Some of Caleb Gattegno's books

The number of books that Caleb Gattegno wrote is truly amazing. It is certainly true that most are short and he also utilised material from papers that he had written but, nevertheless, the number (around 120) and range is quite remarkable. We give below only a small sample of the books that Gattegno wrote with some extracts from Prefaces and some reviews. The Prefaces are extremely informative in showing Gattegno's views and, in some cases, how events in his life influenced these views.

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Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way (1963)

Towards a Visual Culture: Educating Through Television (1969)

What We Owe Children: The subordination of teaching to learning (1970)

The Adolescent and His Will (1971)

Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way (Second Edition, 1972)

The Common Sense of Teaching Mathematics (1974)

The Mind Teaches the Brain (1975)

Of Boys and Girls (1975)

On Being Freer (1975)

The Common Sense of Teaching Foreign Languages (1976)

Evolution and Memory (1977)

The Science of Education. Part 1: Theoretical Considerations (1987)

1. Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way (1963), by Caleb Gattegno.
1.1. From the Preface.

This book is written after many years of study, reflection and experimentation in varying conditions and places. The first part of its double title reflects the intention to restrict the discussion to what can be done in schools, not attempting to include all cases of language teaching, in particular individual solitary learning. The second part tells of a way which at first may seem paradoxical, but I hope will appear to the reader as he advances in the book increasingly as a sensible approach, and one that is more akin than other attitudes to the challenges of language learning. It seemed to me that the time had arrived for me to put together my experiences of the last thirty-five years or so, in which I have been actively engaged in studying languages, coaching private pupils and testing my ideas with classes in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, England, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Israel, Spain, Thailand, Uruguay, U.S.A. and Yugoslavia. My experiments were designed to test sometimes techniques of acceleration of learning, sometimes hypotheses about how difficulties are met by people of different linguistic backgrounds, sometimes an intuition about what could help learners over apparently insuperable hurdles, but always to test my progress in the grasp of what language learning is. I hope to have been able, every time I encountered a new light, to sensitize myself to it, and I hope I have not wasted most opportunities that came my way in the varied conditions in which I worked. The reader will decide whether I have done justice to the factors that impinge upon learners engaged in acquiring languages, as well as whether I have been able to gain new insights in to the true challenges and to keep a check on the play of prejudices.
2. Towards a Visual Culture: Educating Through Television (1969), by Caleb Gattegno.
2.1. From the Preface.

This book on education and on television's role in education has been written to encourage discussion about issues that are becoming more important everyday but are still not being looked at closely enough. It is a slender text for a huge area. Many questions that could have been asked have been left out, others are scarcely touched upon. Still, it is far from a cursory look at education and television. With regard to education, it is, in terms of the author, a summing up of more than forty years of practice and of thinking, involving face-to-face contact with all sorts of learnings. With regard to television, the proof of the seriousness of the discussion will be found in the leads presented here for programs that could be translated - this is known rather than just believed - into actual and successful shows. Readers, I believe, will not need long to find that they are confronted with questions that will mobilize their creative mind and will force them into thinking anew about matters to which they now may rarely turn to stimulate their percept ion of reality, though sum matters have been cardinal in the initial stages of everybody's growth. If a public discussion of any of these considerations ensues, the publication now of this book as it is will have been justified. We need to be a legion of workers to make a success of the place of television in education. But we first need to ask the right questions. Only after the answers emerge can we produce the programs that will satisfy the true needs of growth - and not just in the young but in each of us. To summon the huge competence to meet these demands will in itself be an education for those who will lead in this field. Technologists foresee developments in television that will put the whole world at the disposal of every home via satellite and, via computers, all the canned knowledge accumulated to date. They no longer see any insurmountable obstacles in creating such equipment. Nor do they believe there will be a problem, via the computer and the telephone, in providing every individual in his own home with immediate access to the programs he believes he needs in order to be informed at once on what matters to him.

