Friday, July 10, 2009

Art of Teaching




Part 1: Donkey Language

Before I begin to pontificate on the Art of Teaching here is an apocryphal story:

A wise man, a renowned teacher, once publicly vowed that he would eradicate illiteracy and teach everyone to read.

Some mischievous boys brought a donkey to the teacher and asked him if he could teach the donkey to read.

The wise teacher stunned the students by taking up the challenge and said, “Give me the donkey for a month and I will teach it to read.”

The teacher went home and began to train his donkey to read. At first he put the donkey into the stable and gave him no food for some days. Then he found a thick book and put some hay between the pages. In the beginning the teacher turned the pages and gave the donkey the hay between the pages.

After a while the donkey learnt to turn the pages with his tongue to find and eat the feed by itself. Each time when the donkey finished the book and found no more feed between the pages it would bray: “Eee aah, Eee aah!”

Three days before the one month period was over the teacher stopped feeding the donkey till the poor donkey after fasting for three days without a morsel of food was voraciously hungry.

On the fateful day when the whole school assembled to see the miracle of the donkey reading, the wise teacher brought the ravenously hungry donkey onto the stage. He asked for a big book and put it in front of the donkey.

The hungry donkey turned the first page of the book with its tongue and when it could not find any feed the donkey brayed: “Eee aah, Eee aah!” and turned one more page, and again not finding any hay it cried: “Eee aah, Eee aah!”

The famished donkey kept turning the pages of the book one by one with its tongue and when it could not find any feed between the pages its braying grew louder and louder and soon the hapless donkey was turning the pages and shrieking in a loud voice: “Eee aah, Eee aah!” till it reached a crescendo.

Proud of his achievement the wise teacher said to the gathering: “You all have seen that the donkey has turned the pages of the book and he read it.”

One of the naughty students asked: “But we could not understand anything.”

The wise teacher replied: “Of course you could not understand what the donkey read because it was donkey language. In order to understand it you have to learn donkey language. Come to me for tuition in the evening. I will teach you donkey language.”

[To be continued…]


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work

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