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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

.28                 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

Whilst I was an assistant in the Mental Clinic, I had read with
great interest Seguin's French work.   But the English book pub-
lished in New York twenty years later, although it was quoted
in the works of specialized education of Bourneville, did not exist
in any library.   To my great astonishment, I could find no trace
of it in Paris, where Bourneville told me that he did not know of
its existence; Seguin's second book had never entered Europe. I
hoped to find some copies of it in London, but I had to convince
•myself that even there the volume did not exist either in the public
or in the private libraries. It was in vain that I made enquiries, visit-
ing home after home of many English doctors who were well known
as specialists for defective children, or who superintended special
schools for them.   The fact that this book was unknown even in
England though it was published in English made me think that
Seguin's system had not been understood.   Indeed, in the pub-
lications relating to institutions for defectives, Seguin was constantly
quoted, but the educational applications described were quite
different from those advocated in Seguin's system.   Almost every-
where there were applied more or less to defectives the methods
used for normal children, and, especially in Germany, a German
friend of mine who had gone there to help me in my researches
noted how special didactic material existed here and there in the
pedagogical museums belonging to  schools  for  defectives.   It
was, however, never in practical use, whilst there the principle is
defended that it is a good plan to adopt for slowly developed minds
the same method as for normal, which is, however, more objective
in Germany than with us.

At Bicetre also, where I remained to study for a long time,
I saw that teaching mechanisms were adopted rather than Seguin's
system; yet the French text was in the hands of the teachers. All
the teaching there wa$ mechanized, and every teacher followed
the same routine to the letter. However^ it was noticeable every-
where, in London and in Paris, that there was a desire to have fresh
advice, to learn new experiments for the fact stated by Seguin that
lie had really succeeded in educating idiots with his methods,