THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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CRITICAL CONSIDERATION                  9
is the spirit of the men of science, to whom nature freely reveals her secrets, crowning their labours with the glory of discovery.
There exists, then, the " spirit" of the scientist, a thing far above his mere " mechanical skill," and the scientist is at the height of his achievement when the spirit has triumphed over the mechanism. When he has reached this point, science will receive from him not only new revelations of nature, but philosophic syntheses of pure thought.
It is my belief that the thing which we should culti­vate in our teachers is more the spirit than the mechanical skill of the scientist; that is, the direction of the prepara­tion should be toward the spirit rather than toward the mechanism. For example, when we considered the scien­tific preparation of teachers to be simply the acquiring of the technique of science, we did not attempt to make these elementary teachers perfect anthropologists, expert ex­perimental psychologists, or masters of infant hygiene; we wished only to direct them toward the field of experi­mental science, teaching them to manage the various in­struments with a certain degree of skill. So now, we wish to direct the teacher, trying to awaken in him, in con­nection with his own particular field, the school, that scientific spirit which opens the door for him to broader and bigger possibilities. In other words, we wish to awaken in the mind and heart of the educator an interest in natural phenomena to such an extent that, loving nature, he shall understand the anxious and expectant attitude of one who has prepared an experiment and who awaits a revelation from it.*
* See in my treatise on Pedagogical Anthropology the chapter on " The Method Used in Experimental Sciences."
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