Is it possible that Itard's experiment was worthwhile? 

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Itard’s experiment was worthwhile because some progress was made with Victor the wild boy. Through Itard’s efforts the boy was able to speak, albeit only a few words, and display some social connections with people. The boy, having lived in the wild for most of his early years, was unable to develop basic human attributes. Early interactions with researchers led to the conclusion that the boy was an idiot and ineducable. However, Itard decided to face the challenge of ushering the boy back to human civilization and society. He was a supporter of the “empty slate” school of thought and asserted that human beings were different because of language. He thus sought to teach the boy human language in an attempt to restore his humanity. However, the boy was unable to learn much because of the conflict in how he naturally employed his senses in the wild and what was expected when learning human language. According to Lane, Itard’s experiments formed the basis of development in the education arena especially among people who are considered physically or mentally handicapped. His experiments proved that appropriate training techniques should be applied to this special group to facilitate their learning progress.

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