Skip to main content

Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

See other formats


surroundings dark or by covering up his eyes with a bandage.
In other cases, silence is what is required.

All these methods are instrumental in helping the normal
child to concentrate on one isolated stimulus; they strengthen his
interest in it.

On the contrary, the defective child is easily distracted by these
very methods; he is led away by them from the principal subject
which ought to be claiming his attention. In darkness, he easily
falls asleep, or he becomes unruly. It is the bandage which attracts
his attention instead of the sense stimulus on which he was expected
to fix his mind; thus the exercise degenerates into a useless game
or an outburst of meaningless joy.

Finally, there is another fact specially worthy of notice; it is
that both among defectives and normal children, excellent results
are produced by Seguin's ' lesson in three stages,' which so simply
and so clearly links up the word with the idea acquired.

That ought to make us reflect that the difference between the
higher and the lower mentality diminishes and becomes less noticje-
able when the child is in a condition to receive, like a passive
creature, lessons based on the activity of the teacher who acts
over him.

The simple and psychologically perfect lesson of Seguin suc-
ceeds in its aim in both cases.

This is clear and eloquent proof that individual differences are
revealed and intensified only through spqntaneous work and in
expression which has not been incitedóthat is, in the direct
manifestations of the inner impulses.

The association of the name with the sense perception in
Seguin's lesson succeeds not only in fixing that association in the
mind of the defective child, but also partly in increasing his
perceptive power. The defective is helped by that lesson to observe
the object better; it seems now to be doubly attached to himóby
appearance and by name.

The normal child has no need of this help in observing. His
observation is at a stage preceding the nee4 for the lesson, He