Skip to main content

Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

See other formats

TEACHING METHODS         ;                 91

As for punishments, we have often found ourselves faced with
children who continue to disturb others without paying any atten-
tion to our reproofs. They were at once examined carefully by
the doctor, but very often they were quite normal children. Then
we placed a small table in a corner of the room and isolated the-
child at it, making him sit down in an armchair in front of the-
class and giving him all the objects he wanted. This isolation
always succeeded in calming the child. He saw from his position
the whole band of his companions and their way of behaving was
an object lesson in behaviour more efficacious than any words.of
the teacher could have been. Little by little he realized the
advantages of being in company with others and began to want
to do as they did. We have brought under discipline in this way
all the children who at first seemed to be rebels. The isolated child
was made the object of special care as if he were helpless or sick.
I myself, when I entered, went first of all straight to him, caressing
him as if he were a baby; afterwards I turned to the others^
interesting myself as if they were men. I do not know what passed
through their minds, but certainly the ' conversion' of the isolated
individuals was always decided and thorough. They then became-
proud of being able to work and of behaving properly; generally
they displayed tender affection for their teacher and for me.


From a biological point of view, the conception of liberty in
the education of the youngest children should be understood, as a
condition suited to favourable development, both on the physical
side and on the intellectual side. Were the teacher possessed of a
profound reverence for life she would respect, whilst observing
with human- interest, the unfolding of infant life. The life of the
child is not an abstraction; it is the life of every single child.
There exists only one real biological revelation—the living indi-
vidual; and towards these single individuals, observed one by one,,
education ought to be directed, that is to say the help required for