THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

Scientific Methods As Applied To Child Education In "the Children's Houses"

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xxxiv
LNTKODUCTION
understand, in other words, what is the sanction for the seemingly hypertrophied discriminative capacity of. the human sense organs. The usual "teleological explanations" of our sensory life fail to account for this discrepancy. Again, the very fact of the existence of this surplus capacity seems to negative at the outset the notion that sensory capacity can be a conditioning factor in intelligenceó with the qualification already noted.
It is quite possible that the real pedagogical value of the Montessori apparatus is due to the fact that it keeps children happily engaged in the exercise of their senses and their fingers when they crave such exercise most and to the further fact that it teaches them without the least strain a good deal about forms and materials. These values are not likely to be much affected by differing school con≠ditions.
In the use of the material for sense-training, English and American teachers may find profit in two general warnings. First, it should not be supposed that sense training alone will accomplish all that Dr. Montessori accomplishes through the whole range of her school ac≠tivities. To fill up most of a morning with sense-training is to give it (except perhaps in the case of the youngest pupils) undue importance. It is not even certain that the general use of the senses will be much affected by it, to say nothing of the loss of opportunity for larger physical and social activity. Second, the isolation of the senses should be used with some care. To shut off sight is to take one step toward sleep, and the requirement that a child concentrate his attention, in this situation, on the sense perceptions he gets by other means than vision must not be maintained too long. No small strain is involved in mental action without the usual means of information and control, n The proposal, mentioned above, of a feasible combina-
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