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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

238               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

which enables us to express thought which is already logically
organized, and to obtain from books the ideas of a vast number
of distant, unseen people, or of those who have died in ages long
past. As long as the child is incapable of using this language
because of his immaturity, he may be excused from the hard labour
of learning it.

We, however, believe that the solution may be arrived at
through a more profound study of the problem. Above all there
will have to be considered an infinite number of errors in the
method of teaching writing. This is not the place to discuss them,
"but one example, that of the method used by Seguin to teach
writing to defectives, will suffice to illustrate our point. Another
problem for study is that of considering writing in itself, analysing
it into its factors. By trying to separate them into independent
•exercises, they can be adapted to various ages and thus distributed
.according to the natural powers of the child. This is the principle
inspiring our method which will be illustrated in the following
pages.

THE OLD METHODS OF TEACHING
READING AND WRITING

CRITICISM OF SEGUIN'S METHOD OF TEACHING WRITING

Seguin does not present in his treatise on teaching any reasoned
•out methods for teaching writing. Here is the substance of his way
of teaching writing.

" In order to carry a child on from drawing, strictly so-called,
to writing which is the immediate application of it, the teacher
needs only to call the letter D a portion of a circle supported at its
extremities against a vertical line, and A, two sloping lines joined
,at the top and crossed by a horizontal line, and so on."

.' ** It is no longer then a question of knowing how the child
-will learn to write; he draws,, then he will .write. After that it is
not necessary to say that the letters must be drawn according to