Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) What was the ‘Weekly Review’ scheme?
Answer : The ‘Weely Review’ scheme was introduced by Mr Florian. Each child would review the events of his school week in his own words, in his own way. He was free to comment, to criticise, to agree or disagree, with any person , subject or method, as long as it was in some way associated with the school. There was also no fear of the consequences.
(ii) How did the ‘Weekly Review’ benefit both pupil and teacher?
Answer : Mr Florian felt that it was of advantage to both pupil and teacher. The students benefitted as it improved their written English in terms of spelling, construction and style. As for the teachers, they soon got a pretty good idea what the children thought of them and whether or not they were getting close to him. They could also assess how well their lessons fared.
(iii) Why did the narrator try hard to be a successful teacher?
Answer : Braithwaite found out that he found little space in his students’ thoughts. It occurred to him that they thought of him as another teacher that would come and go. He thought that if he had made so little impression on them, it must be his own fault. So he decided to try harder to be a successful teacher.
(iv) What did the narrator do in order to make the grade? Why?
Answer : The narrator bought and read books on the psychology of teaching. He did so in an effort to discover some way of providing the children with the sort of intellectual challenge to which they would respond. But he realised that the suggested methods somehow did not meet his particular need and just did not work.
(iv) What was the result of his hard work?
Answer : Reading books on psychology was not of much help in the situation that Braithwaite was. The suggested methods did not meet his particular need and just did not work. It was as if he was trying to reach the children through a thick pane of glass. The children seemed so remote and uninterested that his efforts failed altogether.
Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) What method did the narrator adopt in order to invoke student participation?
Answer : The narrator took great pains with the planning of his lessons. He used illustrations from the familiar things of their own background. He created varying problems within the domestic framework and tried to encourage the student’s participation. Arithmetic for example was related to the kinds of problems which would occupy them and their parents within the domestic framework.
(ii) What did the students do to destroy the continuity of the narrator’s planned lesson?
Answer : During a lesson, especially one in which it was necessary for the narrator to read or speak to the students, someone would lift the lid of a desk and then let it fall with a loud bang. The culprit would merely sit and look with wide innocent eyes as if it was an accident. It was usually enough to destroy the planned continuity of the lesson bringing the reading to an abrupt halt.
(iii) How did the students start to remark to each other in the classroom?
Answer : It started when a girl, Monica Page, letting the top of her desk fall down and saying the “bleeding thing won’t stay up”. It was a rather deliberate and crude remark. From then the students started using words like ‘bloody’ and ‘bleeding’ openly in the class. They would all out to each other an any silly pretext and refer to the ‘bleeding’ this or that, and always in a voice loud enough for the narrator’s ears.
(iv) How did the narrator react to Jane Purcell’s use of bad language in the class?
Answer : One day, Jane Purcell also used bad language and Braithwaite was infuriated. However, he kept his voice calm and cutting with repressed anger and asked her if she used such words when she spoke to her father. She replied in a vicious voice that he was not her ‘bleeding’ father.
(v) What was the reaction of the students regarding Jane Purcell’s answer to the narrator? How did they perceive the narrator’s remark?
Answer : Braithwaite could hear the students congratulating Jane Purcell during the recess. Some of them loudly protested against his questions. They considered it ‘bloody cheek’ and expressed in clear Anglo-Saxon words what their replies would have been if Braithwaite had dared to make any comment about their parents. Somehow his attempts to correct the girl’s language had been translated into a vicious attack on her parents.
Question 3 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) What was the cause of the narrator’s anger?
Answer : When the narrator returned from the staffroom, he found the classroom smoky from an object that was burning in the fireplace. He was horrified to find that it was a used sanitary napkin. He was overcome with anger and disgust and lost his temper.
(ii) How did the narrator react in anger?
Answer : The narrator completely lost his temper and ordered the boys out of the class. Then he gave a hard talk down to the girls. He told them how sick he was by their general conduct, crude language, sluttish behaviour and their free and easy familiarity with the boys. He was so harsh that none of the girls dared to speak a word.
(iii) How did the narrator explain the disgusting conduct of the girls to themselves?
Answer : The narrator said that there are certain things which decent women should keep private at all times. He said that he thought that their mother or elder sister should have explained such things to them. However, it was evident that they have failed in that very obvious duty. He then added that only a filthy slut would have dared to do this thing and those who stood by and encouraged her were just as bad.
(iv) What was the reaction of the girls regarding the narrator’s behaviour with them?
Answer : None of the girls dared to speak a word in front of the narrator. They simply stood there and took his behaviour. They were slammed of their own behaviour. They accepted his harsh words against them as they knew that they were wrong and had committed a serious and shameful mistake.
(v) Where did the narrator go after scolding the girls? What change did he observe after coming back in the classroom?
Answer : The narrator told them to clean the mess at once and went to the library. When he entered the classroom, the fireplace was washed clean, the windows were open and the children were sitting quietly in their places. The girls were ashamed and refused to meet his glance. On the other hand, the boys were watching him expectantly as if waiting for him to say or do something.
However, Braithwaite did not say anything about the incident.
Question 1 : ‘Look back, I realised that in fact I passed through three phases in my relationship with them.’ Comment.
Answer : Braithwaite recalls that there were three phases of his relationship with his students. First came the ‘silent’ treatment phase. During that time, the students did what they were asked to do without question or protest, but they were devoid of any interest or enthusiasm. Their silence made him nervous and irritable. He took great pains with the planning of his lessons, using illustrations from the familiar things of their own backgrounds.
Arithmetic was related to the kinds of problems which would conceivably occupy them and their parents within the domestic scene. He created varying problems within the domestic framework, and tried to encourage their participation. But he felt that there was a conspiracy of disinterest against him.
Gradually the students moved to the second and more annoying phase, the ‘noisy’ treatment. Whenever there was a lesson which required Braithwaite to read to them or speak to them someone would lift the lid of the desk and then let it fall, giving out a loud bang. The culprit would behave as it it was a mistake or an accident. Such mischief destroyed the continuity of the lesson by bringing the reading to an abrupt halt.
Braithwaite then had to resort to some form of written work. However they could not write and banged their desks at the same time. Braithwaite also knew that it could not go for long as most of the teaching was done verbally. Braithwaite was angry and frustrated at their failure to realise that it was for their own benefit. He kept his problems to himself. He also tried to learn more about his student’s background but it made their conduct no more bearable.
Then came the ‘bawdy’ stage. It started when a girl, Monica Page, let the top of her desk fall down and said that the ‘bleeding’ thing would not stay up. From then on the words ‘bloody’ or ‘bleeding’ were hardly ever absent from any remark they made to one another, especially in the classroom. One day, Jane Purcell also used such language and Braithwaite was infuriated. He asked he if she used such words when she spoke to her father. She replied that he was not her ‘bleeding’ father. Braithwaite could hear the students during the recess congratulating her for giving back an answer. Somehow his attempts to correct the girl’s language had been translated into a vicious and unwarranted attack on her parents.
After this incident, things became slightly worse than before. Now it was not just their language that disturbed Braithwaite. He noticed that the students were overtly involved in displaying their affection and fondling with each other.