2.2. Review by: John M Culkin.
The English Journal 59 (3) (1970), 426-427.

Add Caleb Gattegno to your list of good guys in education. This slim volume contains more wisdom and insight about learners and media and methods than any book I've read in recent years. Gattegno's thesis is that, since we see at the speed of light, we should be able to learn at the speed of sight. Only our long standing habits of slowing down for sound and of fragmenting into words keep us from reaching the potential of our own minds and from using television at full strength. Gattegno analyses the nature of learning and the nature of television and then provides both the theoretical framework and practical examples for implementing his ideas. He argues his case in a tight, provocative fashion which forces the reader to get into the act by reflecting, arguing, searching. It is a book to be read aloud with a friend.

2.3. Review by: Robert Fishman.
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 391 (Collective Violence) (1970), 250.

The visual, automated , technological culture is upon us. Instead of joining those who fear man's fate in these times, Caleb Gattegno takes our hand and carefully leads us into this world with new excitement and promise. For this attempt alone, we owe him, and others like him, a debt of gratitude. He has tried successfully to give the reader a glimpse into his vast understanding of the detailed process of education , while at the same time he explains how the visual impact of television opens new doors in educational concepts. Any one of us interested in understanding man and his social processes should read this book not only for its specific content, but also for an understanding of the interaction between a human social process such as education, and the media within which it is transferred. Mr Gattegno's capacity to interweave these two processes, and keep them constantly before us is, in this reviewer's opinion, one of the major contributions of the book. For in our times, the various media of communication, and the complex media of technology, are having major impacts on our social structures, family lives, and value systems. We need more contributors like Caleb Gattegno to help us to creatively use these media for man's benefit. We can no longer allow ourselves to play with these media as though they were just toys, for we are learning how dangerous their impact can be when we do just that. Despite its primary focus on education, this book should be of interest to political and social scientists since a better understanding of the potential uses of television certainly has impact on these fields. The writer achieves his goal in hoping that readers "will not need long to find that they are confronted with questions that will mobilize their creative mind and will force them into thinking anew about matters to which they now may rarely turn to stimulate their perception of reality. ..." This promise, I feel, is well borne out by the book.

2.4. Review by: Frank Manchel.
Elementary English 47 (3) (1970), 435-436.

For those who haven't seriously considered television's potential for educating the slow and the quick, Towards a Visual Culture should convince teachers not only that the electronic medium has fantastic possibilities, but also that Dr Caleb Gattegno is one of a rare, vanishing breed - an intellectual teacher who can write persuasively. His educational philosophy, after forty years of teaching, is neither cynical nor naive, but perceptive and refreshing, challenging, and extremely worthwhile considering. In setting forth his views on the relationships between children and their world, the Director of Schools for the Future is coherent, original, and stimulating. Unfortunately, the same praise can not be given to his understanding of television. Although he wisely senses the untapped potential of the little screen for audio-visual instruction, Gattegno neglects the far more important characteristics of the miraculous window to the world: entertainment, immediacy, and unparalleled opportunities for sight and sound experiences.
3. What We Owe Children: The subordination of teaching to learning (1970), by Caleb Gattegno.
3.1. Review by: Jewell A Friend.
The English Journal 60 (8) (1971), 1145-1147.

The task of education, Gattegno argues, is "to provide students with the means to meet the future". Because we live in a dynamic world where political, economic and social flux is the rule rather than the exception, one has difficulty identifying with the past. Indeed, the success of one's life depends upon his ability to meet change, to accept it with grace, to adjust intellectually and emotionally to social convolutions. But, because the future of our students is characterized by uncertainty, they must be prepared to confront their uncertain tomorrows intelligently. Educating for the future, Gattegno insists, demands that we acknowledge that memory is one of the "weak powers of the mind." Intellectual flexibility and extension of cognitive faculties are essentially what we, as educators, owe our children. ... 'What We Owe Children' is the gospel according to Gattegno. And it is a gospel in the etymological sense of the word! It contains pragmatic, realistic, practical statements of responsibilities, limitations, and potentialities of the teacher-training experience. It proposes for the classroom an exchange of time for experience, purely behavioural approaches to education for cognitive exploitation, intellectual drudgery for discovery, textbook grinds for social pumps - in brief, a change from insistence on teaching to emphasis on learning.

