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alexb
Charter Member
672 posts
Nov-13-00, 10:44 PM (EST)

"Pestallozzi on number words"

 Following is a copy of my post to the Numeracy listserv:========================================================What do you know? I have just purchased a 3 volume set of selected works of J. H. Pestalozzi - in Russian. The first volume starts with a diary he kept of his son's education. Following is my attempt at a literal translation of a couple of paragraphs on the 3rd page of the diary:"Explaining to him the true significance of the first numbers I tried to confer some definiteness on those words that he learned by heart without understanding their real meaning. From this example, the least capable person might verify how big an obstacle for grasping the truth is the habit of learning words not related to valid properties of things. The habit of not thinking of how in essense the numbers are different that are assigned number words was evident and hindered his understanding.7, 8, 9, and 1 were for him much the same as 3, 5, and 17, and I could not remove the consequences of that habit of not thinking."Why have I done such a stupid thing, teaching him ahead of time the words so important for grasping the truth without simultaneously taking care of making more precise the underlying notions while uttering the first number words? How natural would have it been not to teach him to say _three_ until he recognized correctly 2 in all things shown to him. How naturally would have he learned to count, and how much have I swayed in my haste from the nature's ways! Oh, you, the truths, so important for the wisdom and virtue, please teach me being cautious!"(Written in 1774.)All the best,Alexander Bogomolny

Ed Wall (Guest)
guest
Nov-13-00, 10:49 PM (EST)

1. "RE: Pestallozzi on number words"
In response to message #0

 Fantastic, Please post more of these gems for our reflection.Ed WallAt 12:56 AM -0500 11/12/00, Alexander Bogomolny wrote:>What do you know? I have just purchased a 3>volume set of selected works of J. H. Pestalozzi - in Russian. >The first volume starts with a diary he kept of his son's >education. Following is my attempt at a literal translation of >a couple of paragraphs on the 3rd page of the>diary:>>"Explaining to him the true significance of the first numbers>I tried to confer some definiteness on those words that>he learned by heart without understanding their real meaning.>From this example, the least capable person might verify how>big an obstacle for grasping the truth is the habit of learning>words not related to valid properties of things. The habit of>not thinking of how in essense the numbers are different that >are assigned number words was evident and hindered his >understanding. 7, 8, 9, and 1 were for him much the same as 3, >5, and 17, and I could not remove the consequences of that habit >of not thinking.>>"Why have I done such a stupid thing, teaching him ahead of time>the words so important for grasping the truth without >simultaneously taking care of making more precise the underlying >notions while uttering the first number words? How natural would >have it been not to teach him to say _three_ until he recognized >correctly 2 in all things shown to him. How naturally would have >he learned to count, and how much have I swayed in my haste from >the nature's ways! Oh, you, the truths, so important for the >wisdom and virtue, please teach me being cautious!">>(Written in 1774.)>>All the best,>Alexander Bogomolny