Monday, 16 November 2009

On Education

Schools Of Horror

Little Nephew visited at the weekend, looking for help with his electrical studies. I was able to supply a few aides-mémoires, happily (read: phew! dodged a bullet there), which I hope might help to see him through the forthcoming trials.

The biggest assignment problem involved reconstructing a circuit from a written description. Daunted by the unaccustomed length of text, he'd made no attempt at this. My response was to read the question to him, one short phrase at a time, sequentially and without alteration, while he sketched each step on his notepad. Result: one error, which I'd guess translates to a mark of six from a possible seven. Mission accomplished, eh? And lesson learned: there's no reason to be intimidated by the question!

But then he showed me the solution provided by his teacher. This contained two errors.

Four of us enjoyed a communal eyerolling. Eww, those teachers, what are they like?! No big deal, they're under a lot of workload and other stresses, anyone can make a mistake, blah, blah...

Then my thoughts backed up to Guy Fawkes Night, 240 hours earlier, when we had visited Little Other Nephew to join in some fireworks fun. During conversation, his mother related the following catalogue of horror! How many non-conformance instances can you find in this account?

The school janitor had asked him, and some other pupils, to move some bricks from A to B. The said bricks were insanely dirty. Teacher could think of no way to clean up the kids. Instead, got each pupil to write a note to the parents, apologising for state of child's clothes. Teacher then extended each such note, to confirm pupil was (obviously) to blame, for having obeyed janitor.

Answers? Actually, we haven't yet reached the full horror of the tale. In the latter section of the note, written by the teacher to confirm the child's guilt, we find this:

"They know they should of stopped..."

Sic, as they say, who value their gift of grammar.

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