3.2. Review by: Walter B Barbe.
Elementary English 48 (6) (1971), 702.

A statement of educational philosophy, the subtitle, "The Subordination of Teaching to Learning" succinctly indicates both the problem and a proposed theoretical solution. The view presented is certainly not Gattegno's alone, although admittedly practice of this point of view is limited and limited mostly to the elementary grades. But that such a point of view is even publishable is encouraging. Although there are chapter headings such as "The Teaching of Reading and Mathematics," and "The Teaching of Social Science," the reader will find a relating of the author's philosophy to these specific areas and not traditional treatment of these topics. The chapter on "The Role of the Teacher" suggests the tasks facing a teacher who wants to subordinate teaching to learning. "In this context, teaching becomes a new activity originating within the complex of 'knowing-people' who meet deliberately for the explicit purpose of changing time into experience with the greatest efficiency possible." Reviewing such a book presented many problems, for it is at best only a monograph - a rather brief promise of more to come, and at a rather substantial price. While the philosophy which this book presents is indeed a must for teachers, the book itself commands no such place on a required reading list. Neither for casual reading nor for the conservative educator who believes that change will not come, Gattegno must be applauded for stating a basis for bold educational change.
4. The Adolescent and His Will (1971), by Caleb Gattegno.
4.1. From the Preface.

When the publishers told me of their intent ion to bring out a revised edition of the English translation of a book I wrote in French more than twenty years ago, I did not think I should agree. Their reasons were that its content and proposals not only are unknown to most teachers in this country but also are still valid and could be helpful at this moment when adolescence is being discussed by everybody. Twenty years of reflection, of experimentation, of revision of viewpoints, made this work, as I looked back on it, seem in many ways a milestone rather than a final station. Unable to rewrite it at this time, unable to recreate the inner atmosphere of the time when its content came to me in the form it took in that book, I had a hard time in supplying the few variations required by the editor. My hope is that this vastly improved translation, with the numerous deletions, clarifications, and added examples will be less difficult to read than the original. If it is, all the merit goes to the editor. My thanks to him expressed here will be the only testimony of a vital contribution to the usefulness of this work. To the reader I owe a number of explanations which I shall place at the beginning of the book as warning, as well as in order to help dispel misapprehensions. As I came to the problems examined in the book, problems that interested me because of my temperament and the circumstances of my life, it often occurred that the existing literature was not sufficient to cover what was there to be gleaned. One consequence is that I often use words in ways which are not the current ones. New definitions would perhaps help but I have not always found it necessary. Instead I let meanings emerge from as many situations as are necessary to round up the new notions, as a novelist would do with characters, involving them in scenes that make them more understandable.
5. Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way (Second Edition, 1972), by Caleb Gattegno.
5.1. Review by: Earl W Stevick.
TESOL Quarterly 8 (3) (1974), 305-314.

This is another book by an outsider. Like Curran (1972, reviewed in Stevick 1973), Caleb Gattegno does language teaching as a by-product and special case of a professional commitment which is broader than language teaching as such. Again like Curran, Gattegno makes almost no mention of those who are conspicuous in the field; in turn, his own published works are cited only rarely in our books and journals. The first edition of this book received no serious reviews in the United States, and as far as I am aware, the second edition has thus far been entirely ignored.
It is not hard to understand how this has happened. I myself found the first chapter of the first edition so annoying that I refused to read further. I find the second edition exciting and utterly charming from cover to cover, but this fact is probably due less to the differences between the editions than it is to five intervening years of hit-and run - or hit-and miss - encounters with the Silent Way in practice. This review, therefore, while centring on the book, will necessarily reflect my total experience with what strikes many of us as a bizarre way of learning and teaching.

