36 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
At the Bicetre, where I spent some time, I saw that it was the didactic apparatus of Seguin far more than his method which was being used, although the Erench text was in the hands of the educators. The teaching there was purely mechanical, each teacher following the rules according to the letter. I found, however, wherever I went, in London as well as in Paris, a desire for fresh counsel and for new experiences, since far too often Seguin's claim that with his methods the education of idiots" was actually possible, had proved only a delusion.
After this study of the methods in use throughout Europe I concluded my experiments upon the deficients of Rome, and taught them throughout two years. I followed Seguin's book, and also derived much help from the remarkable experiments of Itard.
Guided by the work of these two men, I had manufactured a great variety of didactic material. These materials, which I have never seen complete in any institution, became in the hands of those who knew how to apply them, a most remarkable and efficient means, but unless rightly presented, they failed to attract the attention of the deficients.
I felt that I understood the discouragement of those working with feeble-minded children, and could see why they had, in so many cases, abandoned the method. The prejudice that the educator must place himself on a level with the one to be educated, sinks the teacher of deficients into a species of apathy. He accepts the fact that he is educating an inferior personality, and for that very reason he does not succeed. Even so those who teach little children too often have the idea that they are educating babies and seek to place themselves on the child's level by approaching him with games, and often with foolish