Tuesday, 11 July 2017


And an unfairness confronted

Last week Peter von Quadt wrote on his Facebook page –

FortSchritt-Konduktorin schreibt Fachartikel für Petö-Zeitschrift

Niederpöcking, 04.07.2017: Im November 2014 hat der Verein FortSchritt Starnberg e.V. ein völlig neues Angebot ins Leben gerufen – die „FortSchritt Konduktiv ambulant betreute Wohngruppe“ in der Oßwaldstraße in Starnberg. Hierzu musste auch ein völlig neues, innovatives, konduktiv ambulant pädagogisches Betreuungsangebot erarbeitet und umgesetzt werden.
Wir haben es geschafft – in der renommierten Fachzeitschrift „Tudomány és Hivatás, a Pető András Főiskola szakmai folyóirata“ (dt.: Wissenschaft und Berufung, Fachzeitung der Petö Andras Hochschule) konnte durch das große Engagement unserer Dipl.-Konduktorin Erika Kolumban ein von ihr verfasster Fachartikel zu diesem innovativen, pädagogischen Konzept der FortSchritt Konduktiv ambulant betreuten Wohngruppe veröffentlicht werden. Der Artikel trägt die Überschrift „A Starnbergi konduktív lakóközösség -- egy lehetséges megoldás mozgássérült fiatal felnőttek számára az önálló életvitel kialakításához“ (dt.: Konduktiv ambulant betreute Wohngruppe in Starnberg - eine Möglichkeit und Lösung für junge erwachsene Menschen mit Behinderung, um ein selbstbestimmtes Leben zu führen). Er ist in ungarischer Sprache unter folgendem Link abrufbar:
             Seite 33-40)

Which being translated into English means something like –

Niederpöcking, 4 July 2017: In November 2014, the Starnberg FortSchritt association launched a completely new service – the 'FortSchritt conductive off-site residential group for supervised clients', in Osswaldstrsse in Starnberg. For this a completely new and innovative, educational off-site pedagogical care service had to be developed and implemented.
Thanks to the great commitment of our conductor-director, Erika Kolumban, an article that she put together has been published in the renwned professional journal 'Science and Profession' from the Petö Andras College. This specialist article on the innovative, pedagogical concept of the FortSchritt's conductive outpatient, supervised residential group has the heading 'A Starnbergi konduktív lakóközösség – egy lehetséges megoldás mozgássérül fiatal felnőttek számára az önálló életvitel kialakításához' ('Conductive out-patient-supervised residential group in Starnberg – a possibility and a solution for young adults with disabilities to lead a self-determined life.)
(pages 33-40)

Write and be read

Apart from the above link Peter offers no further information of what is actually done by this new service in Starnberg. This is a great pity because it has been a matter of considerable concern to many familiues that Conductive Education had been developed very much as a service for children. Services to continue conductive pedagogy and upbringing across the transitional years into young adulthood – and beyond – have been as rare as hens' teeth. Reports of what has been done in practice have been rarer still.

All credit to Erika then, not merely for the hard work and imagination of herself and her colleagues in bringing this new sevice into life. And all the more credit for committing what has been done to a written report so that others can learn from it, take confidence, and develop their further innovative projects – that is as long as they can read Hungarian.

Conductive Education has been a world movement for around three decades now, a international Tower of Babel in which Hungarian is enevitably a minority language. True, it is the native tongue of the majority of conductors around the world, but conductors outside Hungary exist only within wider contexts. There are also families, service-providers, funders, and those vital sympatisers 'outside' who will infuence vital decision-makers. And wanting to look in and undertand are also members of other professions, researchers, administrators, media, and politicians when when take it up... Very, very few of any of these around the world will understand a word of Hungarian

No disrespect is intended here to Erika for having published an article in Hungarian. English-speaking monoglots should bow their heads in humble respect to all those tens of thousands of scholars and professionals around the world who routinely complete their masterates and doctorates, write their books and articles, deliver their presentations, correspond, converse debate, teach, work, broadcast etc. – in a second language, in English.

Yes, sometimes it might be funny foreigners' English, and sometimes its written forms could do with a thoughful final edit it by a properly literate native-English speaker (not least in Conductive Education!). But dear reader, if you are a native English speaker, Brit, Yank, Aussie, whatever, what did you do any of things, could you even think of trying? Respect those who do try, and as far as Conductive Education goes, whatever your mother tongue, let nothing disuade you from publishing, in whatever language you will.

What is to be done?

Let this instance from Starnberg serve as an example...

It is a vital, virtuous development of the work in Starnberg that it should be communicated. And why should not Erika take this step in her own mother-tongue? And Peter did the right thing in sharing publicly his pride and his joy that this important intiative has now taken this step into the professional domain. And why should not the PAF publish a house journal in the language in which it exists and conducts its work and business, both for its own internal cummunication purposes and educatively, to build up experience and confidence amongst staff who work there? This is all well and good. On its own, however, it does not take one far.

So what else? How ideally to take Erika's work forward, both the practice that she represents and its communication. There seem two obvious constituencies waiting to be served, perhaps a third:
  1. A lot of people in Germany might benefit from knowing what is being achieved in this respect in Starnberg – parents of children looking to their own children's futures, other professionals and services, funders, policy-makers, media, etc. Far be it for me to suggest yet more work to already busy people but surely the Starnberg Forschritt has the human and other resources for this task. (People on Austria will benefit too)
  2. But there is a far bigger world out there, where German is of little more use to most of the potential audience than is Hungarian. To reach audiences around the world, and very importantly for the future vigour of Conductive Education, not just professonal/academic audiences, there is no choice – there will just have to be an English-language version too. Hardly an insuperable problem, but whose job is it?
  3. And the third constituency mentioned above? I write this with no specific idea what sort of service Starnberg has set up and how things are played out there – but just perhaps this is transferrable beyond the cultural milieu of Europe, North America and similar contexts. If Erika's article does make it into English, many in Hong Kong, for example, might be interested to consider what it describes. What happens thereafter will be up to them.
It is not fair...

Quite right it isn't. It is indeed very unfair.

Native-English-speakers enjoy an enormous linguistic advantage. This tends to develop a learned linguistic dependency, a learned helplessness – many of us have simply learned not to learn. So we don't. Believe it or not, this is even described at times as some sort to personal deficiency.

Fair or not, the fact remains that a lingua franca is an essential tool for the spread of knowledge. In historical time in the Western world, this function has been fulfilled by Greek, Latin, French, German, now English, In future it may be Mandarin or Hindi, or something else. That will not be fair either. Or maybe not. Machine translation is still in its infancy butwho knows what heights it might yet achieve?

In the meantime, in the little world of Conductive Education, few people read and fewer write. We should facilitate and maximalise the level of technology that we have.

Labels: , , , ,


Anonymous FortSchritt Starnberg e.V. said...

Dear Mr. Sutton!
You are right. It is very important to translate and to publish the professional article of Erika Kolumban in other languages, especially at first in german and english. Actually we are working on to translate it and to find scientific platforms, where publishing is possible.
So if anybody has some more ideas, who we can ask for publishing, we would be very glad about to contact us. We hope, that in the near future we can post on facebook again: “Look at this link, now you can read the article in german, english, …!”
Greetings from Bavaria
Yours FortSchritt Starnberg e.V.-Team

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 at 08:20:00 BST  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home