THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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GENERAL REVIEW OF DISCIPLINE 367
because his will-power was allowed to grow only in the shade, disappears in our schools. He presents an exam­ple of thoughtless barbarism, which resembles the artificial compression of the bodies of those children intended for " court dwarfs," museum monstrosities or buffoons. Yet this is the treatment under which nearly all the children of our time are growing up spiritually.
As a matter of fact in all the pedagogical congresses one hears that the great peril of our time is the lack of individual character in the scholars; yet these alarmists do not point out that this condition is due to the way in which education is managed, to scholastic slavery, which has for its specialty the repression of will-power and of force of character. The remedy is simply to enfranchise human development.
Besides the exercises it offers for developing will-power, the other factor in obedience is the capacity to perform the act it becomes necessary to obey. One of the most in­teresting observations made by my pupil Anna Macche-roni (at first in the school in Milan and then in that in the Via Guisti in Rome), relates to the connection between obedience in a child and his " knowing how." Obedi­ence appears in the child as a latent instinct as soon as his personality begins to take form. For instance, a child begins to try a certain exercise and suddenly some time he goes through it perfectly; he is delighted, stares at it, and wishes to do it over again, but for some time the ex­ercise is not a success. Then comes a time when he can do it nearly every time he tries voluntarily but makes mistakes if someone else asks him to do it. The external command does not as yet produce the voluntary act. When, however, the exercise always succeeds, with abso­lute certainty, then an order from someone else brings
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