THE TECHNIQUE OF LESSONS 209
selected the identical tint; very often, the nearest; very rarely, a
tint two tints removed. He possessed a discriminating power and
a memory for colours which were almost prodigious. This child,
like most others, was devoted to the colour exercise.
Having been asked the name of the colour white, the child
hesitated a long time, and only after a number of seconds did he
say uncertainly " white ". Now so intelligent a child, even without
special help from the mistress, might have learnt the name in
the family life.
The Directress told me that having noticed that this child had
special difficulty in naming the colours of things, she had limited
him up till now to the sense exercises. She thought it better not
to intervene yet in the teaching.
Certainly the education of this child was somewhat confused,
and the control left excessively free the spontaneous explanations
of mental activity.
Although it is most praiseworthy to give to ideas a basis of
sense education, it is nevertheless essential to associate language
and perceptions at the same time. The mistress ought to avoid
the superfluous, but not forget the necessary. The existence of
the superfluous and the absence of the necessary are the two
principal mistakes made by the teacher; the middle course between
the two marks the level of her perfection.
The end to be attained is the orderly stabilization of the
spontaneous activity of the child. As no master can give the pupil
the agility which he acquired by gymnastic exercise but the pupil
must improve himself by his own efforts, so it is here by close:
analogy for the education of the senses and for education in
We think of what the teacher of the pianoforte does- He
teaches his pupil how to place his body, teaches him the notes,
shows him the relation between the written note and the key to
be touched, as well as the position of the fingers; then he leaves
him by himself to practice. If from this pupil there is to be pro-
duced a pianist, there will have to intervene between the instruction