THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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EDUCATION OF THE SENSES 181
The following pages of Itard give an idea of the patient experiments made by this pioneer in pedagogy. Their lack of success was due largely to errors which suc­cessive experiments have made it possible to correct, and in part to the mentality of his subject.
" IV: In this last experiment it was not necessary, as in the one preceding, to demand that the pupil repeat the sounds which he perceived. This double work, dis­tributing his attention, was outside the plane of my pur­pose, which was to educate each organ separately. I, therefore, limited myself to following the simple per­ception of sounds. To be certain of this result, I placed my pupil in front of me with his eyes blinded, his fists closed, and had him extend a finger every time that I made a sound. He understood this arrangement, and as soon as the sound reached his ear, the finger was raised, with a species of impetuosity, and often with demonstra­tions of joy which left no doubt as to the pleasure the pupil took in these bizarre lessons. Indeed, whether it be that he found a real pleasure in the sound of the human voice, or that he had at last conquered the annoyance he at first felt on being deprived of the light for so long a time, the fact remains hat more than once, during the intervals of rest, he came to me with his blindfold in his hand, holding it over his eyes, and jumping with joy when he felt my hands tying it about his head.
" V: Having thoroughly assured myself, through such experiments as the one described above, that all sounds of the voice, whatever their intensity, were perceived by Vittorio, I proceeded to the attempt of making him com­pare these sounds. It was no longer a case of simply noting the sounds of the voice, but of perceiving the dif­ferences and of appreciating all these modifications and
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