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Aufgabenblock I

Aufgaben
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1.
Describe what happens to Brian that day at school.
2.
Compare the different ways in which the two teachers deal with Brian and examine how the author presents them.
3.
Choose one of the following tasks:
3.1
"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards."
(Anatole France, French poet, journalist and novelist, 1844 - 1924)
Discuss this statement.
$ \quad \quad \;$ OR
3.2
"Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty."
(Norman Douglas, Scottish writer, 1868 - 1952)
Discuss this statement.
Text 1
$\;$
W.O. Mitchell: Who has seen the wind
It's Brian's first day at school, a day that he has long awaited. He is old enough now and wants to find out all aboout things. His friend Artie Sherry is already in grade three, but they will be in the same classroom with the same teacher, Miss MacDonald.
5
The first excitement over, Brian began to find school a rather disappointing affair. Forbsie sat across from him, Artie two rows over. He would go over and see Artie for a while, Brian decided; he got up and started down the aisle. Miss MacDonald, at the board, turned and saw him. "Sit down, Brian."
"I'm just going over to see Artie."
10
"You'll have to sit down." She turned back to the board.
Brian continued on his journey to Artie. She wasn't his mother; he wasn't hurting anything; he wasn't doing anything wrong.
"I said to sit down!"
He stopped at the end of the aisle. "I just want to see Artie for a minute."
15
"You must put up your hand if you want something, Then I'll give you permission to see Artie." He stood watching her.
"Sit down in your seat."
He continued to stand. Miss MacDonald's thin face reddened slightly. She bit her lip. "Sit down!"
20
Brian stood. Utter classroom quit had descended. Outside the window a meadow lark went up his bright scale with a one-two-three-and-here-I-go. Miss MacDonald began to walk down the aisle in which Brian was standing. He reached into his hip pocket and felt the comfort of the water pistol there. Miss MacDonald stopped three seats ahead of him. "Will you sit down!" Wordlessly he drew the pistol out, being careful not to squeeze the butt. He held it behind his
25
back. Miss MacDonald reached out her hand to guide him back to his seat. It paused in mid-air as Brian brought the water pistol to view. One clear drop of water hung from the end pointing at Miss MacDonald midriff. Her mouth flew open. She stared at the pistol and at the slight drip of water from the small hand holding it.
"I filled it," Brian assured her, "out of the fountain."
30
Her face flamed. "Give me that pistol!"
He made no move to hand it to her.
Her hand darted out to the water pistol. Startled, Brian squeezed. The pistol squirted. Miss MacDonald, with her dripping hand, jerked the pistol from his grasp. She propelled him from the room.
35
As he walked ahead of her to the end of the hall where the Principal's office was, Brian's heart pounded; he was in for it. The front of her dress dripping, Miss MacDonald knocked on the Principal's door. It opened, and Mr. Digby, tall and sandy-haired, a questioning look upon his rough face, stood there.
With emotion poorly concealed, Miss MacDonald told him what had happened, the indignant
40
spray of saliva from her thin lips unheeded, the corners of her mouth quivering.
When she had finished, Digby said: - "You'd better let your classes go. Miss Spencer has hers. I'll attend to Brian."
The door closed on Miss MacDonald's outraged back.
Mr. Digby walked to the desk, sat down; he leaned forward with his elbows on the top.
45
"Well, Brian?"
The boy stared at him.
"Little trouble?"
With his dark gaze deliberately unflinching, Brian continued to stare.
Mr Digby's long fingers began to drum the desk top. He leaned back in the chair; the fingers
50
drummed on. He cleared his throat. "Don't - Won't you talk to me?"
Unchanged, Brian's face looked up to the Principal; no expression was there, certainly no inclination to talk was indicated. Mr. Digby rose from his chair, Brian's eyes lifting with him.
"You don't like school, Brian?"
No sign betrayed Brian's response one way or the other to the institution of education.
