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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

250               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

but with two fingers, the index and the middle finger; in the second,.
the letters were touched with a wooden rod held like a pen in

In the main, I had the letters repeated sometimes with and
sometimes without the addition of holding the instrument.

It is to be noted that the child must follow with his finger the
visible image of the letter drawn. It is true that this finger has
akeady been exercised in touching the outlines of the geometrical
figures, but this practice does not always appear to be suffi-
cient for the work. We ourselves, for example, when making
a drawing clearer, cannot follow perfectly the line we see
and on which we have to retrace the drawing. It would be
necessary that the drawing should possess some special property
which attracted the point of our pencil, in magnet fashion, or that
the pencil should find a mechanical guide on the paper ^where it is
drawing, in order to follow with precision the trace which is
apparent to the eye. Defectives did not, therefore, always,
follow the drawing, either with the finger or with the rod; the
teaching material did not offer any control to the work done; or
offered only the untrustworthy control of the eye of the child,
who certainly could not see whether or not the finger was following,
the lines. I thought that, in order to get the movements of writing,
carried out more exactly, and to guarantee or at least to guide
execution in a more direct manner, it would be necessary to
prepare hollow letter shapes, so that they were represented by a
groove, in which the wooden rod might move. I made a plan for
such work, but as it was too costly I was not able to carry it out,

I spoke at length about this method to teachers in the courser
of my lessons on teaching at the College for Training Teachers of
Defectives. In the second year of the course, lithographed leaflets-
were distributed and I have preserved up till now about a hundred
copies of them as documents of the past.

Here are the words which, spoken in public twenty-five years
ago remained in lithographed form in the hands of two hundred
elementary teachers without any one of them, as Professor Ferrer!