5.2. Review by: Thomas W Kelly.
Hispania 57 (2) (1974), 388-389.

It has been four years since my first encounter with Dr Gattegno's "Silent Way" of foreign language teaching. At the time his exposition left me both fascinated and sceptical. After reading the present revision of his original book on the subject, I find that my fascination has increased while my scepticism has diminished. Just what is this "Silent Way" of teaching? It seems that the word silent is used to encourage the teacher to limit severely his own vocalization in order that his students might be free to participate in and create language. In the words of one of ten teacher-advocates of this approach who are cited in the appendix, "It is a way to allow students to observe themselves learn and to discover what their powers of learning are and how they can use them more effectively." Dr Gattegno does not attempt to give a step-by-step guide to the achievement of this goal. He emphasizes that this might undermine the flexibility and adaptability which he views as fundamental to the success of the approach. Instead, he sets forth in five short chapters the reasons why he developed the "Silent Way," his theories on the nature of first and second language acquisition, a rather sketchy exposition on how to implement the approach, and a declaration of the remarkable results one can expect if this approach is employed. It is evident that, rather than a new methodology, the "Silent Way" is a pedagogical way of life and that one of its most important features is the high degree of self-discipline required of the teacher. He is urged to make himself what has come to be called in other contexts a real "facilitator of learning" rather than an all-powerful figure whose task it is to "pour" knowledge into his students. In this way, the teacher frees his students to experience learning and to take much of the responsibility for this learning.
6. The Common Sense of Teaching Mathematics (1974), by Caleb Gattegno.
6.1. From the Preface.

For some time I have had it in mind to write a book which would substantiate my claim that it is now possible to make the study of education properly scientific. It seems to me at this moment that my contribution to the study can best be put in the form of several short books, each devoted to a particular part of the educational field, rather than, as I originally thought, into a single comprehensive volume. I offer this book as the first in such a series; in it I restrict myself to elementary mathematics, and mainly to the algebra and theory of numbers. Perhaps this book will seem to others to be mainly another book about mathematics teaching continuing a line of development I have already exemplified in other writings; for me, it represents a radical departure. Now I know that only awareness is educable, I have found it possible to come up with original answers appropriate to many of the areas of educational endeavour - answers of a universality which ensure that they are, indeed, solutions to problems and not merely bright ideas. What characterizes this book is that it is concerned with people becoming aware of how to use their own manifestations, as perceivers, actors, verbalizers and thinkers, in order to gather mathematics on the way. It must therefore serve any learner of mathematics, whoever he is. The study of the education of awareness has yielded tools which can be used to grasp unequivocally the whole universe of education: the method of investigation coincides with the field of application, and knowing replaces knowledge as the cardinal notion. Since knowing produces knowledge, but not the other way round, this book shows how everyone can be a producer rather than a consumer of mathematical knowledge. Mathematics can be owned as a means of mathematizing the universe, just as the power of verbalizing moulds itself to all the manifold demands of experience. In this book I show mathematization in action, giving only just enough detail to display what it is, and leaving the elaboration of these sketches to the reader. In this way he will find how much he has learned through the extent to which he can add to its content himself. It is obvious that learning anything always exacts a price - the learner must always give some of his attention, his effort and his time in exchange for learning. It is also obvious that where spontaneous self-generated learning is concerned the learner willingly pays what is required, whereas in school he often does not. My contention is that he cheerfully pays up when the learning he wants to acquire dictates the price, but that he will refuse if the price is higher than it need be, or if he is offered the wrong goods in exchange. One criterion, I suggest, for the validity of the existence of a science of education is in its ability to make accurate estimates of the cost of learning. Making the cost fit the learning requires that we know, in detail, what elements must be offered to the learner of a topic because he does not already have them and cannot invent them, and must therefore pay for. In an article, "A Prelude to the Science of Education," reprinted as an Appendix to this volume, I discuss this matter fully and show how "units of learning" can be precisely calculated. A consequence of the analysis is that we also know exactly what does not have to be offered by anyone because the learner is able to invent it for himself. A second aspect of the cost of learning is what is required of an individual learner for him to become the master of what he learns. Here it is not possible to predict exactly what each learner will need to pay, since much will depend on him, but where the matter involved is a skill, as in most of the mathematics discussed in this book, we need to know that mastery demands practice, and that awareness must precede practice. Teachers can minimize this feature of the cost of learning by finding those situations which carry the correct awarenesses and by suggesting exercises which provide the facility that shows that the awarenesses are functional. The book gives many examples to show how this can be done.

