Answer each of these questions in two or three paragraphs (100 − 150 words)
1. What are the main features of the mechanical teachers and the schoolrooms that Margie and Tommy have in the story?
2. Why did Margie hate school? Why did she think the old kind of school must have been fun?
3. Do you agree with Margie that schools today are more fun than the school in the story? Give reasons for your answer.
1. Margie and Tommy had mechanical teachers. These teachers were basically large black screens on which the lessons were shown and questions were asked. These teachers were adjusted according to the age and potential of the student concerned. They had a slot in which the students had to put their homework and test papers. The mechanical teacher immediately calculated the marks for the answers written in punch codes by the students. However, these teachers were prone to technical and mechanical failure and troubles.
Their schools were in their homes itself. In fact, Margie’s school was right next to her bedroom. Students did not have classmates. They had regular days and hours for school. The mechanical teacher always turned on at the same time every day except Saturdays and Sundays.
2. Margie hated school because it was not fun. She hated the large black screen and the way she had to insert the homework and test papers in the slot on the mechanical teacher. She disliked fact that she had to write her answers in a punch code. Besides, her hatred for school was amplified by her failure to fare well in the geography tests given by her mechanical teacher.
Margie imagined the old kind of school with kids from the entire neighbourhood coming together, laughing and shouting in the schoolyard. She imagined that they would sit together in the classroom and go home together at the end of the day. They would learn the same things and could help one another with the homework. Also, the teachers were people, making the learning process more interactive. All these aspects made her believe that the old kind of school must have been fun.
3. Yes, I agree that schools today are more fun than the school in the story. Studying and answering questions seems to be a boring idea without the presence of classmates. Writing homework in punch codes and that too without anybody’s help would be draining. Children develop a better understanding about each other and their surroundings when they go to a school and interact with others.
Human teachers are people are more understanding and accommodating than mechanical ones that are programmed to teach in a specific way. The excitement in waiting for the marks scored in exams is greater when one is sitting in a classroom with fellow students. It does not have the same effect when marks are calculated immediately after a test has been taken. Therefore, schools today are more fun than the school in the story as they are more interactive and promote a healthier way of learning.