How Teachers Learn By John Holt


In this lesson, the narrator explains how he learned about a child’s learning process from a five-year-old girl named Nora. The narrator who is a teacher says he learned from Nora about the things children do and the problems children face while learning to read.
Nora was a five-year-old daughter of the family, the author was visiting over a weekend she came to the teacher to seek his help in reading a book called HOP AND POP. In due course, the narrator found that though Nora was a bright child yet she found certain words difficult. An odd thing happened with Nora. She misread a word; she had correctly read earlier. She repeated this mistake a number of times. The teacher was puzzled and annoyed as he thought that Nora was being careless but then the narrator remembered a learning experiment he had done years ago. He says that once he took a sheet of printed paper in some Indian language and tried to find the words that were repeated on the page it was surprisingly difficult the page looked nothing but a jumble of strange shapes. Then he understood that for a child, the learning process is quite hard it takes a child some time to get used to new words and to see at a glance the similarities and differences.

It is, therefore, necessary that a teacher must try to see things through the eyes of a child. The narrator is of the opinion that a child’s formal instruction should begin only after he has been given ample time to be familiar with the shape of letters and words.

One of the reasons why children from illiterate homes are at a disadvantage is that they lack familiarity with shapes of words and letters from the beginning of their learning.

Difficult words with meaning

Weekend: Saturday and Sunday.
Misread: read something wrongly.
Trivial: unimportant.
Skip: To leave.
Figure out: understand.
Bluff: To deceive.
Strange: unusual.
Unlettered: illiterate.


Q.1.Who was Nora? How did she become a friend of the teacher?
Ans. Nora was a five-year-old girl child of a family. The author was visiting her family every weekend. Nora was sociable. She would come to the teacher to seek his help in reading a book. In this way, she became a friend of the teacher.

Q. 2.How did the teacher observe Nora while learning?
Ans. The teacher sat still and silent and only did he say anything when Nora seemed badly stuck. Even then he did not tell her the word but only suggested how she might figure it out.

Q.3. what odd thing happened with Nora? Why was the teacher puzzled?
Ans. The odd thing that happened with Nora was that she misread a word that previously she had read correctly .the teacher was puzzled that how could she know a word on one page and forget it on the next

Q.4.Was Nora a careless child? How do you know?
Ans. Nora was not a careless child as the teacher himself noticed that she was putting all her effort and concentration in reading.

Q.5.How should a teacher understand the problems of the children?
Ans. A teacher should try to see things through the eyes of a child in order to understand the problems of the children.

Q.6.What experiences popped into teacher’s mind after Nora’s learning problems?
Ans. The experience that popped into the teacher’s mind was one that he had some years before when he took up a sheet of printing in an Indian language and tried to find the words that occurred most often on the page. He had found this task very difficult as the page had looked like a jumble of strange symbols to him. He had found it difficult to recognize even similar shaped words.

Q.7. Why children of unlettered homes are at a disadvantage?
Ans: The children of unlettered homes are at a disadvantage because they lack familiarity with the shapes of words and letters.

Q.8. How did the teacher learn from Nora?
Ans. The teacher helped Nora in reading a book. In this way, he came to know about the difficulties that a child faces during reading.


Q.1. In the text, the author keeps using the American expression, ‘to figure out ‘. Which of the following phrase is closest in meaning to the expression as it is used in the passage?
(a) To guess.
(b) To recognize.
(c) To reason out. (d) To decide.

Q. 2. He taught me to play the piano.
I learned to play it.

The above two sentences describe the same action from different points of view. Now write the second sentence for each of the sentences below in the same way:
1. He loaned me some clothes.
Ans: I borrowed some clothes.
2. He sold me an old piano.
Ans: I bought an old piano.
3. He chased me.
Ans: I ran away.
4. I gave him a glass of water.
Ans: He drank it.
5. We conquered the enemy.
Ans: They surrendered.

Q.3. some suffixes like –al,-ial,-ly,-ous,-ine are added to nouns to form adjectives e.g. orient –oriental, child –childish.
Now form adjectives from the following nouns by using suffixes.

Alphabet, angel, shape, book, man, government, minister, elephant, tiger, day, college.

Ans. Alphabet – alphabetical
Angel – angelic
Shape – shapeless
Book – bookish
Man – manly
Government – governmental
Minister – ministerial
Elephant – elephantine
Tiger – tigerish
Day – daily
College – collegiate

Q. 4. Wite a message of about 50 words based on the following telephonic conservation.
Hello, can I speak to Asif?
Well, I’m afraid he is not at home.

May I know who is calling?
I’m Khalid his friend. Asif and I had decided to have dinner at Ahadoo’s at 9 p.m. I’ve just been asked to complete a project at office.
Could you inform him that I shall be late by one hour?
Oh, sure I am going to receive some relatives at the airport. However, I will leave a message for him.
May I know who I am speaking to write now?
I’m Rauf, his roommate.


April 15, 2020

Dear Asif
Your friend Khalid called up. He has to complete a project at his office. He will be an hour late for the dinner. I am leaving for the airport.


Q.Fill in the blanks by using the past participle forms of given verbs: write rent forget break cook
1.I am living in a ………house. (rented).
2. It is not safe to sit in a ………..chair.(broken).
3. Some people do not like ………….. vegetables. (cooked).
4.The headmaster wanted a………
5.That is a……………quarrel. (forgotten

1.Using the words and phrases given, make sentences like in the example given below:
Example: we/the/doors/have/painted shall.

We shall have the doors painted.

1.made/I/a new suit/had.

I had made a new suit.

2. she/heard/has never/spoken/French.

She has never heard spoken French.


His knowledge has made him respected.

4. I/your / names/heard/called.

I heard your called names. this/quickly/done.

We want this work quickly done.

2. Answer the following questions:
(a)What are unlettered homes?
(b)Which book was Nora reading?
(c)Was Nora a careless child?

3. Give the opposite of the following:
Difficult = Easy
Careless = careful
Bright = dark
Intelligent = dull
Illiterate literate

1 Comment

Mohammad Shafi Dar · April 26, 2024 at 4:10 am

Always mention answers

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