6.2. Review by: Edith Robinson.
The Arithmetic Teacher 22 (4) (1975), 311.

Gattegno's book is intriguing. The title is somewhat misleading, however, for it is a theoretical book, setting forth in some detail a particular theory of mathematics instruction. In the article that comprises Appendix A, Gattegno introduces the notion of an "ogden" - a unit "required to 'clip' or 'retain' any mental quantum which cannot be the result of one's own ordinary functionings alone". What the first seven chapters of the book seem to exemplify are ways to minimize the number of ogdens necessary to learn arithmetic and algebra. In recent years much has been written about "discovery learning" and "inquiry learning"; Gattegno presents a penetrating description of the process in conjunction with his description of classroom activities. The phraseology notwithstanding, he deals with real issues. I found the book difficult to read, but highly rewarding.

6.3. Review by: Philip Peak.
The Mathematics Teacher 67 (8) (1974), 732.

This is the first in a series of books to be written by the author showing the possibility of making the study of education properly scientific. This presentation is concerned with the awareness an individual has in the use of his own manifestations as an aid to learning mathematics. Did you know there are 45 ways of representing 2 using your two hands and 252 ways of representing 5? The author uses such actions to generate numerals and algebra. He uses Algebricks to illustrate integers, fractions, common multiples, polynomials, powers, and roots. Part IV deals with teaching mathematics to teachers and to children and can best be summed up in his postscript: "The job of teaching is one of bringing self awareness in learners through whatever means available in the environment."
7. The Mind Teaches the Brain (1975), by Caleb Gattegno.
7.1. From the Preface.

I do not have any of the inhibitions of scientists who feel that they must show themselves obeying "the scientific method" whenever they study any problem. Nor do I feel compelled to review all the literature and make sure that I give credit to everyone for every thought, remark, conclusion, that perhaps was written before I came upon this or that point. My way of working is to let a challenge mould me, take the time the challenge needs to express itself through me, and integrate whatever things I have read or heard that help me understand where I am in my search of the challenge. Of course, I know that one must attribute to previous investigators what they formulated on our behalf. I also know that all this social etiquette is not essential or even of paramount importance when one is working on vital matters - and that there will be scores of critics who love the job of matching investigators and investigations and who are able to perform this job. What matters to me is that more insight be placed on a question and that the question, after I spend some time intimately related to it, tells me what to say and write. "Some time" essentially means as long as need be, two years or forty years, or more. I prefer not to write anything until I see that I have made a breakthrough from my patient study of the matter at hand in as large a set of circumstances as is required. Since my problems are life challenges, life is my laboratory, people are the components, and what happens to them for all sorts of reasons is the stuff I look at and from which I draw my conclusions. For my method to be scientific, at least to me, I must know that I am a watchdog on behalf of the world, that what I say is not said for any reason other than that I see it to be true and universally acceptable - even if I know that no one ever looked at the problem in this way and have reason to believe that no one (for the moment) is likely to agree that my proposal is worth saying. This does not mean that I do not study some key works in the field in which I am at work, some of them examining who made what contribution and some of them the original contributions by key investigators. All the same, I am interested in making my own contribution and in writing what I think and what I have found.
8. Of Boys and Girls (1975), by Caleb Gattegno.
8.1. From the Preface.

Between the years spent entering the world and learning to cope with its many challenges, and those spent knowing oneself as power - that is, between the baby and the adolescent - all of us spend some years as boys or girls. These are the years of the elementary school. There, millions of children have been tested and tested for half a century or more, and still, I contend, they have barely been looked at. It is strange to find that the years of the elementary school and the years of post-adolescence are the only ones which have permitted the statistical approach to reach widely accepted conclusions, a fact that does not hold for the years of early childhood and adolescence. It has seemed as if there were two plateaus in growth, two periods of steady growth or even of equilibrium, which made possible a uniform method of asking questions - verbally or otherwise - and obtaining answers which could be classified . Perhaps in this easy way of gathering data we find the main reason why we have missed the correct meaning of childhood. Since it was possible to accumulate numerical table upon numerical table relating to any kind of question asked about it, people who studied that age (mainly educational psychologists) believed they were making a scientific study of childhood. Only investigations presented in uniform statistical fashion were considered dignified enough to be publishable. The resulting indefinite fragmentation of the field of study provided data of an atomic character which made us lose the forest for the trees. No child had a total individual reality any more; he or she was a vague mosaic of behaviours falling between norms and deviations, lifeless and non-evolving. Even "longitudinal" studies only led to statistical conclusions about "measurable" components. Truly the mere fad that such studies were conceived indicates that investigators were not interested in knowing childhood, only what became of people who passed through it. Their destination, as related to their performance at various ages, was all that mattered, and only the components that could be followed over the years were permitted to remain in the study. But what of the singular properties which characterize that age and are not continued in later years? They were, of course, omitted from consideration. Hence, decades of study may by design lead nowhere. Investigators were not troubled by finding so little of significance in their many years of examination of the field. They again and again asked for more time and more study, hoping to come up with so much evidence that the instruments of interpretation - such as statistics coupled with computer time - would sift the valuable from the trivial. Unfortunately this hope does not seem to have been fulfilled because the nature of the challenge cannot be grasped by any method of study that does not maintain its wholeness. This is why, after almost seventy-five years of study of school children, teachers are as powerless to help them grow intellectually as they were when no study was available. The studies throughout this century were like nets that could not catch fish because the mesh was unrelated to the size of the fish to be caught. The nets brought back something, indeed, but the investigators could not be sure what it was. In this book I shall both make new proposals for the study of children of elementary school age, and provide some answers to questions I have put to myself over the years and which have helped me improve as their teacher in all the fields of study carried on in schools.
9. On Being Freer (1975), by Caleb Gattegno.
9.1. From the Preface.

