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ignorance are wholly impotent in suppressing the automatic, spontaneous sensations and cravings. Guidance is imperative from the time that the child leaves the cradle, and this guidance involves the possession of knowledge, tact, and sympathy by the parent and the teacher. We have to begin this moral and educational reform by educating the parents to a sense of their responsibility, and by expelling false modesty.
Prudery and indecency have proved a terribly hostile alliance against purity of thought and conduct. Sex can only be saved from the swamp by the strong aid of scientific knowledge and scientific ethics. It is admitted by many thoughtful clerical teachers that the exhortations of religion are inadequate. There must be a sure basis of biological knowledge and a psychological faculty in all teachers who essay to lead youth in the path of chastity.
St. Jerome, in a letter to Eustochium, gives an excellent definition of prudery. He describes the prudish woman as one who “regards as gross whatever is natural." The association of the gross or the sinful with sex must inevitably destroy the attitude of reverence in the young mind. We cannot instil a fine erotic idealism by teaching children to insult Nature. This is not the way of sublimation. We must think purely of that which is intrinsically pure. Love is the great purifier and refiner of humanity, and the source of this passion is in sex.
Let no counsels nor suggestions of prudery imperil the clear mental vision of the child. Respect for the body and the vital impulse of love is the sole moral safeguard for youth. Disrespect for sex is the great anomaly of civilization. It is a result of a distorted view of modesty and refinement. Prudery, profanity, and obscenity have violated the sanctuary of love. Oakdene,
By Miss MARGARET DRUMMOND, M.A. Author of "The Dawn of Mind : An Introduction to Child Psychology," &c.
It is now generally believed that the ability to read implies a certain special brain development; that in teaching a child to read we are bringing about definite alterations in the nerve cells or their connections. Very probably the same is the case with regard to number. In these subjects, then, no child should be held to a lesson when he shows signs of fatigue, and no child should be given a lesson if he shows unwillingness to receive it. In the early years it is all-important to avoid nervous fatigue and to promote stability of development. Brain growth goes on in the intervals between lessons as much as or more than while the lessons are going on. The intervals play an allimportant part in the promotion of stability, and the best guide to the most favourable interval and to the most favourable length of lesson is found in the attitude of the individual.
In both reading and arithmetic we find in our schools cases of extremely slow development. Children who fail to learn to read when every opportunity is given them are termed word-blind. If such children are not mentally defective, however, the blindness is probably not absolute, i.e., by proper educational method they may in time acquire the ability to read. In these cases longer lessons are never to be regarded as “ proper educational method.”
No special name has yet been proposed for the children who are deficient with respect to number. Often the defect disappears with the child's growth. This change arises out of the child's inner history, and often seems a miracle to the teacher. Sometimes a child who has been regarded as hopeless at arithmetic all through the junior classes comes at 10, or even 12, into his numerical kingdom, and takes a good place among his fellows. These retardations may be due to congenital slowness of brain development. They may also be due to defects of our educational system, which presumes that a child is being taught arithmetic when he is in a room where someone is teaching it. Many a University student knows how, if one point is missed in a mathematical lecture, the rest of the demonstration is mere sound signifying nothing. Similarly, if a little child misses the crucial point, his mind either becomes confused or seeks refuge in daydreams. If failure is frequent, he may give up arithmetic as a subject altogether beyond him. A habit of daydreaming may be established, which may account for the startling answers with which such a child enlivens the class-room routine. It is comforting to the teacher to set such defect down to brain conditions. At the same time she should recognize that remedial measures should be taken at once. Such a child, if kept with his class mates, is certainly wasting his precious time, and is probably acquiring harmful mental habits.
The normal child early feels an attraction towards number. We see this in baby's enjoyment of plays with his fingers and toes. We see it in the way the older child picks up and uses number words before they have meaning for him, and in the counting tasks he sets himself later; railings, steps, the window panes in church and elsewhere, the people that pass, paving stones, bricks in a wall-all these things and many more make a numerical appeal to children, who spontaneously take full advantage of the material thus provided. Skipping and ball bouncing offer very attractive number material. Some children aim at counting up to an immense number-" the last number in the world,” as one little girl put it. This same child attempted to count the stars, and was much aggrieved by her failure. Fired by the example of other children or on a slight suggestion from older people, the little ones will aim at counting by two's, three's, and so on, thus securing familiarity with the tables. By all these methods an immense amount of valuable practice both in counting things and in the succession of the number names is secured.
