The Importance Of Tact

It goes without saying that children's personalities are not so uniform and

simple that we can adhere always to a single stereotyped procedure in working

our way into their good graces. Suggestions like the above have their value, but,

like rules of etiquette, they must be supported by the tact which comes of intuition

and cannot be taught. The address which flatters and pleases one child

may excite disgust in another. The examiner must scent the situation and

adapt his method to it. One child is timid and embarrassed; another may

think his mental powers are under suspicion and so react with sullen

obstinacy; a third may be in an angry mood as a result of a recent

playground quarrel. Situations like these are, of course, exceptional,

but in any case it is necessary to create in the child a certain mood,

or indefinable attitude of mind, before the test begins.