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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

246              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

point, then the ability first shown will be much less, and there will
appear a pretty big series of irregularities, that is mistakes.

Almost all the lines will be long, because the individuals have-
to make a dash in order to carry out their intentions.

Let us now give directions that the lines must be short and
kept within defined limits; the errors will increase because the dash
which had helped to keep the direction straight is prevented. Now
let us add that the writing instrument must be held in a particular
way, not as each one chooses.

In this way do we approach sensibly the first attempts at writ-
ing which we expect from children—attempts which also demand
the preservation of parallelism among the separate lines drawn,,
and which will make a dull, very difficult piece of work, because
they have no aim for the children who do not understand them.

I noticed in the copybooks of deficient children visited in
France (and Voisin also mentions this fact) that the pages of
strokes, although they begin as such, finished with the lines of the
letter C; that means that the defective child whose attention is
less resistant than that of the normal child exhausts, little by little.,
his first effort at imitation, and natural movement is gradually
substituted for that which was imposed. Thus the straight lines
are changed into curves often resembling those of C. Such a
phenomenon does not appear in the copy-books of normal children.,
because they maintain their effort up to the end of the page, and,
as so often happens, they cover up the error in teaching* But let
us examine the spontaneous drawings of normal children when,,
for example, they are drawing lines on the sand of the gardea
paths with a branch which has fallen from a tree; we will never see
short straight lines, but long curved lines variously interlaced.
Seguin saw the same thing when he made the children draw hori-
zontals which at once became curves, an occurrence which he
considered was due to imitation of the horizon.1

1 An obstacle arises here, when there have to be analysed alphabetical
farms which include both straight lines and curves.