Archive for the ‘Annie Sullivan’ Category

New words germinate and bring forth new ideas, and they are the stuff out of which heaven and earth are made

Sunday, April 25th, 2010
budding tree branch

I ask all her friends to encourage her to tell them of her doings, and to manifest as much curiosity and pleasure in her little adventures as they possibly can. This gratifies the child’s love of approbation and keeps up her interest in things. This is the basis of real intercourse. She makes many mistakes, of course, twists words and phrases, puts the cart before the horse, and gets herself into hopeless tangles of nouns and verbs; but so does the hearing child.

[Read more]

It would indeed be a herculean task to teach the words if the ideas did not already exist in the child’s mind

Friday, October 16th, 2009
small parts spelled with alphabet block beads

He asked me how I had taught Helen adjectives and the names of abstract ideas like goodness and happiness. These same questions had been asked me a hundred times by the learned doctors. It seems strange that people…

[Read more]

Language grows out of life, out of its needs and experiences.

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
weathered antique book

In order to use language intelligently, one must have something to talk about, and having something to talk about is the result of having had experiences; no amount of language training will enable our little children to use language with ease and fluency unless they have something clearly in their minds which they wish to communicate…

[Read more]

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

Monday, August 24th, 2009
child touching puddle

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…

[Read more]

Children will educate themselves under right conditions. They require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.

Sunday, July 5th, 2009
child's hand reaching for butterfly on flowers

…we continue to fill their minds with the so-called rudiments. Mathematics will never make them loving, nor will the accurate knowledge of the size and shape of the world help them to appreciate its beauties. Let us lead them during the first years to find their greatest pleasure in Nature.

[Read more]

“Why?” is the door through which he enters the world of reason and reflection.

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
door with key

She has now reached the question stage of her development. It is “what?” “why?” “when?” especially “why?” all day long, and as her intelligence grows her inquiries become more insistent. I remember how unbearable I used to find the inquisitiveness of my friends’ children; but I…

[Read more]

Assume the child is doing his part, and that the seed you have sown will bear fruit in due time

Saturday, April 11th, 2009
puppy dozes in a hand

Since I have abandoned the idea of regular lessons, I find that Helen learns much faster. I am convinced that the time spent by the teacher in digging out of the child what she has put into him, for the sake of satisfying herself…

[Read more]

She has learned that everything has a name, and that the manual alphabet is the key to everything she wants to know.

Thursday, March 26th, 2009
hands in water from pump

We went out to the pump-house, and I made Helen hold her mug under the spout while I pumped. As the cold water gushed forth, filling the mug, I spelled “w-a-t-e-r” in Helen’s free hand. The word coming so close upon the sensation of cold water rushing over her hand seemed to startle her. She dropped the…

[Read more]

The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed!

Saturday, March 21st, 2009
red yarn

The wild little creature of two weeks ago has been transformed into a gentle child. She is sitting by me as I write, her face serene and happy, crocheting a long red chain of Scotch wool. She learned the stitch this week, and is very proud of the achievement. When she succeeded in making a chain that would…

[Read more]

She has no idea yet that everything has a name

Monday, March 9th, 2009
finger alphabet sample

It was evident that she recognized the dog, for she put her arms round her neck and squeezed her. Then Helen sat down by her and began to manipulate her claws. We couldn’t think for a second what she was doing, but when we saw her make the letters “d-o-l-l” on her own fingers, we knew that she was trying to teach…

[Read more]

People seldom see the halting and painful steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

He says Helen’s progress has been “a triumphal march from the beginning,” and he has many flattering things to say about her teacher. I think he is inclined to exaggerate; at all events, his language is too glowing, and simple facts are set forth in such a manner that they…

[Read more]