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THE TECHNIQUE OF                                  211

Indeed, when the child is educating himself, and the control
and correction of error Is given over to the material, there is
nothing left for the teacher to do but to observe.

With my methods, the mistress teaches little, observes a great
deal, and above all, hers Is the function of directing the mental
activity of the children and their physiological development. For
this reason I have changed the name of teacher to that of directress.

In the early days this name made people smile, for everybody
asked who It was that this mistress would direct since she had no
one under her sway and had to leave her little pupils at liberty.
But her direction goes much deeper and Is more important than
what Is commonly understood, since she directs life and souls.
The directresses of the Children's Houses must have a very clear
conception of two factors—the guidance which Is the function of
the teacher, and the individual exercise, which Is the work of the

Only after having fixed In their minds this idea can they
proceed rationally to the application of a method for guiding the
spontaneous education of the child and for imparting the necessary

The personal skill of the educator is revealed by the oppor-
tuneness and the efficiency of .her intervention.