At the age of sixteen I wished I were a free man. Philosophers were either telling me that I could never be a free man, that such a thing did not exist (because men could not avoid being conditioned and were held down simply by having a body), or they were exalting me (as Epictetus did, by revealing a contempt for whatever bound men to their conditions - thus producing a glimpse of what a free man could be). Since then I have entertained the notion of being a free man on so many occasions and in connection with so many lightings that I have become clearer about the matter to the point that I am now able to share my understanding of it with others, who may have similar concerns. In 1942, at the moment of danger presented by Rommel's threat to the Middle East, I read the Bhagavad-Gita. It appeared to me as the song of freedom for my soul, the text from which I could learn how to move towards, and perhaps reach, freedom. As a first contribution to my growth in freedom, it made me see the uselessness of running away from a visible danger only perhaps to run into an invisible one, and I remained calmly where I was - to face myself in the midst of general panic. That summer of 1942 in Cairo brought me the first germs of awareness of what has slowly become the substance of this book. I understood then that because I existed in time and was mostly unaware of so much that I needed to know to act properly on all occasions, I could hope to be free only by developing a watchfulness of every moment, accumulating and integrating the lessons learned so that the immensity and inevitability of my ignorance would not detract from whatever I had to do to gain a view of what is rather than of what I wished for. As I progressed through my watchfulness in my immersion in life and living, I saw that although I might never be a "free" man capable of "one free act," I could be freer here and now, and could consciously know the condition of being freer in contrast to that of being lived, the state that so subtly takes away our chances to make genuine choices.
10. The Common Sense of Teaching Foreign Languages (1976), by Caleb Gattegno.
10.1. From the Publisher:

Gattegno wrote this book as a scientist interested in learning processes, as a student interested in the mastery of foreign languages, and as a teacher interested in providing his students with ideal learning conditions. These perspectives combined with years of research, travel, and fieldwork create a full insight into the problem of learning a foreign language. He argues that learning a language should not be about recitation and memorization, but about the natural learning processes we have used since birth. "In fact," he writes, "We can no more say that we remember our language than that we remember how to stand up or walk."

10.2. Review by: John Fanselow.
TESOL Quarterly 11 (4) (1977), 453-459.

Because Gattegno presents a complete system-a theory and specific suggestions as to how the theory can be executed in live classes, as well as the exact material to be taught - it seems unfair to make a judgment of it in terms of other people's systems or other people's points of view. In the same way, it would seem unjust to judge Newton on the basis of what Einstein said. The only way to judge Newton adequately is to see the extent to which what Newton said about the universe is true. Some may in fact argue with some of the statements of philosophy as well as the particular instances of language that Gattegno teaches, but it seems to me that this is unfair. We cannot judge his work in terms of our own conception, or our own paradigm, but only in terms of his. Though the system itself cannot be judged in terms of another system or a different point of view, comments about the style can be made. Gattegno himself, in his acknowledgments, says that his style is considered demanding by many. He simply suggests that it might be helpful to read aloud those sentences that seem dense to a reader. One could add Gattegno's own advice to language learners; to those who have difficulty with the style: Sleep on it! Since "not all learning takes place here and now, some may well be the outcome of sleeping on it."
11. Evolution and Memory (1977), by Caleb Gattegno.
11.1. From the Preface.

