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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS                      9

Now let us imagine a mind filled with a mystic ardour which
follows all the revelations of the little child's mind, in order that,
with mingled feelings of respect and love, of sacred curiosity and
of aspiration after the highest places in heaven, he may learn the
way to his own perfecting, that he may carry his perfection into
the beautiful work-room of a classroom peopled with little
children.

Well, this would not be the new educator whom we wish to
create!

Let us try to combine in one single mind the keen spirit of
sacrifice which animates the scientist with the ineffable ecstasy of
a mystic, and we shall have prepared completely the spirit of
the teacher.

He will really learn from the child himself both the means
and the manner of his own education; that is, he will learn from the
child how to improve himself as a teacher.

Let us picture to ourselves one of our botanists or zoologists,
skilled in the technique of observing and experimenting, who for
example has made journeys to study the Peronospora in their natural
surroundings, and who has followed up his operations in the field
by microscopic and general work in the laboratory, conducting
experiments in culture as part of his final research. Or let us think
of another worker who has gone into the stables to study the ticks
breeding in the excrements of animals. Or, finally, take one who
understands what is meant by nature study, and who is familiar with
all the means which modern experimental science offers for such
work. Let us suppose that one of these men, selected because of
his successful research, is given a scientist's post where he is re-
quired to carry out research work on the Hymenoptera. What
would he feel if, when he took up his new post, there was placed
in front of him a box, covered with clear glass, at the bottom
of which were fastened with pins beautiful, preserved, dead
butterflies, their wings outspread? The young student would say
that this was- a game for children and not material for study by
scientists, that those preparations in the box were what followed