Sunday, 22 August 2010

How the camel got its hump

By Susie Mallett July 2010

Or as one of my clients always says: “Ich habe eine Frage”

I have a question.

I am still sitting here with a coffee trying not to do any work, but try telling that to my wandering thoughts!

I am in the shade on my lovely balcony. The summer returned, with the temperature up in the mid twenties again after two weeks of no more than 13 degrees celcius. I am listening to the birds and watching the bees in the beans and wondering about the how the C and the E got into being and where they came from.

Back to Mr Kipling

It was Mr Kipling, of the Just So Stories and not of the "exceedingly good cakes", who also told us:

"How the First Letter was Written.

He was talking about a different kind of letter, but can any one tell me how the capital letters come to be put into conductive education. Why is it CE and not ce?

Why is it Conductive Education and not Conductive Pedagogy or Conductive Upbringing?

I have been trying to find out if there are any other education systems that have taken this example other than those like Steiner or Montessori that use someone’s name in the title, and like the “Petö Therapie in the clinic in Hohenstuchen that was mentioned recently.

In Germany we have konduktiv Förderung nach Petö or konduktiv Pedagogie, and Petö, Bobath and Vojta Therapies because not only do names have capitals in the German language but nouns too.

In Hungarian nouns do not have capital letters so konduktiv nevelés has no capitals at all.

There are no capitals in cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis, and none in special education, vocational education, medical education, higher education or college education.

So how then did they get into Conductive Education, but not into conductive upbringing, the translation of konduktiv nevelés, or conductive pedagogy?

Was this distinction made to indicate that this was something different to conductive upbringing, something different to what was happening in Hungary?

What do capital letters actually do to the meaning of a word or phrase in a sentence? Do they make them more important, more prominant, are they saying: look this is what it is all about?

I now see that it was not only one question that I have but a whole list of them!

When I began my conductive education at the Petö Institute in 1989 I scribbled away in my lessons and, just as I had learnt at school, I wrote conductive education without capitals. This is what I got used to during those four years and is how I wrote it whenever I had to put pen to paper during my studies.

At that time I had two books on the subject, published in 1987 and 1988. The first was written originally in English and like me did not use capitals and the other, that was translated into English used capitals. I assumed that in the latter this had been a mistake of the translator but I realise now that it was following a new trend.

Who started the trend and why?

Later in my work in Germany I rarely had to use the words in English I was using the Hungarian konduktiv nevelés with my colleagues and the various German descriptions. Usually I chose konduktive Pedagogie or konduktive Erzeihung, as used in the German translation of the name of the PAI in Petö's day. All with their capitals for the nouns.

The more I read in English about the subject the more I noticed that conductive education was changing. I do not mean the changes in how it was being practised, although I noticed these changes too, but in how it was spelt.

Why did the changes take place?

Was it "Just So"?

In the 1987 edition of Conductive Education, A System for Overcoming Motor Disorder, Andrew Sutton and Phillipa Cottam used conductive education although as early as 1984 in an article published in Educational Studies, vol 10, no 2, Andrew Sutton used a C and an E. I wonder why he changed back again to a c and an e, only to return again later.

In 1983 L. Jernqvist, J. Titchener and R Kinsman where still writing conductive education but by 1984 Jernqvist had begun to use Conductive Education.

By 1988 in the English translation of Konductiv Pedagogia - Conductive Education by Mária Hári and Károly Ákos and in 1989s TWO YEARS ON Proceedings of the Education Conference, the capitals are there. They are also there in Conductive Education? by Janet Read, published in 1990 and also in the 1991 publication of the English translation of Dina, A Mother practises Conductive Education. It seems by the 1990s they were here to stay.

Slowly but surely almost every where that I saw it written down konduktiv pedigogia in its English translation was given capitals.

But not everywhere.

In the Conductive Education, Occasional Papers that are in my pocession, published by the International Petö Institute between 1997 and 2005 it seems to depend from what country the articles come from as to which variation is used. Hungarian and German writers usually use no capitals whereas artilces from Israel, the USA, China and Britain usually have them.

Is it "Just So", or does anyone know how,or even why, the first letters were, (sometimes, but not always) written CE?


Rudyard Kipling -


Andrew said...


Susie Mallett said...

Andrew, thanks for the prompt reply!

But why?

And why did you then stop the use of capitals for the book with Phillipa Cottam?

Ester Cotton was using a capital on Conduction way back in the 70s. Why did you then later think another capital on education was needed, and why no capitals on conductive pedagogy or conductive upbringing, the two things that were actually being "exported" from Hungarian?