Thinking about the Text (Page 10)
I. Answer these questions in a few words or a couple of sentences each.
Question 1 : How old are Margie and Tommy?
Answer : Margie is eleven and Tommy is thirteen years old.
Question 2 : What did Margie write in her diary?
Answer : Margie entered in her diary, “Today Tommy found a real book!”
Question 3 : Had Margie even seen a book before?
Answer : No, Margie had never seen a book before.
Question 4 : What things about the book did Margie find strange?
Answer : Margie found many things strange about the book. The pages were yellow and crinkly. The words were stationary and didn’t move. Also, when one read it the second time, everything was the same as earlier.
Question 5 : What do you think a telebook is?
Answer : A telebook is a virtual book that can be read on a screen. One doesn’t have to turn pages because the words themselves move across the screen.
Question 6 : Where was Margie’s school? Did she have any classmates?
Answer : Margie’s school was next to her bedroom. No, she didn’t have any classmates.
Question 7 : What subjects did Margie and Tommy learn?
Answer : They learnt History, Geography and Mathematics in their school.
II. Answer the following with reference to the story.
Question 1 : “I wouldn’t throw it away”.
i) Who says these words?
ii) What does ‘it’ refer to?
iii) Who has found out ‘it’?
iv) What is it being compared with by the speaker?
Answer : i) These words are said by Tommy.
ii) ‘It’refers to a real book.
iii) Tommy has found out this book.
iv) The book has been compared with telebooks.
Question 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?
iv) Who is the speaker here?
Answer : i) ‘They’ refers to forefathers of Tommy’s grandfather.
ii) It refers to the mechanical teaches that Tommy and Margie have.
iii) The man teacher of earlier times is being contrasted with a mechanical teacher.
iv) The speaker here is Tommy.
III. Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (about 300 words).
Question 1 : What kind of teachers did Margie and Tommy have?
Answer : Margie and Tommy had mechanical teachers in the form of a computer. The teacher had a big black screen on which all the lessons were flashed and the questions were asked. The ‘teacher’ also had a slot where students had to put their homework and test papers. Saturday and Sunday were the days when the teacher didn’t appear.
Question 2 : Why did Margie’s mother send for the County Inspector?
Answer : The mechanical teacher had been giving Margie test after test in geography and she had been doing worse and worse which was because the geography sector was geared up a bit high. Her mother suspected that there was something wrong with Margie and to resolve the problem the County Inspector was sent for.
Question 3 : What did he do?
Answer : When Margie’s mother called for the County Inspector, he took the mechanical teacher apart, slowed up the geography section, as it was adjusted to be too quick and then assembled the teacher back again. He adjusted it as per the level of a ten year old student.
Question 4 : Why was Margie doing badly in geography? What did the County Inspector do to help her?
Answer : The geography sector was geared up and it was required that the geography sector of the mechanical teacher was somehow to be adjusted to a level so that Margie perform better. The County Inspector slowed it up to an average ten-year level to help her.
Question 5 : What had once happened to Tommy’s teacher?
Answer : Since, the teacher was mechanical and it might get disordered. Tommy’s teacher was taken away once for nearly a month because the history sector of his mechanical teacher had blanked out completely. In order to repair it, the teacher was taken away.
Question 6 : Did Margie have regular days and hours for school? If so, why?
Answer : Yes, Margie certainly had regular days and hours for school. Margie had to attend her school at the same time everyday except for Saturday and Sunday. Her mother ensured this because little girls learned better if they learned at regular hours.
Question 7 : How does Tommy describe the old kind of school?
Answer : Tommy said that the old kind of school existed centuries ago. Instead of a mechanical teacher, the teacher used to be a ‘man’. All the students went to a special building where they all learned the same thing according to their respective ages.
Question 8 : How does Tommy describe the old kind of teachers?
Answer : Tommy said that the old kind of teacher was a ‘man’ who taught in a special building where all the kids went together. The man told the kids things, gave them homework and asked them questions. The man too frequent tests to find out how much the students have understood.
IV. Answer each of these questions in two or three paragraphs (100-150 words).
Question 1 : What are the main features of the mechanical teachers and the schoolrooms that Margie and Tommy have in the story?
Answer : The given story is set in the frame of future when robotics and mechanics will play the most important role in every domain be it education, commerce or science. In other words, we can say that science will rule the world and we will yield to it. In the same futuristic way, Margie and Tommy had mechanical teachers for them. The mechanical teacher was a computer screen on which lessons were shown, questions asked and tests given. The students had to put answers to their tests and their homework in a slot. The mechanical teacher took almost no time in calculating their marks. Every mechanical teacher was adjusted according to the level of the student.
