HOW LESSONS SHOULD BE GIVEN 109
object, how he is interested in it, for how long, etc., even noticing the expression of his face. And she must take great care not to offend the principles of liberty. For, if she provokes the child to make an unnatural effort, she will no longer know what is the spontaneous activity of the child. If, therefore, the lesson rigorously prepared in this brevity, simplicity and truth is not understood by the child, is not accepted by him as an explanation of the object,— the teacher must be warned of two things: — first, not to insist by repeating the lesson; and second, not to make the child feel that he has made a mistake, or that he is not understood, because in doing so she will cause him to make an effort to understand, and will thus alter the natural state which must be used by her in making her psychological observation. A few examples may serve to illustrate this point.
Let us suppose, for example, that the teacher wishes to teach to a child the two colours, red and blue. She desires to attract the attention of the child to the object. She says, therefore, " Look at this." Then, in order to teach the colours, she says, showing him the red, " This is red" raising her voice a little and pronouncing the word " red " slowly and clearly; then showing him the other colour, " This is blue/' In order to make sure that the child has understood, she says to him, " Give me the red," —" Give me the blue." Let us suppose that the child in following this last direction makes a mistake. The teacher does not repeat and does not insist; she smiles, gives the child a friendly caress and takes away the colours.
Teachers ordinarily are greatly surprised at such simplicity. They often say, " But everybody knows how to do that! " Indeed, this again is a little like the egg of