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TEACHING METHODS                          85

gradually replaced by those which are spontaneously regulated
constitute a book for the teacher, a book which should inspire
her own doings, the only one in which she can read and study if
she is to become a good teacher. Since the child with similar
exercises makes a kind of selection of his own tendencies, at first
he is confused in the unintentional disorder of his doings,

It is marvellous to find how individual differences manifest
themselves in the most striking fashion when this procedure is
followed; every child reveals himself.

Some there are who stay quietly in their places, apathetic,
sleepy; others stand up, shout, bang, overturn things; others again
set about a definite action such as putting a chair crossways and
trying to sit down in it, displacing a table, looking at a picture,
and so on. In some cases children are revealed as being slow in
their mental development, or perhaps sickly; sometimes character
develops late; finally they may turn out to be intelligent, adaptable
to their surroundings, capable of expressing their tastes, their incli-
nations, their power of spontaneous attention, the limits of their


The concept of liberty for the child cannot be simple like that
which is associated with the observation of plants, insects, etc.
The reason is that the child, owing to its characteristic helplessness
when born and its position as a social individual, is fettered by
many bonds which restrict its activity.

An educational method which is based on liberty must inter-
vene in order to help the child to regain it; that is, to lessen as far
as possible the social bonds which limit his activity. By degrees,
as the child proceeds on his way, his spontaneous demonstrations
will become more instinct with truth, will reveal his character more
clearly. That is why the first form of educational intervention
ought to have as its object the leading of the child along the paths
of independence.