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

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

acteristics of inferiority, not because he was a degraded organism, but for want of education. He was a follower of the principles of Helvetius: " Man is nothing with­out the work of man "; that is, he believed in the omnipo­tence of education, and was opposed to the pedagogical principle which Rousseau had promulgated before the Revolution: " Tout est bien sortant des mains de l'Auteur des clioses, tout degenere dans les mains de l'liomme,"that is, the work of education is deleterious and spoils the man.
The savage, according to the erroneous first impression of Itard, demonstrated experimentally by his character­istics the truth of the former assertion. When, however, he perceived, with the help of Pinel, that he had to do with an idiot, his philosophical theories gave place to the most admirable, tentative, experimental pedagogy.
Itard divides the education of the savage into two parts. In the first, he endeavours to lead the child from natural life to social life; and in the second, he attempts the intel­lectual education of the idiot. The child in his life of frightful abandonment had found one happiness; he had, so to speak, immersed himself in, and unified himself with, nature, taking delight in it — rains, snow, tempests, boundless space, had been his sources of entertainment, his companions, his love. Civil life is a renunciation of all this: but it is an acquisition beneficent to human progress. In Itard's pages we find vividly described the moral work which led the savage to civilisation, multiplying the needs of the child and surrounding him with loving care. Here is a sample of the admirably patient work of Itard as ob­server of the spontaneous expressions of his pupil: it can most truly give teachers, who are to prepare for the experi­mental method, an idea of the patience and the self-ab-
Previous Contents Next