55
"We're only trying to - to" What were they trying to do? He'd talked it over enough with Hislop when he'd been here. Each year a new crop. Teach them to line up six times a day, regulate their lives with bells, trim off the uncomfortable habits, the unsocial ones - or was it simply the ones that interfered with …? "We … want to help you. You want people to like you, don't you?"
He could see the gentle swell and ebb of the boy's chest under his sweater, that and nothing
60
more.
"You want to get along with people. You want to grow up to be …" An individual whose every emotion, wish, action, was the resultant of two forces: what he felt and truly wanted, what he thought he should feel and ought to want. Give him the faiths that belonged to all other men.
His mind shied from his thinking like a horse from too high a jump. The thing was to get the
65
child to talk - without frightening it out of him. "Miss MacDonald is your teacher now. You must do as she says. It's - it's like …" He cast about for something to say, any wedge to slip under the barrier between them. "You do what your mother tells you," he pried. "You don't disobey her."
Still no interest or understanding showed in the boy's dark eyes.
70
What would the boy understand?
"Have you a dog, Brian?"
There was a flicker of the boy's eyes. That was it.
"He does what you tell him. You expect him to do what you want him to. A dog isn't much good if he won't do what he's told." He looked for a moment at the boy with his erect back, his legs
75
slightly apart. "Does he do any tricks?"
"He can jump over -" The words spilled out, then stopped.
"Over your arms if you hold them out?"
"Over a stick," Brian corrected him.
"Oh." The teacher was silent because he knew it was the right moment to say nothing.
W.O. Mitchell: Who has seen the wind, 1974, pp. 71-75
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$\blacktriangleright$  1. Describe Brian's day at school
Beschreibe auf Textgrundlage, was Brian an dem Tag in der Schule erlebt.
The excerpt of W.O. Mitchell's novel Who has seen the wind from 1974 focuses on the protagonist Brian's first day at school.
Introduction
Brian has been waiting for quite a while to finally attend school. His older friend Artie will share a classroom with him although they are three years apart. Since Brian had different expections of what school will be like, he is frustrated and wants to go visit his friend Artie who is sitting two rows apart. Yet, Brian's endeavor is interrupted by Miss MacDonald, his teacher. She wants him to sit back down which he refuses to do as she is not his mother and therefore not in charge of him. Although she urges him several times to sit down and to put up his hand in order for her to give him permission to see Artie, Brian does not listen. In fact, he draws out a loaded water pistol of his pocket when his teacher starts to guide him back to his seat and points it at her. Upon demanding to give the water pistol to her, Brian squeezes the trigger and squirts water on Miss MacDonald. Furious, Miss MacDonald grabs the pistol and drags Brian to the school principal Mr. Digby. When Miss MacDonald is sent back to her class, Mr. Digby tries to get out of Brian what has happened in the classroom. But Brian does not comment on it. Mr. Digby tries to make Brian talk in different ways - first, he asks if Brian didn't like school, then he explains that they want to help him and compares Miss MacDonald with Brian's mother. Yet, nothing convinces Brian to talk. However, when Mr. Digby tries to get the information by asking whether Brian had a dog, he seems to have found a weak point of Brian's. Mr. Digby then compares Brian with his dog, telling him that Brian would expect his dog to do as he says and asks whether the dog could do any tricks. Upon that, Brian talks for the first time. When he explains, that his dog can jump over something, he is promptly interrupted by Mr. Digby who completes his sentence. Yet, he does so wrongly because Mr. Digby assumes that the dog would be able to jump over Brian's arms when in fact, the dog can only jump over a stick. Mr. Digby only answers with "Oh." on that, knowing that he shouldn't say anything more.
  • boring class
  • attempt to talk to Artie
  • prohibition from Miss MacDonald
  • water pistol
  • Mr. Digby's office
  • comparison with dog
In conclusion, Brian's first day at school was completely different than he expected it to be. A visit to the principal's office completes this misery.
