A parable of misteaching.
Teacher: “Now Johnny, how many in your family?”
Johnny: “One, two.” (That’s Mum and Dad. I wonder if she means Gran and Pop too?)
Um, do you want me to count Gran and Pop? (They live with us at home.)
Teacher: No just your family, your parents and sisters and brothers!
Johnny: “Oh.” (But dad calls Uncle Benny Bro. and he sometimes come to stay, does this
mean he is a brother? I think she means just Mum’s children, which means I don’t count
Milly and Josie.) “Well that’s one two and …” (Now do I start with Paul the oldest brother,
after all he is older than Gertrude my oldest sister, or do I start with me? Come to think of it
do I give myself a number and if so which number?) “Hang on, ah … one two and ….”
(Now if I ask the teacher if I count Paul, or me, or Gertrude; the teacher will call me stupid;
I don’t know why, but that is what will happen.)
Teacher: “Come on what comes after two?”
Johnny: (Oh so they want to know about my, European style, brothers and sisters.) “Well
there is Mum and Dad and my sisters and brothers, so …”
Teacher: (I thought so, another typical case of primitive thinking, this child is unable to count
past two.) “Look Johnny tell me who is in your family at home.”
Johnny: (Ah, at last, this is easy.) “Well there’s Mum and Dad and Gran and Pop and Paul
and Gertrude and Me and Jenny and Kerry and little Bill.”
Teacher: (At last I have an opportunity to teach something.) “Right now leave out Gran and
Pop and tell me how many people there are?”
Johnny: (Ah, Oh, this sounds like a ‘take away’; I think I take two away from some number,
but I don’t know what.) “Um one, two and … (leave out Gran and Pop) Paul…” Grabs
two fingers and then one more. (This finger is for Paul, and I am holding one, two, three
Teacher: Hurry up!
Johnny: “Well I know it is more than two, hang on a bit.” Starts again. “One, two …
Teacher: “Look just tell me their names again.”
Johnny: ‘Mum and Dad and Gran and Pop and Paul and Gertrude and Me and Jenny and
Kerry and little Bill.”
Teacher: who has counted each name. “I told you to leave Gran and Pop out, so that is eight isn’t
Johnny: (Great the teacher has done it for me. You learn some thing odd from these
educated teachers every day. I can’t see what use it is knowing that your family has a
number ‘eight’; after all, if you only counted seven you wouldn’t know who is missing.)
Teacher: (He still doesn’t get it at all.) Now how many sisters do you have?
Johnny: (Is the teacher stupid or something? Haven’t I already told them about Gertrude,
Jenny and Kerry, twice?) “Um, I have already told you how many sisters I have.”
Teacher: “No you haven’t. Don’t get rude with me boy or I will punish you again.”
(Typical of these stupid people who I am supposed to teach.)
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