Saturday, 13 May 2017


Mакаренко жив – в Mексике

I first came across reports of Conductive Education around 1980. Given where these reports originated – within the then Soviet Bloc – accounts of the centrality of the group as an essential component to conductive upbringing prompted immediate association with the practice and ideas of Anton Makarenko and his successors.


Going to Hungary I was initially surprised to find Mária Hári's vehemently denying any such link. Further experience suggested that conductors have often had limited awareness of such parallels. Indeed their explicit knowledge of A. S. Makarenko and those who followed after him has appeared sketchy and even erroneous.

As far as I know there has been no explicit empirical analysis of these two group pedagogies. Anyway, following the fall of the Soviet Union, until recently Anton Makarenko's heritage has all but vanished from the Russian education system. Meanwhile, with customary disdain, liberal education in the West has for the most part carried on its established way as if Makarenko had never been.

In my memory, however, the haunting similarities remain...


This week Elena Ilalddinova sent this short video of the Colegio Makarenko (Makarenko School), in Mexico:

The Colegio Makarenko is a pre-university school:

¿Quién fue Makarenko?

Who was Makarenko?

His full name was Anton Semenovich Makarenko (1888-1939), born in Ukraine, son of a railway worker. An educator by vocation. Initially a history teacher he dedicated his whole life to the education and rehabilitation of adolescents.

The goals that Makarenko assigns to education are based on two fundamental pillars:
  • faith in the possibilities of education and
  • that all life must have order and discipline.
His educational approach indicates that there can be no good discipline without consciousness.

I cannot judge from the video and online material referred to here how closely this modern Mexican pedagogic practice might correspond to the work of either Anton Makarenko or András Pető, either to their historical essence or to that of their successors.

It is a long way from the Gorkii Colony to the Colegio Makarenko. So it goes. It's a long way too from Stollár Béla u. to Budakeszi út, from conductive therapy to inclusive practice. There is at least one common question that surely binds them, a vital one. How does practical educational theory maintain its integrity and identity within different and themselves developing social contexts?

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