108 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
obliged to remain in their places quiet and ready to listen to the teacher, or to watch what she is doing. The collective lessons, in fact, are of very secondary importance, and have been almost abolished by us.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE INDIVIDUAL LESSONS:----CONCISENESS, SIMPLICITY, OBJECTIVITY
The lessons, then, are individual, and brevity must be one of their chief characteristics. Dante gives excellent advice to teachers when he says, " Let thy words be counted." The more carefully we cut away useless words, the more perfect will become the lesson. And in preparing the lessons which she is to give, the teacher must pay special attention to this point, counting and weighing the value of the words which she is to speak.
Another characteristic quality of the lesson in the " Children's Houses " is its simplicity. It must be stripped of all that is not absolute truth. That the teacher must not lose herself in vain words, is included in the first quality of conciseness; this second, then, is closely related to the first: that is, the carefully chosen words must be the most simple it is possible to find, and must refer to the truth.
The third quality of the lesson is its objectivity. The lesson must be presented in such a way that the personality of the teacher shall disappear. There shall remain in evidence only the object to which she wishes to call the attention of the child. This brief and simple lesson must be considered by the teacher as an explanation of the object and of the use which the child can make of it.
In the giving of such lessons the fundamental guide must be the method of observation, in which is included and understood the liberty of the child. So the teacher shall observe whether the child interests himself in the