How old were Margie and Tommy ?
Margie was eleven and Tommy was thirteen.
What did Margie write in her diary ?
She wrote, “Today Tommy found a real book !”
Had Margie ever seen a book before ?
No, she had never seen a book before.
What things about the book did she find strange ?
The words in the book stood still. And the pages showed the same words when they were turned back.
What do you think a telebook is ?
A telebook is a book that can be read on the television screen.
Where was Margie’s school ? Did she have any classmates ?
It was right next to her bedroom. Margie didn’t have any classmate.
What subjects did Margie and Tommy learn ?
They learnt geography, history and arithmetic.
‘I wouldn’t throw it away.’
- Who says these words ?
- What does ‘it’ refer to ?
- What is it being compared with by the speaker ?
- Tommy says these words.
- ‘It’ refers to the television screen.
- It is being compared with a real book.
‘Sure they had a teacher, but it wasn’t a regular teacher. It was a man.’
- Who does ‘they’ refer to ?
- What does ‘regular’ mean here ?
- What is it contrasted with ?
- It refers to the people of many centuries ago.
- It means here usual.
- It is contrasted with a human teacher.
What kind of teachers did Margie and Tommy have ?
They didn’t have any men as their teachers. Their teachers were a kind of machine attached to their television screen. They called them mechanical teachers.
Why did Margie’s mother send for the County Inspector ?
Margie was not doing well in her geography tests. She was doing worse with each test. That was why her mother sent for the County Inspector.
What did the County Inspector do ?
How did the Country Inspector solve the problem ?
The County Inspector saw that the mechanical teacher was geared a little too quick for Margie. So he took it apart and slowed it up to an average ten-year level.
Why was Margie doing badly at geography ? What did the County Inspector do to help her ?
Margie’s mechanical teacher was geared a little too quick for her. The County Inspector slowed it up for Margie.
What had once happened to Tommy’s teacher ?
It had blanked out completely. To set it right, it had to be taken away for nearly a month.
Did Margie have regular days and hours for school ? If so, why ?
Yes, Margie had regular days and hours for school. Her mother thought that little girls learnt better that way.
How does Tommy describe the old kind of school ?
Tommy says that the old kind of school was a separate building away from one’s house. Children from all the neighbourhood went there to learn.
How does Tommy describe the old kind of teachers ?
Tommy says that the old kind of teachers were men. They didn’t live in the child’s house. They had a special building. All kids went there and learnt from them.
What are the main features of the mechanical teachers and the schoolrooms that Margie and Tommy have in the story ?
The mechanical teachers are very different from the teachers we have today. They are not men.
They are a sort of gadgets. They are attached to the television screen. Their speed can be
adjusted according to the age or mental level of the child. These teachers don’t have to go
to school to teach. They are kept at the child’s home. They flash their lessons on the
television screen and the child learns from them. They also give the child homework to do.
They check the child’s progress by giving them tests.
The schoolrooms in the story are also very different. They are not like the rooms in our schools. They are the rooms in the houses of different children. Each child has his own classroom in his house. The child keeps a mechanical teacher in his room and learns from it.
Why did Margie hate school ? Why did she think the old kind of schools must have been fun ?
Margie had always hated school. She found in it nothing to enjoy. But now she had begun to
hate school more than ever. Her mechanical teacher gave her test after test. But Margie
didn’t do well in these tests. In each test, she did worse and worse. Her mother was very
unhappy with her. That was why Margie hated school.
But she thought the old kind of schools were great fun. Children from the whole neighbourhood went there together. They played, laughed and shouted in the schoolyard. They sat together in the schoolroom. And at the end of the day, they went home together. They learnt the same things at school. Thus they could help each other on their homework. That was why Margie liked the old kind of schools. She thought they must have been places of great fun.
Do you agree with Margie that schools today are more fun than the school in the story ? Give reasons for your answer.
The school in the story is a dull place. The child finds nothing in it to enjoy. There is no
human touch in it. Everything is mechanical. The teacher here is not a man. It is a mere
gadget. It flashes lessons on the television screen. It gives the child homework. It gives
tests to mark the child’s progress. Thus there are no human feelings in the whole process.
The child remains all alone in his schoolroom. He has no companions to share his thoughts.
That is why Margie hates school.
But she likes the old kind of schools. In those schools, children from the whole neighbourhood played and learnt together. They laughed and shouted in the schoolyard. They sat together in the schoolroom. At the end of the day, they went home together. They learnt the same things at school. Thus they could help each other on the homework. I agree with Margie that schools today are more fun than the school in the story.
What did the County Inspector do to improve Margie’s performance in geography ?
The County Inspector took the mechanical teacher apart. He found that it was geared a little
He slowed it up to an average ten-year level. Thus it was set at a speed that Margie could cope with easily. There was nothing wrong with Margie’s progress. It was quite satisfactory. Only the mechanical teacher needed a little adjustment. And this is what the County Inspector did.