Friday, 9 December 2016


At a pre-conference event in Israel

WC9 kicks off today in Budapest today with the choice of three optional pre-conference workshops.  This  reminds me of another pre-conference event exactly nine years ago at Tsad Kadima's XX. Anniversary Conference in Jerusalem. That was a very nice Conductive Education conference, and that day stands as a warm memory for me.

Today in Jerusalem, I see, the day-time temperature in Budapest will rise to just about 6°C, and in Jerusalem 12°. Anyway, this was my day, in 2007...
Pre-Conference Workshop
 Conductive Education: Define to Defend
 Sunday, 9 December, 2007
Subject of the workshop: Conductive Education: Define to Defend
Moderator: Andrew Sutton, Foundation for Conductive Education, Birmingham, UK
Language of the workshop: English (simultaneous translation into Hebrew)

Target population: Educational, health care and therapeutic parents, people, families and people with cerebral palsy

Time: 08:30 - 14:30
Venue: 'Beit Zrubavel', 15 Levontin St., Rishon LeZion

Description and purpose of the workshop 
Within the space of half a century, Conductive Education has moved from being the inspiration and personal practice of one man, confined within a closed and isolated country, to an internationally dispersed range of practices in special education and rehabilitation. Its explosive expansion had been achieved without benefit of a written corpus of knowledge from its founder. Even within its country of origin, Hungary, major adaptive change was necessary as society evolved. Then, once ‘out of the bag’, Conductive Education has had to face far greater forces for change. The result has been faster and more diverse evolution, attempts to proceed beyond evolutionary to revolutionary change and some terrible misunderstandings.

If Conductive Education is to move beyond haphazard internationalisation, survive in more than just name and flourish to make a truly global impact, then it has to define its boundaries around explicit, justifiable understandings. Such boundaries must at the same time respect the core, the essence of the original inspiration and permit the flexibility essential for the globalized world of the twenty-first century.

This workshop suggests a framework for approaching the question of what can and what cannot be counted under the rubric of 'Conductive Education'.

The goals are:

          1.   To understand 'Conductive Education' as a (continuing) historical process
          2.   To adopt critical awareness of defining terms
          3.   To distinguish false claimants to the title of 'Conductive Education'
          4.   To consider the possible next stage of Conductive Education's development.
Pre-Conference Workshop Program 
Registration, meeting and light refreshments

Deconstructing 'Conductive Education'

What is Conductive Education at the start of the 21st century?

Coffee break

What is not?

Problems and Dangers

Reconstructing Conductive Education
Light lunch

As would be expected at a Tsad Kadima event, the crowd was enthusiastic, participatory and good-natured – questioning and civilised,   multigenerational and informed, and a total mix of users and providers. About as positive but demanding a gathering as I have ever walked into and joined to talk with about Conductive Education, anywhere.

Since then Tsad Kadima has rolled on, onwards and upwards. The book Genesis being launched in Budapest this weekend conveys something of its story and its ethos:

As for my specific topic in Israel nine years ago, out in the big wide world Conductive Education still needs defending as much as ever, even more so perhaps, and still needs better definition as a vital weapon in this fight.

So it goes...


– (2007) Throughout Life with Cerebral Palsy: Partnership, Environment and Participation, International Conference Celebrating Twenty Years of Tsad Kadima, Jerusalem, Tsad Kadima

Schenker, R. (ed.) (2016) Genesis: Bringing Conductive Education to Israel, Birmingham, CEP

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