Conclusion
$\blacktriangleright$  2. Compare teachers
Beschreibe die beiden Lehrer aus W.O. Mitchells Roman Who has seen the wind und erkläre, wie sie jeweils mit Brian umgehen.
The excerpt of W.O. Mitchell's novel Who has seen the wind from 1974 focuses on the protagonist Brian's first day at school. He encounters two different teachers there, his class teacher Miss MacDonald and the school principal Mr. Digby who treat him very differently and who are themselves very different characters.
Introduction
Miss MacDonald does not really come across as a loving and nice elementary school teacher. When Brian wants to go see Artie during class, she basically commands him to sit back down various times without ever explaining to Brian why he is not supposed to get up in class. Brian doesn't understand that and tries to explain what he is trying to do. Yet, Miss MacDonald does not further elaborate on that, simply stating that Brian is to sit down. This shows that she is a rather nervous person and that she is not comfortable in her role as an authority. Her thin face and her biting her lip (l. 18) undermine that fact. Also, she gets quite frustrated when Brian still doesn't listen to her - she is simply speaking not used to the oblivion of rules and hence is not respected by the child. Moreover, she tries to grab the water pistol without ever asking Brian to hand it over (l. 33). This in turn describes her as not being able to fulfill a proper conflict solution or management - an important skill that teachers should actually possess. While she demands respect from her students, she herself is very respectless towards Brian by grabbing the pistol and by not explaining anything to him. With her behavior, she might try to conceal her insecurity and is then troubled by a boy who does not listen to her, shaking the walls that she erected around her insecurity. In fact, Miss MacDonald seems completely helpless with her dripping dress and the unwilling child at her hand walking to the principal's office. Apparently, she is not able to handle this conflict by herself and she hence looks completely unprofessional and inept (l. 34-35). That she cannot conceal her emotions (l. 39) in front of the headmaster emphasizes that fact. In addition, the "indignant spray of saliva from her lips" and her "mouth quivering" (l. 39-40) underline her being outraged about a little boy's trick and makes her seem even more unprofessional.
Miss MacDonald
  • nervous
  • not understanding
  • not used to respectlessness
  • no proper conflict management
  • helpless
  • unprofessional
In direct contrast to Miss MacDonald stands Mr. Digby, the school's principal. He is described as "tall and sandy-haired" with a questioning look on his face when he sees Miss MacDonald and Brian (l. 37 - 38). Here, the different characters of Mr. Digby and Miss MacDonald become already obvious. Mr. Digby is trying to figure out what has happened whereas Miss MacDonald never wanted to know the reasons for Brian getting up from his seat. When he does not get an answer on his question about what has happened, he just leans forward and waits (l. 44). When he realizes that he won't get an answer from Brian, he gets a little impatient, but not with Brian. He rather respects Brian and does not force or urge him to answer. He switches his tactics and tries to understand Brian's situation, strongly emphasizing with him and not judging him for disobeying the rules. Something, Miss MacDonald has failed to understand. Mr. Digby, as an enforcer of school rules, is in some ways troubled by school and social conventions as well. He seems uneasy with his role as a socializer and worries about his job being nothing more than the task of regulating the student's lives with bells and trimming off thir uncomfortable habits - ultimately manipulating the students (l. 57). This crystallizes when Mr. Digby thinks that growing up, Brian might want to be an individual who is driven by his emotions and his needs and wishes (l. 62) but Mr. Digby shies away from this thought or from transmitting it to Brian - focusing back getting Brian to talk. So he doesn't bother Brian with his philosophical thoughts but comes back to the main topic about what has happened in the classroom. Hence, he tries to find examples that the boy might understand and comes up with Brian's mother and compares her to Miss MacDonald. Noticing that this doesn't work, most likely because the two female figures differ greatly from each other (l. 67-68). Wondering what the boy would understand, he asks whether Brian has a dog (l. 71). So he clearly is able to see things from Brian's perspective making him a much more understanding teacher than Miss MacDonald. Then, he senses that he has found something to awaken the boys interest when he interrupts Brian, who is willing to talk now (l.76). Mr. Digby is somekind of proud when he Brian starts talking. But this feeling quickly vanishes when Brian corrects him (l. 78). Mr. Digby accepts this correction from a child which puts him in a much more understanding and respectful position than Miss MacDonald.
