights gained or even concrete lessons learned.

One such possible comparison is with home education. The following passage comes from a recently published article by Harriett Pattison.. It it very easy to take out the term 'home education; and insert the words 'Conductive Education' in its place –
Home education offers a variety of seemingly paradoxical meanings... It is legal, yet the site of much official unrest; a point of political resistance and a point of personal defense; heavily frowned on and idealistically championed. It is described both as a safe haven for children and families and as a form of abuse. It physically disrupts the social rules of time and space and conceptually disturbs the social binaries if home and school. It is an othered and othering space of society. Even the label 'home education' or perhaps more explicitly 'home school', challenges the organising categories of home and school, the functions of each and the relationship expected to exist between them... (p.634) 

If one makes this simple substitution then her article itself becomes intriguingly relevant. Here is its formal summary –
This article explores the coexistence of, and relationship between, alternative education in the form of home education and mainstream schooling. Home education is conceptually subordinate to education, relying on schooling for its status as alternative, but also being tied to schooling through he dominant discourse that forms our understandings of education.
Practitioners and other defenders frequently justify home education by running an explicit or implicit comparison with school; a comparison which expresses the desire to do 'better' than school whilst simultaneously encompassing the desire to do things 'differently'. These twin aims, however, are not easy to reconcile, meaning that the challenge to schooling and the submission to norms and beliefs that underlie schooling are frequently inseparable.
This article explores the trajectories of 'better than' and 'different from' school as representing ideas of utopia and heterotopia respectively. In particular I consider Foucault's notion of the heterotopia as a means of approaching the relationship between school and other forms of education.

Whilst it will be argued that according to Derrida's ideas of discursive deconstruction, alternative education has to be expressed through (and is therefore limited by) the dominant educational discourse, it will also be suggested that by employing the idea of the heterotopia is a strategy which can help us explore the alternative in education. (p. 619)


Pattison H. (2015). How to desire differently: home education as a heterotopia, Journal of Philosophy of Education, vol. 49, no 4, pp. 619-636



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