THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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INTELLECTUAL EDUCATION             229
but by giving them the power and the means for this observation, and these means are procured through edu­cation of the senses. Once we have aroused such activity, auto-education is assured, for refined well-trained senses lead us to a closer observation of the environment, and this, with its infinite variety, attracts the attention and continues the psychosensory education.
If, on the other hand, in this matter of sense education we single out definite concepts of the quality of certain objects, these very objects become associated with, or a part of, the training, which is in this way limited to those concepts taken and recorded. So the sense training re­mains unfruitful. When, for example, a teacher has given in the old way a lesson on the names of the colours, she has imparted an idea concerning that particular qual­ity, but she has not educated the chromatic sense. The child will know these colours in a superficial way, forget­ting them from time to time; and at best his appreciation of them will lie within the limits prescribed by the teacher. When, therefore, the teacher of the old methods shall have provoked the generalisation of the idea, saying, for example, " What is the colour of this flower tM "of this ribbon I" the attention of the child will in all proba­bility remain torpidly fixed upon the examples suggested by her.
We may liken the child to a clock, and may say that with the old-time way it is very much as if we were to hold the wheels of the clock quiet and move the hands about the clock face with our fingers. The hands will continue to circle the dial just so long as we apply, through our fingers, the necessary motor force. Even so is it with that sort of culture which is limited to the work which the teacher does with the child. The new method,
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