Sunday, April 28, 2013

The little boy (by Helen Buckley)

Once a little boy went to school. It was quite a big school, but when the boy found he could go right to his room from the playground outside he was happy, and the school didn’t seem quite so big anymore. One morning when the little boy had been in school for a while, the teacher said, “Today, we are going to make a picture.” “Good,” thought the little boy. He liked to make pictures. He could make lions and tigers and trains and boats. He took out his crayons and began to draw. But the teacher said, “Wait, it’s not time to begin.” And she waited until everyone looked ready. “Now”, said the teacher, “we are going to make flowers. “”Good,” thought the little boy, and he began to make beautiful flowers with his orange and pink and blue crayons. But the teacher said, “Wait.” She drew a picture on the blackboard. It was red with a green stem. “There, now you may begin.” The little boy looked at the teacher’s flower. He liked his better, but he did not say this. He just turned his paper over and made a flower like the teacher’s. It was red with a green stem.

On another day the teacher said, “Today we are going to make something with clay.” “Good” thought the little boy. He could make all kinds of things with clay – snakes and snowmen and elephants and mice – and he began to pinch and pull his ball of clay. But again the teacher said, “Wait, I will show you how.” And she showed everyone how to make one deep dish. The little boy just rolled his clay in a round ball and made a dish like the teacher’s. And pretty soon the little boy learned to wait and make things just like the teacher’s. And pretty soon he didn’t make things of his own anymore.

And then it happened that the little boy and his family moved to another city and the boy had to go to another school. On the first day he went to the school the teacher said, “Today we are going to make a picture. “Good”, thought the little boy and he waited for the teacher to tell him what to do. But the teacher didn’t say anything. She just walked around the room. When she came to the boy she said, “Don’t you want to make a picture?” “Yes, “said the boy. “What are we going to make?” “Well, I don’t know until you make it, “said the teacher. “How should I make it?” said the boy. “Why, anyway you like!” “And any colour?” “Any colour” said the teacher. “If everyone made the same thing in the same colour, how would I know what and which was which?” “I don’t know”, said the boy, and he began to draw a flower. It was red with a green stem.

-The little Boy (by Helen Buckley)-

I originally came across a version of this poem on Page 19 of "A Thomas Jefferson Education" book by Oliver DeMille. This poem clearly illustrate the "cloning of the American mind" problem that we're facing. Our school system is from the industrial age and is no longer relevant in the information age.

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