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

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LANGUAGE in CHILDHOOD              317
But why, when we acknowledge the graphic language - as a precious, nay indispensable, instrument of intellectual education, for the reason that it fixes the ideas of men and permits of their analysis and of their assimilation in books, where they remain indelibly written as an inef­faceable memory of words which are therefore always present and by which we can analyse the syntactical structure of the language, why shall we not acknowledge that it is useful in the more humble task of fixing the words which represent perception and of analysing their component sounds?
Compelled by a pedagogical prejudice we are unable to separate the idea of a graphic language from that of a function which heretofore we have made it exclusively perform; and it seems to us that by teaching such a lan­guage to children still in the age of simple perceptions and of motility we are committing a serious psychological and pedagogical error.
But let us rid ourselves of this prejudice and consider the graphic language in itself, reconstructing its psycho­physiological mechanism. It is far more simple than the psycho-physiological mechanism of the articulate lan­guage, and is far more directly accessible to educa­tion.
Writing especially is surprisingly simple. For let us consider dictated writing: we have a perfect parallel with spoken language since a motor action must correspond with heard speech. Here there does not exist, to be sure, the mysterious hereditary relations between the heard speech and the articulate speech; but the movements of writing are far simpler than those necessary to the spoken word, and are performed by large muscles, all external,
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