Mr. Digby
  • questioning
  • waiting
  • doubting school rules
  • empathizing with Brian
  • understanding
In conclusion, Miss MacDonald and Mr. Digby couldn't differ from another much further. Whereas Miss MacDonald is insecure and disrespectful towards Brian, Mr. Digby is trying to understand the child and empathizes with him, not pushing him to answer his questions but rather trying different tactics to find out what has happened. Therefore, he is more successfull to get the child to talk and to get the child to trust him than Miss MacDonald who will never earn respect from Brian like that.
Conclusion
$\blacktriangleright$  3.1 Discuss statement
Diskutiere das Zitat aus der Aufgabenstellung.
Anatole France's statement "The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards." describes how teaching is the reason why curiosity is being created and how teaching satisfies that curiosity afterwards.
Introduction
France explains in his statement that teaching is an art, not a profession or a vocation. However, he states that teaching is just about the presumably easy task of awakening curiosity in young minds. Therefore, he downgrades the teacher's position as a mentor and assumes that a teacher just opens the mind of a student and fills it. This is a classical classroom scenario. The teacher is here seen as an enforcer of curiosity and hence, students are denied their very own curiosity, it is basically given to them by the teacher. It suggests that a student only needs a curious mind to learn new things, but you also need diligence, hard work and discipline and much more to fully grasp abstract things. Hence, you need the student to be motivated in order to develop. You need him or her to be active and proactive for that kind of process.
Main Part
classroom scenario
France's statement rises some questions as well. What if the students won't accept that special "gift" of their teacher? And what if their curiosity is not satisfied afterwards? As long as there is teaching and school, there will always be students who are lazy and not interested in learning at all. France just assumes that every student will just naturally lighten up in the prospect of being given curiosity and moreover, he just ignores the fact that teachers do not necessarily see their job as a vocation but as a job where they earn a good salary and where they will get a lot of vacation.
laziness of students and teachers
Furthermore, France postulates that the teacher is responsible for that process of implementing curiosity in the students. This is a very one-dimensional way of seeing teaching. It is actually just the other way around - teaching is not a one-way street like the egotistical state of professing truths and dispensing wisdom. It is much more about drawing out and building on the student's strengths and also about learning from the students and achieving your goals together. If the students do not succeed in a class, it is not just their fault but also the teacher's fault. The ultimate goal of teaching thus is to help value critical inquiry and to see all of life as a learning experience. Therefore, a true teacher never stops being a student himself as well. It is extremely arrogant to assume that a teacher knows everything and does not need any learning processes anymore.
one-dimensional way of teaching
In addition, Anatole France assumes that a teacher will satisfy the curiosity of his or her students in any case. But teaching is about allowing students to construct their own knowledge and not filling up their brains since then, they become individuals who will never be able to learn something on their own. Then, students will never develop a genuine meaning of content, no matter if it's mathematical, linguistic, or whatever else. If students can construct their own knowledge, they are the ones who do the majority of learning and will be far more likely to remember what they have learned as well. And if students find things out by themselves, learning becomes real and motivating.
not teacher but student satisfies curiosity
Moreover, France claims that only the young mind would possess a curiosity that needs to be awakened. However, learning is a life-long process. If France was right, this would mean that after school, every student will own all the cognitive skills and all the knowledge that they need in order to master their future life. However, people learn new things every single day and teachers can have various forms like for instance friends, bosses or even abstract things like media. Hence, sometimes people are being taught unconsciously and learn things or satisfy their curiosity unconsciously as well.
life as learning process
In conclusion, the purpose of education is to replace an empty mind not with a filled one but with an open one that understands that it will never be full of knowledge but that everything in life is a learning process. When you completely understand something, you start loving it and therefore, you gain newfound appreciation and comprehension for that thing - the most important thing in life is to never stop questioning.
