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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

96                 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

deaf-mutes and a student of philosophy, embarked upon his edu-
cation with methods which he had already partially tested in
restoring hearing to partly deaf individuals. At first, he was of
the opinion that the wild boy's inferior traits were due to lack
of education rather than to organic defects. He was a believer in
the principles of Helvetius, " Man is nothing without the work of
man "; that is to say, he believed education to be all-powerful.
He was an opponent of the pedagogic principle, enunciated by
Rousseau before the Revolution—" Tout est bien sortant des maim
de VAuteur des choses, tout degenere dans les mains de rhomme";
briefly: The work of education is harmful and injures man.

The wild boy, according to Itard's first illusion, demonstrated
experimentally through his characteristics the truth of the first
assertion. When, however, helped by Pinel, he became aware that
he had to deal with an idiot, his philosophic theories gave place
to a most admirable trial treatment in experimental pedagogy,

Itard divides the education of this boy into two parts.   In the
first, he tries to bring him within the bounds of ordinary social
life; in the second, he attempts the intellectual education of the-
idiot.   The boy, whilst living his life of terrible abandonment, had
found happiness in it; he had almost been absorbed as part of
Nature in which he delighted; rain, snow, tempest, boundless
space had formed his spectacles, his companions, his love.   Civil-
ized life means renunciation of all this, but it carries with it a
conquest which furthers human progress-   In the pages of Itard
there is described vividly the moral work through which the savage
was guided into civilization, involving the multiplication of the
needs   of the  child  and  surrounding  him with   loving care.
Here is an example of the admirably patient work done by Itard
as an observer of the spontaneous manifestations of his pupil; it is
certainly capable of giving teachers who have to prepare themselves
for using experimental methods an idea of the patience and the
self-abnegation demanded when phenomena have to be observed*

"When, for example, observation was kept on him in his
room, he was seen to be swaying himself to and fro with wearying