The mechanical teacher lived in the house of the student and started flashing everyday at a certain time except on Saturday and Sunday. It never fell ill, never forgot to assign homework, never forgot to conduct tests and never forgot to ask questions while teaching the students.
Obviously, when there is no human teacher there then the chances of falling ill get reduced because a mechanical teacher is not prone to the sickness except a few fits of mechanical disorder.
Question 2 : Why did Margie hate school? Why did she think the old kind of school must have been fun?
Answer : The school of Margie was right next to her bedroom. It wasn’t fun at all. She had no classmates and her teacher was mechanical. Lately, she had started to hate her school more, as her mechanical teacher had been giving her test after test in geography and she had been doing it badly. She hated it so much that she hoped that the county Inspector wouldn’t be able to put her teacher back together.
She was anticipating that her mechanical teacher would be taken away just like Tommy’s. But, as there was no such issues with her mechanical teacher, it was put in order very soon.
She thought that the old schools must have been fun because all the kids from the whole neighbourhood came laughing and shouting in the school yard, sitting together in the schoolroom and going home together at the end of the day. They learned the same things, so they could help one another with the homework and talk about it. Moreover, the teachers were humans.
A human teacher must have the sentiments and consideration for the students. He would be able to guide them as per their inclination and the choice which the mechanical teacher lacks. Hence, she had the thought that the old kind of schools must have been fun.
Question 3 : Do you agree with Margie that schools today are more fun than the school in the story? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer : I totally agree with Margie that schools today are more fun than the school in the story. In the story, Margie had a school in her house. Her teacher was mechanical and she had no classmates. Once can imagine what a boring and dull school she was having. Whenever we hear the word school, images of children having fun start running through our minds. This wasn’t the case with Margie.
She could neither play with her friends in the school playground, nor could they all come home together, nor could she think of helping other kids with the homework. Moroever, the mechanical teacher gave test after test even if one wasn’t performing well without understanding the student’s level of understanding.
While, the old kind of schools had a human teacher to teach the children. There used to a special building where all the children of the neighbourhood came. They had their interactions. They befriended one another. It was a lot of fun to be among the students of same age group. So, the two different schools have lot of differences and there used to be different things in the two schools.
Thinking about Language (Page 11)
Read this sentence taken from the story:
They had once taken Tommy’s teacher away for nearly a month because the history sector had blanked out completely.
The word complete is an adjective. When you add-ly to it, it becomes an adverb.
Question 1 : Find the sentence in the lesson which have the adverbs given in the box below.
Answer : The sentences in the lesson which have the adverbs are:
Awfully : They turned the pages, which were yellow and crinkly, and it was awfully funny to read words that stood still instead of moving the way they were supposed to – on a screen ,you know.
Sorrowfully : The mechanical teacher had been giving her tests after test in geography and she had been doing worse and worse until her mother had shaken her head sorrowfully and sent for the County Inspector.
Completely : They had once taken Tommy’s teacher away for nearly a month because the history sector had blanked out completely.
Loftily and Carefully : He added loftily, pronouncing the word carefully, “Centuries ago.”
Differently : “But , mother says a teacher has to be adjusted to fit the mind of each boy and girl it teaches and that each kid has to be taught differently.”
Quickly : “I didn’t say I didn’t like it,” Margie said quickly.
Nonchalantly : “May be,” he said nonchalantly.
Question 2 : Now use these adverbs to fill in the blanks in the sentences below.
i) The report must be read …….so that performance can be improved.
ii) At the interview, Sameer answered our questions……….., shrugging his shoulders.
iii) We all behave……when we are tired or hungy.
iv) The teacher shook her head …….when Ravi lied to her.
v) I forgot about it………….
vi) When I complimented Revathi on her success, she just smiled…………… and turned away.
vii) The President of the company is …………busy and will not be able to meet you.
viii) I finished my work so that I could go out to play.
Answer : i) carefully
Question 3 : Make adverbs from these adjectives.
Answer : i) Angrily
Writing (Page 12)
A new revised volume of Issac Asimov’s short stories has just been released. Order one set. Write a letter to the publisher, Mindfame Private Limited, 1632 Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi, requesting that a set be sent to you by Value Payable Post (VPP), giving your address. Your letter will have the following parts.
- Addresses of the sender and receiver
- The salutation
- The body of the letter
- The closing phrases and signature
RK Puram, Sector 12
New Delhi – 110024
4th April, 20xx
Mindfame Private Limited
1632, Asaf Ali Road
New Delhi – 110002
I have come to know that you have just released a new revised volume of Issac Asimov’s short stories. I am a big fan of his writing style and the revised volume is really hard to find. Therefore, I would like to place an order for one set of the same. Kindly, send it to the above given address by Value Payable Post (VPP) after deducting the ongoing discount.
Thanking you in advance.