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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

26                 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

The methods for the education of defectives had their origin
at the time of the French Revolution in the work of doctor
J. M. G. Itard whose medical works have become historical, for
he was the founder of that branch of medical science which
specializes under the name of otiatry (diseases of the ear).

He was the first to attempt the methodical education of the
sense of hearing, in the institute of deaf-mutes founded by Pereire
in Paris; he succeeded in giving back hearing to those partially
deaf. Later, having had in his charge for eight years an idiot boy
who was known as the savage of Aveyron, he extended to all the
senses the educational methods which had already given excellent
results in hearing. Itard, a pupil of Pinel, was the first teacher
to practise observation of the pupil, in a way similar to that which
was done in the hospitals in the observation of the sick, especially
of those suffering from nervous troubles.

The educational works of Itard are most interesting detailed
descriptions of his teaching attempts and experiments, and anyone
who reads them today will agree that they were the first attempts
at " scientific pedagogy". He, in fact, derived from scientific
study a series of exercises capable of modifying the personality, of
healing defects that kept the individual in a state of inferiority.
Itard actually succeeded in rendering semi-deaf children capable
of both hearing and speaking, whilst otherwise they would have
remained deaf and dumb and consequently for ever abnormal.
This is very different indeed from a simple study of the individual
carried out by means of the tests of experimental psychology.
They only lead to a statement on the mental personality; they do-
not modify it but leave the educational methods unchanged. Here,
instead, the scientific means employed become the means by which
education is given, so that pedagogy itself is changed.

Itard, therefore, may be called the founder of scientific peda-
gogy, not Wundt or Binet, who are the founders of a physio-
logical psychology which can easily be applied also in the schools.

This is a fundamental point which well deserves to be made
clear. Whilst Pestalozzi, in Switzerland, became the ** father of