It is not the word, but the capacity to experience the sensation that counts in his education

Experience Teaches

curiosity

I, little ignorant I, found myself explaining to the wise men of the East and the West such simple things as these: If you give a child something sweet, and he wags his tongue and smacks his lips and looks pleased, he has a very definite sensation; and if, every time he has this experience, he hears the word sweet, or has it spelled into his hand, he will quickly adopt this arbitrary sign for his sensation. Likewise, if you put a bit of lemon on his tongue, he puckers up his lips and tries to spit it out; and after he has had this experience a few times, if you offer him a lemon, he shuts his mouth and makes faces, clearly indicating that he remembers the unpleasant sensation. You label it sour, and he adopts your symbol. If you had called these sensations respectively black and white, he would have adopted them as readily; but he would mean by black and white the same things that he means by sweet and sour. In the same way the child learns from many experiences to differentiate his feelings, and we name them for him—good, bad, gentle, rough, happy, sad. It is not the word, but the capacity to experience the sensation that counts in his education.

one of Annie Sullivan’s letters about Helen Keller, written to Sophia C. Hopkins
from The Story of My Life
by Helen Keller, John Albert Macy, Annie Sullivan
image – hlkljgk

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