THE HISTORY OF METHODS 25 interests that give life to their intelligence; to witness the happiness that comes to them through every activity in which the hand becomes capable of achieving something. It is really man arising from death to the joy of living. This spectacle is so fascinating that it kept me for almost two years in daily contact with these •children. I was with them from early morning till evening as if I were a real teacher, not a physician conducting an experiment. These two years of practical work were my first approach to pedagogy, because never before had I taken any interest in education. From the time when, in 1898-1900, I dedicated myself to the •education of defective children, I had the intuition that the methods of Seguin were not merely an attempt at helping inferior beings, the mentally defective children, but that they were based on prin- ciples far more reasonable than those in use in ordinary education. Here indeed the result was not only that the pupils " learned some- thing," but one witnessed an awakening of the personality. It seemed to me and to many who took interest in my experi- ments that it was a matter of method being different from the ordinary methods, but not of methods particular to an inferior mind. On the contrary these different methods contained a •system of mental treatment that was very logical and superior to that being empirically applied to normal children. Slowly I became convinced that similar methods to normal children would lead to a mental awakening and a beneficial modifying action in them also. I had in fact come upon an experiment of scientific pedagogy! It was then that I began a really profound study of the so- called curative pedagogy, and consequently I wanted to under- take the study of normal teaching and the principles on which it is founded. Therefore I enrolled myself as a student of philo- sophy in the university. A great faith animated me. Although I did not know if I should ever be able to test the truth of my theory, yet I left every other occupation in order to fathom it, preparing myself almost as if for an unknown mission.