THE EXERCISES 155
baby; I am very fond of it, it is really a baby. Do you want a
proof of it? Oh, do be quiet; it seems to me that it is weeping,,
that it is crying out. Oh, will it perhaps say 'papa' and
' mama ' ? " She touches the strings underneath the covering. " Ah,,
did you hear? Did you hear what it did? Did it weep, did it call
out?" Some of the children say: "It is the mandoline, it is the
strings, you have touched them." The mistress answers, "Quiet,,
children, listen carefully to what I do." She uncovers the man-
doline, and touches the strings lightly, " That is a sowdl "
To expect the child as the result of such a lesson to under-
stand the intention of the teacher, that she wanted to show the
difference between noise and sound, is impossible. The child
will have understood that the teacher wanted to make a joke. It
will think that she is rather silly to lose the thread of her discourse
because of a mere noise and that she confuses a mandoline with.
a baby. Certainly the figure of the mistress will be well fixed in
the child's mind, but not the object of the lesson.
To get a simple lesson from a teacher trained according to
the usual methods is a most laborious business. I remember that,,
after many explanations on the subject, I asked one of my teachers-
to teach by the use of the insets (vide later) the difference between
a square and a triangle. She had merely to get a square and a
triangle of wood fitted into empty spaces which suited them, make
the child trace with its finger the outlines of the inset pieces and
of the frame and say: "This a square," "This is a triangle."
The mistress, making them touch the outlines, began by saying:
" This is one line, another, another, another; there are four; just
count with your finger how many there are. And the corners?
Count the corners, feel them with your finger, press on them;
there are four of them also. Look at it carefully; it is a
square!" I corrected the teacher, pointing out to her that she
was not teaching them to recognize a shape, but was giving them
ideas about sides, angles, numbers—a very different thing from
what she had to teach. But she defended herself saying, " It is the
same thing." It is not the same thing, it is the geometrical and.