A Lesson Well Taught
Albert Einstein once said, “The only thing that gets in the way of my learning is my education.” I feel that is a good summary of the two different methods of learning that Atticus and Miss Caroline, characters from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, have. The two teachers styles are very different and make for different results in those who listen to their teachings.
Miss Caroline has a strict rule of her classroom. She teaches at a specific and very slow pace to accompany the members of the class who had been in the first grade for many years without likelihood of passing. She takes for granted the attention span and interests of her class from the very beginning. She reads a story about cats which “has the class wriggling like a bucketful of Catawba worms,” (16).
Miss Caroline Fischer believes that her new Dewey Decimal System way of teaching is the best method. She refuses to let Scout be taught by her father anymore because “it would interfere with my reading” (17) and “it’s best to begin reading with a fresh mind,” (17). Her new method of teaching slowly spread throughout the entire school which made Scout’s education seem very dull, as Scout already knew how to read and write.
Miss Fischer punishes Scout for her gift of learning to read and write early by chastising her. This causes Scout to wonder how she had picked up these talents. In her head she thinks she “could not remember when the lines above Atticus’s moving finger separated into words,” (18). Miss Caroline tries to implant the idea that she has learned to read incorrectly and that she will not succeed if she continues to be taught by her father, although he never really taught her how to read.
Atticus is not a teacher in the most common sense of the word. He does not teach Scout how to read, write, or do arithmetic. He teaches her lessons of life, which she can carry with her until she can pass them along to her children. His lessons are usually taught through...
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