Conclusion
$\blacktriangleright$  3.2 Discuss statement
Diskutiere das Statement.
Norman Douglas' statement "Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty." focuses on the fact that society should question every form of authority in general. He sees it even as a civic duty to do so and demands that society is responsible for distrusting authorities.
Introduction
In order to properly analyze and discuss Douglas' statement, the term and concept of a civic duty need to be examined. First of all, a civic duty is an action or responsibility expected of every member of a society. Examples for that might be paying taxes, obeying the laws or serving on juries. Those duties can be described as basi principles of citizenshio and they are based on the idea that citizens owe allegiance to the government and are obligated to serve and maintain it.
Main Part
definition civic duty
Now, in order to completely understand the meaning of the quote, one needs to know what kinds of authorities exist. Authorities can be split up into two different categories - personal authorities and impersonal authorities. Personal authorities can be parents or bosses for instance. Impersonal authorities are more abstract and usually you don't have a relationship to them; they either have the right to exercise power given by the state or it is someone who has great academic knowledge of a certain area. The government, law enforcers, religion, or even doctors can count as authorities as well.
definition of authority
So, according to Norman Douglas, a good citizen should always distrust the government, the police, the religion and basically every other person who you feel is able to judge you or who you think is in charge of you. He is right in various aspects. First of all, citizens should distrust the government or politics in general since they both are able to manipulate the masses into believing what they want them to believe. Back at the beginning of the 20th century, the governments of several nations were trying to attract young men to go into war and they were told that war would be great and that they would be celebrated as heroes when they came back home. And people believed that although it goes against common sense that something as horrible as war could ever be great. Even nowadays, you shouldn't trust political parties for instance, like the AfD in Germany for instance. They claim to make Germany better and spread very populist opinions - and people are really that dumb to believe them, saying that everything that the AfD says is true even though it is quite certainly not. Hence, it is actually important to not trust the government as an authority immediately.
  • government as authority
  • manipulating masses
Moreover, authorities very easily fall victim of corruption. Doctors for instance are being corrupted by the pharma industries. Sometimes, they are getting paid some kind of commission by the specific pharma company if they recommend their products. The patient might not even need this specific medication but will be given it anyways just in order for the doctor to getting paid extra money. It is thus always better, to get a second opinion.
  • corruption
  • doctors being paid extra by pharma industry
Then again, our opinions are driven by media. Since we are not able to get information from the government for instance in a direct face-to-face communication, we need to rely on media to broadcast information. But in turn, the media broadcasts only one specific picture of what is going on - the one that attracts the biggest audience. Hence, the media determines what we see and how we perceive what we see. People should not take everything at face value but should constantly question what they are being presented with.
  • media broadcasting information
  • determines how society perceives things
Furthermore, citizens should always question institutions that are presumably living according to certain designated guidelines like church fore example. Catholicism dictates the celibacy for its priests. But how are citizens supposed to trust this institution, when some priests - who you trust your salvation with - were accused of child abuse? This can be seen as very hypocritical and therefore, not very trustworthy.
  • religion
  • celibacy / hypocrisy
While it is adviseable to distrust those impersonal authorities, people should have a trustful relationship to personal authorities like their parents or their bosses. If you had to distrust your boss categorically, it would create a culture of mistrust and it would be hard for you to engage in an efficient atmosphere while working - you would always question your boss' decisions and you would basically undermine him or her. This will only lead to serious conflicts and no business could exist without trust.
  • personal authorities
  • trust in business
Considering all of the before mentioned arguments it is just natural that you should distrust authorities and it is actually desired to question authorities. If they are not being questioned, things will get deteriorate automatically and society might drift into a dependency they have never wished for. However, it is important to not question everything that is an authority - otherwise, society would live in a world of fear and distrust.
Conclusion
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