312 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
not interest him, and whose representation is incapable of determining a spontaneous motor impulse. The artificial act constituted, therefore, an effort of the will which resulted for the child in rapid exhaustion exhibited in the form of boredom and suffering. To this effort was added the effort of constituting synchronously the muscular associations co-ordinating the movements necessary to the holding and manipulating the instrument of writing.
All sorts of depressing feelings accompanied such efforts and conduced to the production of imperfect and erroneous signs which the teachers had to correct, discouraging the child still more with the constant criticism of the error and of the imperfection of the signs traced. Thus, while the child was urged to make an effort, the teacher depressed rather than revived his psychical forces.
Although such a mistaken course was followed, the graphic language, so painfully learned, was nevertheless to be immediately utilised for social ends; and, still imperfect and immature, was made to do service in the syntactical construction of the language, and in the ideal expression of the superior psychic centres. One must remember that in nature the spoken language is formed gradually; and it is already established in words when the superior psychic centres use these words in what Kussmaul calls dictorium, in the syntactical grammatical formation of language which is necessary to the expression of complex ideas; that is, in the language of the logical mind.
In short the mechanism of language is a necessary antecedent of the higher psychic activities which are to utilise it.
There are, therefore, two periods in the development of language: a lower one which prepares the nervous