Even after the number series has become quite familiar, it may be a long time before the simple fact that
means the next number in the series is grasped. Thus if one gives a little child a group of things to count, and then keeps on adding one to the group, saying each time “How many now?” there is a stage at which the child has to count the whole group over each time in order to answer the question.
Such number practice should be encouraged, and we should make no attempt to hurry progress. It is very probable that the children who do not show normal development in the arithmetic classes are children who have avoided all this early number work. The time, which is very much less than that shown on the time-table, and the attention, often a vanishing quantity, that they devote to the subject in schools, cannot possibly bring such children up to the level of their class mates. Such considerations serve to suggest that the arithmetical dunce is made, not born, and that his number “bump" may develop
quite normally if we can hit on a method which will compensate for his early neglect of the subject.
That this is a sound conclusion seems to be indicated by the following case : About two and a half years ago my attention was called by an infant mistress to a little girl who was very backward in arithmetic. Mary was 8.1 years of age, but could make nothing of number, and was still in the “baby” class. Her reading was satisfactory, and her general intelligence fairly good. She knew the names of the number series, and could count things pretty well. When asked what six and one make, she replied, “Nine.” When I held up six fingers and said, “How many more to make seven ?” she said, “ Four.” All such questions led to wild guessing. I gave her a set of dominoes. She took to the game readily and played it at home. For more systematic training I used ordinary playing cards, having beans at hand when more mobile units were required. At the beginning Mary could name the one, two, and three groups without counting; she confused the five group with the four group, and gave poor guesses at the higher groups. I spent some time in analysing the arrangements as they appear on the cards, and the child began to realize the nine, for example, as two 4's and a 1. About the sixth lesson I began to deal the thirty-nine number cards out to her, requiring her to name each in succession (the ace of spades was omitted). I timed the proceedings with a stop-watch. Obviously any thinking or counting on her part prolonged the exercise considerably. Table 1 shows how her speed
THE CASE OF A
TABLES SHOWING INCREASE of Speed IN NUMBER Exercises
Table 4.-Addition : cards taken two at a time, about two months' interval. Time in seconds Time in seconds Time in seconds Time in seconds Time in seconds 127
increased. After a few days, with the intention of mechanizing certain number combinations, I added another exercise. I set down ten little sums on this model : 5 + 4 and required the child to read them thus : “ Five and four are nine." The time required for the whole ten sums I noted. The results are shown in the second table. Both these exercises were, as a rule, performed two or even three times in succession; the results recorded in the charts are the first for each day.
A month after Mary first came to me-about the sixteenth lessonI began to deal out the cards two at a time, directing her to add the numbers thus shown. As usual I timed the process.
I made no attempt to hurry the child; I showed her the watch, told her how long she had been, and sometimes compared with a previous trial. I showed my pleasure when improvement appeared, but I endeavoured not to show disappointment when the opposite was the case. I wished to avoid effort on Mary's part, for I considered a certain placidity of mind the most favourable condition for rendering the combinations required automatic. The results are shown in Table 3. Mary's attitude towards number groups was that of a child of 4 or 5. In the course of the eighth lesson I arranged twelve beans in two groups of eight and four. By counting she succeeded in making out that 8 and 4 are equal to 12. I then moved one bean from the 8 and put it with the 4. The whole counting process had to be gone through again for her to realize that it was now a case of 7 and 5 making up 12.
Dealing with numbers in concrete form was extraordinarily difficult. At the thirty-fourth lesson I asked Mary how many 2's there are in 8. Even with the card 8 before her she could scarcely succeed in finding out. By the thirty-fifth lesson she knew with lightning rapidity that five and four made nine; yet the question, What is five from nine ? left her absolutely at sea.
After about three months' coaching (forty lessons) my little pupil got her remove in school and began to do simple addition sums. A year after I made her acquaintance she could do both addition and subtraction fairly well, if one held her to the work; if left alone she was very apt to let her attention slip, and then numerous absurd errors would
The multiplication tables were learned witho". culty and quite satisfactorily. Much mental confusion was