I. Answer these questions in a few words or a couple of sentences each.
- How old are Margie and Tommy?
Margie and Tommy learnt geography, history and arithmetic.
2. What did Margie write in her diary?
(i) They refers to the students who studied in the old kind of schools centuries before the time the story is set in.
(ii) Here, ‘regular’ refers to the mechanical teachers that Tommy and Margie had.
(iii) The mechanical teacher is contrasted with the teacher of the earlier times, who was a human being.
3. Had Margie ever seen a book before?
Yes, schools today are more fun than the school in the story. In the story, there is no interaction among students regarding studies. Studying and answering questions seems to be a boring idea. Doing homework without anybody’s help and writing them in a punch code would also be draining. Moreover, children develop a better understanding about each other and of their surroundings when they go to a school and interact with each other. It is a healthier way of learning.
Listening to teachers explaining lessons is always more interesting than reading the entire lesson on a mechanical computer. Also, if any student faces any problem with the subject or in homework, he can discuss it with the teacher and other kids. It is impossible to discuss problems and situations with a mechanical teacher that is only programmed to teach in a particular manner.
The excitement of waiting to know the marks scored in exams is greater when one is sitting in a classroom with other students. It does not have the same effect when the marks are calculated immediately after a test has been taken.Finally, the friends that you make at school are most probably the best friends that you will ever make in your entire life.
The various qualities that you learn in school like obedience, respect, kindness for others, sharing , taking part in school games, sports and other activities are all a part of school education today. Therefore, schools today are more fun than the school in the story as they are more interactive. They promote a healthy environment for the students to study and learn.
4. What things about the book did she find strange?
Margie and Tommy had mechanical teachers. They were large and black and ugly and had large black screens on which all the lessons were shown and questions were asked. These mechanical teachers had a slot in which the students had to put their homework and test papers. They had to write their answers in a punch code and the mechanical teacher calculated the marks immediately.
5. What do you think a telebook is ?
Margie had been given many tests in geography by the mechanical teacher but there was no improvement in her performance .It only kept getting worse. It is for this reason that Margie’s mother sent for the County Inspector to find out why this was happening.
6. Where was Margie’s school? Did she have any classmates?
The County Inspector gave Margie an apple and started working on the mechanical teacher. He took it apart and then checked it. Margie had hoped that the Inspector would not know how to put the mechanical teacher together again, but he managed to reassemble it. He slowed down the geography sector of the teacher because it was geared a little too quick for an average ten year old.
7. What subjects did Margie and Tommy learn?
Margie was doing badly in geography because the geography sector of the mechanical teacher had been adjusted at a higher level. The County Inspector rightly told her that she could not be blamed for her poor performance. The County Inspector slowed down the geography sector of the mechanical teacher to an average ten-year level. He also told Mrs. Jones that Margie’s overall progress pattern was satisfactory.
II. Answer the following with reference to the story.
1. “I wouldn’t throw it away.”
(i) Who says these words?
Yes, Margie had regular days and hours for school.
(ii) What does ‘it’ refer to?
The mechanical teacher always turned on at the same time every day except Saturdays and Sundays.
(iii) What is it being compared with by the speaker?
Margie had regular days and hours for school because her mother said that little girls learned better when they learned at regular hours.
2. Sure they had a teacher, but it wasn’t a regular teacher. It was a man.”
(i) Who does ‘they’ refer to?
(ii) What does ‘regular’ mean here?
(iii) What is it contrasted with?
Once, Tommy’s teacher had to be taken away for nearly a month because its history sector had blanked out completely.
III. Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (about 30 words).
- What kind of teachers did Margie and Tommy have?
Tommy says that the old kind of school existed centuries ago. They had a teacher, who was a man. This teacher taught in a special building where all the kids assembled and learned the same things according to their respective ages.
2. Why did Margie’s mother send for the County Inspector?
He says that the teacher in old times was a man, who taught the students inside a special building. He gave them homework and asked them questions. When Margie said that a man was not smart enough to be a teacher, he contradicted her by saying that his father knew as much as his mechanical teacher.
3. What did he do?
Margie and Tommy had mechanical teachers. They had large black screens on which all the lessons were shown and questions were asked. They had a slot in which students had to put their homework and test papers. They had to write their answers in a punch code and the mechanical teacher calculated the marks immediately. Their schools were in their homes itself. They did not have any classmates. They learnt geography, history and arithmetic. They had regular days and hours for school. Margie’s school was right next to her bedroom. The mechanical teacher always turned on at the same time every day except Saturdays and Sundays because her mother said that little girls learned better when they learned at regular hours.
4. Why was Margie doing badly in geography? What did the County Inspector
do to help her?
Margie hated school because it was not fun. She had been doing badly in the geography tests that her mechanical teacher had been giving her. When her mother sends for the County Inspector, she hopes that the inspector would take the mechanical teacher away.
She is disappointed when the County Inspector manages to assemble all the parts of the mechanical teacher. The part that she hated the most was inserting the homework and test papers in the slot on the mechanical teacher. She did not like the fact that she had to write her answers in a punch code.
She thought that the old kind of school must have been fun as she imagined all the 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 and talk about it. Also, the teachers were people. All these aspects made her believe that the old kind of school must have been fun.
5. What had once happened to Tommy’s teacher?
Margie’s school was in her home itself. In fact, it was next to her bedroom. There was a mechanical teacher that was large and black and ugly and on whose screen lessons and questions appeared.
She had to put her homework and test papers in a particular slot and write the answers in a punch code. The mechanical teacher took no time to calculate her marks.She did not have any classmates.
6. Did Margie have regular days and hours for school? If so, why?
No, Margie had never seen a book before.
7. How does Tommy describe the old kind of school?
The book was real and the stories were printed on paper that was yellow and crinkly. On turning the pages of the book, she found it awfully funny to read words that stood still instead of moving the way they were supposed to on a screen.
When they turned back to the previous page, it had the same words on it which it had when they read it the first time. She also found it strange that the book was written about schools as she hated school.
8. How does he describe the old kind of teachers?
A telebook is a book that could be read on screen. Words move on the screen for the students to read. All the lessons appear on the big screen and are followed by questions from the book.
IV. 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?
Margie was eleven years old while Tommy was thirteen.
2. Why did Margie hate school? Why did she think the old kind of school must
have been fun?
(i) Tommy said these words.
(ii) ‘It’ refers to the television screen, on which you could read over a million books
(iii) Tommy is comparing the television screen to the real books in earlier times in which words were printed on paper. He thought that after reading such books, one would have to throw them away. However, he would never have to throw away his telebooks.
3. Do you agree with Margie that schools today are more fun than the school in
the story? Give reasons for your answer.
Margie wrote in her diary, “Today Tommy found a real book.”