226 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
associated in the child's mind with the object. She must allow the necessary time to elapse, letting a short period of silence intervene between the lesson and the test. Then she may ask the child, pronouncing slowly and very clearly the name or the adjective she has taught: " Which is smooth ? Which is rough f "
The child will point to the object with his finger, and the teacher will know that he has made the desired association. But if he has not done this, that is, if he makes a mistake, she must not correct him, but must suspend her lesson, to take it up again another day. Indeed, why correct him 2 If the child has not succeeded in associating the name with the object, the only way in which to succeed would be to repeat both the action of the sense stimuli and the name; in other words, to repeat the lesson. But when the child has failed, we should know that he was not at that instant ready for the psychic association which we wished to provoke in him, and we must therefore choose another moment.
If we should say, in correcting the child, " No, you have made a mistake," all these words, which, being in the form of a reproof, would strike him more forcibly than others (such as smooth or rough), would remain in the mind of the child, retarding the learning of the names. On the contrary, the silence which follows the error leaves the field of consciousness clear, and the next lesson may successfully follow the first. In fact, by revealing the error we may lead the child to make an undue effort to remember, or we may discourage him, and it is our duty to avoid as much as possible all unnatural effort and all depression.
Third. If the child has not committed any error, the teacher may provoke the motor activity corresponding to