78 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
in the meantime the children learnt to carry out their performances
so cleverly that no more cases fell to the ground in spite of their
uncertain balance. The children's skill in moving things had made
.good the defect in the furniture.
The simplicity and the imperfection of external objects are
helpful in developing the activity and the dexterity of the pupils.
All this is logical and simple; and now, having been enunci-
ated and experimented with, it seems to be as evident to everybody
as the egg of Christopher Columbus.
DISCIPLINE AND LIBERTY
We have to deal with another difficulty frequently raised by
those who practise the usual methods of discipline, namely how
can discipline be maintained in a class of children free to move
Certainly in our system we have a different conception of
discipline; we regard discipline as being an active state of things.
We do not consider that discipline has been achieved when an
individual has been rendered by artificial means as silent as a mute
and as motionless as a paralytic. Such an individual is annihilated,
We claim that an individual is disciplined when he is master
of himself, and therefore is capable of controlling himself when
it is necessary to comply with a law of life.
This idea of active discipline is neither easy to understand nor
to obtain, but it certainly embodies a lofty principle of education;
it is very different from the absolute and undisputed compulsion
which produces immobility.
The teacher must be equipped with a special technique if she
is to guide the child along this path of discipline in which he ought
to walk throughout his life, continually moving onwards towards
Thus whilst the child is learning to move about with case and
certainly, he is preparing himself not only for school but also for
life, so that he grows up into an individual habitually correct in