A Different Kind of School- By E.V. Lucas

Important Points

  • The author, E V Lucas, visited the school of Miss Beam one day to learn more about the method of teaching-learning that was followed there.
  • In the school, the students are taught simple spelling, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and writing. The rest is done by reading to them and by interesting interactions.
  • Each term every child has a blind day, a lame day, a wounded day, and a dumb day. This is to make them appreciate and understand their misfortune.

Summary of A Different Kind of School

This is the story of a school where the children were taught to sympathize with and help each other. The writer had heard a lot about Miss Beam’s School. They said that she was using new methods of teaching to make the children better citizens. The writer wanted to see it all himself. So he had gone to visit Miss Beam’s School. As the author entered the school, he saw a girl whose eyes were covered with a bandage. She was being led carefully between the flower-beds by a little boy.

The author came to Miss Beam who told him that her teaching methods were simple. There was only one thing, though, that was different. “The real aim of this school,” she said, “is not to teach thought as thoughtfulness and kindness to others.” The author looked out of the window, and he had a little pain. He saw that though there were so many happy children in the open field, not all of them looked so healthy and active. He saw two more girls bandaged by their eyes. Then there was a third with a crutch watching others play. The author was astonished that Miss Beam had told him that the girl with the crutches was not lame. Again, girls with blindfolded eyes had no trouble in their eyes. That was an important part of their system of teaching.

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In order to make children appreciate and understand misfortune, the school has made them share in misfortune. The children are bandaged or made lame, so they can understand what this misfortune really is. Then others are told to help them so that they can learn to help those who are in misfortune. Every term every child had a blind day, a lame day, a deaf day, a wounded day, and a stupid day. This was the ‘game’ every child had to play at school.

Miss Beam led the author to a bandaged girl and left him with her for a while. The author found that the girl appreciated the help she received from others but was determined to be a better helper if she had a chance to do so. She told the writer that it was the most difficult blind day. It was because the movement became difficult. The blind were always worried that they would get hurt. They’re going to avoid things that weren’t there. The author led the girl on a short walk. After that short walk, he discovered that he had already become ten times more thoughtful than before. He also had the pleasure of describing things and people. By doing so himself, these things had become more interesting to him.

Word Meaning

In sight – to be seen

Kindly – friendly

Plump – stout, pleasantly fat

Responsible – aware of their duties

At play – playing

Hopeless – unfortunate, without hope

Misfortune – unfortunate conditions, bad luck

Are on their honour – have promised

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Misery – difficulty, unpleasantness

Thoughtless – careless

Awful – bad

Troublesome – difficult

Gradually – slowly

Important Questions

Q. Why do you think the writer visited Miss Beam’s School?

Ans: The writer visited Miss Beam’s school because he had heard a lot about it. The ‘game’ that every child in school had to play was that every term every child had a blind day, a lame day, a deaf day, a injured day, and a dumb day. This has been done to make children appreciate and understand the misfortune of others.

Q. How was Miss Beam’s school was different?
Ans: Miss Beam’s school was very different from others. The children were taught how to spell words, do sums and write. But the real aim of the school was to teach thoughtfulness to make children sensitive and good citizens, kind and responsible.

Q. Which day was the hardest? Why was the hardest?
Ans:The dumb day was the hardest. This was because the children’s mouths could not be bandaged, so they really had to exercise their will power to remain silent. But the bandaged girl said that being blind was so frightening.

Q. What was the game that every child has to play?
Ans: The ‘game’ that every child in the school had to play was that each term every child had one blind day, one lame day, one deaf day, one injured day, and one dumb day. This was done to make the children appreciate and understand misfortune.

Q. What was the purpose of these special days in the lesson a different kind of school?
Ans: The purpose of these special days was to teach the children thoughtfulness – kindness to others, and how to be responsible citizens. These days make the children appreciate and understand misfortune by making them share in the misfortune of others.

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Q. Why Mrs Beam’s school was one of its kind?
Ans: The real aim of Miss Beam’s school was not to teach so many subjects to make them thoughtful. They were trained to be kind to others and become responsible citizens. The school aimed at teaching ‘thoughtfulness’.

Q. Why did the bandaged girl feel that it was awful to be blind?
Ans:This was because the children’s mouths could not be bandaged, so they really had to exercise their willpower to remain silent. But the bandaged girl said that being blind was very frightening. Since you can’t see anything you feel like you are going to be hit by something every moment.

Q. What is the moral of the story a different kind of school?
Ans: “A different kind of school” teaches us that if we want someone to be fully educated, we will also have to teach them how to respect others, help physically disabled people. In this story, there’s a school where people are made blind, deaf etc for a day and other people have to help them.

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