Sunday, 19 June 2016


Here we go again

Out of the West

The term konduktive Förderung was introduced in Germany as a device to direct attention away from the notion of pedagogy, to make it more likely that German health and/or social insurance systems might fund the CE projects emerging there at around that time. This, I recall, was in the nineteen-nineties.

For whatever reason, many individuals in Germany are indeed funded through insurance schemes (though the more recent success of the integrated conductive schools in Oberaudorf-Inntal, defined in wholeheartedly educational terms) suggest that a more appropriate road to official finding as part of a state's educational service may now be open:

Outside Germany the outcome of recent political action in Luxembourg points in the same direction;

In the meantime, however, the term konduktive Förderung has become the usual German-language term for what English-speakers (equally confusingly) call Conductive Education, having almost wholly ousted the term konduktive Pädagogie in the German-speaking lands. Along the way it has picked up 'a literature'.

A short book by Annette Fink published in 1988 features quite strongly in this literature and is now available on line:

Even without any German one easily see that this is very much a frozen product of its time, and that like so many publications is not really about conductive pedagogy and upbringing at all, but something rather different that it calls konduktive Förderung, closely analogous in contents to English-language formulations that derive from the somewhat earlier work of Esther Cotton. Whatever it says in the second half of the book's title such formulations are not fundamentally nach Petö. They are not conductive, nor even necessarily educational.

And now Russia?

Perhaps it it unfair to pick on this little book but its Russian translation now seems to hold and important place in the burgeoning interest in Conductive Education in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union – both as a source to be cited and as a book widely offered through the Russian online book stores.

I was reminded of this a couple of days ago when I was looking looking on line find the full original reference of Otto Klein's obituary for András Pető. I found it on this webpage:

What is this webpage? It is a fairly recently posted (16 May 2015)  version of her book, dated from 2003. It comes from from the Volgograd State Academy of Physical Culture. I was amazed at the extensive references, which seem an extended version of the sources cited in the original book, just a little updated but with the same orientation.

Боже мой...! In Volgograd, who is teaching whom what? Experience in the West suggests that once erroneous understandings enter systems of academic and professional publication, they can spread, persist and mislead for a very long time indeed.

Whatever happens at the level of conductors' practice, Conductive Education in the West has yet to develop effective mechanisms to detoxify its public, formal knowledge, not least at the academic level .

Now Russia (and other countries in that part of the world too) may have to face the same problem. So it goes.

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