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The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 7
Helen began to learn things by the play method and Miss Sullivan conducted all the lessons amidst nature where she could pick up concepts of geography, botany and zoology by touching real objects.
In this chapter, Helen describes how she learnt to read with the help of real objects through play. Miss Sullivan proved to be an exceptionally gifted teacher, holding most classes out of doors and making use of games to teach her. For Helen, learning was more like play than work. Helen enjoyed learning about the things around her and spent several happy hours in the orchard.
Miss Sullivan used all her ingenuity and resourcefulness to teach her during their walks to Keller’s Landing, making geography lessons come alive through three-dimensional models which she made on the river bed. She made use of stories and poems to teach Helen.
Helen learnt science through fossils, the lily plant and tadpoles. Helen also talks of her difficulties in learning arithmetic. Different aspects of nature became a part of Helen’s learning. Education thus became Helen’s one of most precious memories. Miss Sullivan became an inseparable part of Helen’s life.
The Story of My Life Summary Chapter 7 Questions and Answers
How did Helen learn to read?
Helen learnt to read with the help of slips of cardboard with words printed in raised letters. She learnt that each word represented an object, an act or a quality and she arranged these words to form sentences in a frame. She moved on to the printed book in which she felt for the words she knew, learning to read in the process.
Why did Helen stand in the wardrobe?
When Helen realised that each word represented an object or an act, she started placing words on all objects and then arranging them to form sentences. One day, she pinned the word girl on her dress and stood in the wardrobe, while on the shelf she arranged the words ‘is’, ‘in’ and ‘wardrobe’, thus making the sentence, ‘the girl is in the wardrobe’.
How do we know that Miss Sullivan was an exceptionally gifted teacher?
Miss Sullivan proved to be a gifted teacher and found innovative methods of teaching Helen. Everything she taught was illustrated by a story or a poem. She would take an interest in whatever interested Helen.
Her method made grammar, mathematics and definitions interesting. She never nagged Helen and tried to make every subject as real as possible. She took Helen out of doors and taught her about the things around her by making her touch and feel them. Helen writes to support this view, “any teacher can take a child to a classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn.”
How did Helen learn geographical facts?
Miss Sullivan taught Helen geography by building islands, lakes and dams made of pebbles. She talked to Helen about volcanoes, the shape of the world, glaciers and so on. She made raised maps in clay so that Helen could feel the mountain ridges, valleys and the course of rivers. She used innovative techniques to teach her about the time and temperature zones.
How did the collection of fossils become meaningful to Helen?
Miss Sullivan used the fossils to teach Helen about pre-historic animals and plants that had existed on the planet in the past.
What did Helen learn from the lily plant?
Helen learnt her first lessons in Botany from the lily plant. She realised the process of budding and that the whole process followed an order and a system.
“He had made his leap, he had seen the great world and was content to stay in his pretty glass house.” Who and what is Helen talking about?
Helen observed that one of the 11 tadpoles kept in a glass globe, leap out and land on the floor, where Helen found him more dead than alive. The moment she put him back he revived and started swimming as vigorously as the rest of the tadpoles.