THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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22               THE MONTESSORI METHOD
and the yoke of the servant to that of the work­man.
All forms of slavery tend little by little to weaken and disappear, even the sexual slavery of woman. The his­tory of civilisation is a history of conquest and of libera­tion. We should ask in what stage of civilisation we find ourselves and if, in truth, the good of prizes and of punish­ments be necessary to our advancement. If we have in­deed gone beyond this point, then to apply such a form of education would be to draw the new generation back to a lower level, not to lead them into their true heritage of progress.
Something very like this condition of the school exists in society, in the relation between the government and the great numbers of the men employed in its administra­tive departments. These clerks work day after day for the general national good, yet they do not feel or see the advantage of their work in any immediate reward. That is, they do not realise that the state carries on its great business through their daily tasks, and that the whole na­tion is benefited by their work. For them the immediate good is promotion, as passing to a higher class is for the child in school. The man who loses sight of the really big aim of his work is like a child who has been placed in a class below his real standing: like a slave, he is cheated of something which is his right. His dignity as a man is reduced to the limits of the dignity of a machine which must be oiled if it is to be kept going, because it does not have within itself the impulse of life. All those petty things such as the desire for decorations or medals, are but artificial stimuli, lightening for the moment the dark, barren path in which he treads.
In the same way we give prizes to school children. And
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