When writing the chapter on memory for my book "The Science of Education" I noted that it was becoming too big, too involved in matters that were very important but not quite obviously required by readers of the first treatise on the subject. Instead of cutting it out, I pursued the writing finding it easier to make a separate publication of these matters than to abandon the presentation of my findings. Hence this separate slim volume that scientists of education may, like me, find indispensable for their studies but that other readers of my large writing can be spared. When the centenary of "The origin of the species" was celebrated in 1959, I was ready with an alternate vision of evolution. I lectured occasionally on it and talked about it with good willed listeners. It was dear that what I was saying did not seem an urgent preoccupation for almost everyone. In fact no one I met wanted to understand evolution in my way. So, I began to have monologues in silence and at odd places, thinking that perhaps I had gone too far in my not being carried away by the main stream . Reading here and there what was currently said about evolution showed me that the tools I had, though needed by others, were not at their disposal and I let myself delve more freely in these regions. The content of this book comes from such solitary and unrestricted excursions. These gave my ideas of the late 50's a chance to gather strength and evidence and they are here presented as I could not do at the time. I must confess that I am pleased with the result. But I am also amazed that my psyche in order to make me accept my vision of the current one, camouflaged their appearance in my consciousness as a contribution to a scientific study of memory and its place in our ways of educating the young. Looking at all the references made to evolution in my writings on education over 30 years, I now find here and there a link of what is cardinal in this book: that individuality is the key to understanding evolution. But only here do I take full advantage of that awareness. So obvious and for so long hidden from any sight! This fad of not seeing the obvious has both helped me in becoming less easily swayed from finding what there is to find and alerted me to the possibility that the most trivial observation may be the germ of enormous progress. Writing this book has been a wonderful school for me. 1 saw some of my shyness go. I saw some of my resolutions such as not to entertain what I had not studied to my satisfaction enough, leave me. For example I have extremely rarely in the past referred to animals in my work and here I was trying to be fair to them in what they contributed to my evolution . I saw fit to speak of the most subtle thoughts I ever had and found in them tremendous promises for future studies and living. For that reason I kept them in the text in spite of the elusive nature of the content and the inadequacy of the language for their expression . Perhaps one reader will consider them. As I moved to telling what decades of thinking after reading and after writing brought to me in this field, I found that the picture that was knit was both exciting and promising. Exciting because so many unexpected details became leading threads that open areas of investigation, promising because at once those leads yielded vistas that I will one day find had become major preoccupations for me and perhaps for others.
12. The Science of Education. Part 1: Theoretical Considerations (1987), by Caleb Gattegno.
12.1. From the Preface.

This treatise on the Science of Education has been many years in the making. The first hints that there was a possibility of looking at education as a field of study that could ultimately become as legitimate a science as others have been, came forth soon after 1940. The central point was that awareness, which has permitted all the sciences to find their rightful places, could become aware of itself. In the years that followed, a number of research undertakings produced opportunities to gather evidence that gave the initial intuition a body of facts which established the foundations for that science and the openings for its technology. The decisive shift that there was a basis for suggesting to the public that a science of education could be developed came with the clear awareness that only awareness is educable in Man. From the early 1950s to today, the empirical foundations have been gleaned in a succession of solutions to problems met in the classrooms of the world, solutions developed entirely on the basis of awareness. This evidence is already overwhelming, even though it is essentially the work of only one man. It will be gathered together as now in use in many spots of our planet, which means that they have been thoroughly tested by a large number of outsiders who can affirm now that they know objectively that awareness can be educated and that indeed nothing else can compete for that place in education. Historically, it has not been necessary to provide the users of the practical solutions with a thorough examination of their theoretical basis. Still, many among those users requested at least some theoretical justification for what was put in their hands and was obviously doing the jobs of changing students into readers, writers, spellers, mathematicians, with ease and celerity.

Last Updated May 2019