About the Author
He was born in 1935 in Rochester, New York. Pringle grew up in Mendon, a rural town just south of his birthplace. He was educated in a one-room schoolhouse, where one teacher handled the first through eighth grades. In 1945, the schoolhouse closed, and Pringle was sent to a central school in Honeoye Falls. This school, the author recalled in SAAS, “had a library that fed my hunger for books.
After graduating from high school, Pringle worked for a year in the kitchen of the county hospital. In 1954 he enrolled at Cornell University, majoring in wildlife conservation. At Cornell, Pringle’s interest in nature was nurtured by his classes and by vacations with friends.
In 1958 Pringle began a master’s degree program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. While his research on cottontails earned him a degree, he continued to pursue his interest in mammalian predators.
In 1968, Pringle published his first book, Dinosaurs and Their World. A basic treatment of selected dinosaurs, their evolution, and how paleontologists learn about them.
In 1970 Pringle became a freelance writer and during the remainder of the 1970s continued to publish well-received titles on nature and ecological subjects.
Pringle has been praised as one of the top writers of informational books for readers from elementary through high school. Educated as a wildlife biologist, Pringle is noted as the author of authoritative, well-researched works that inform readers about the natural sciences and the environment.
Pringle’s works provide information on nature and the environment while emphasizing the dangers that threaten the earth and its resources. Several of these books are about the world’s rivers, forests, oceans, and deserts as well as about man-made hazards such as nuclear energy, nuclear war, global warming, oil spills, pollution, acid rain, and radiation. Pringle also writes about what people can do to protect their environment, such as recycling, fighting world hunger, and protecting biological diversity. In addition, he has addressed such subjects as mammals, insects, birds, and fish as well as related topics, including the animal rights movement and what happens to tame animals released in the wild. He has also authored biographies of prominent naturalists, illustrating their work with such animals as wolves, scorpions, bats, dolphins, and elephants.
Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire on 14 March 1879. His father was Hermann Einstein, a salesman and engineer. His mother was Pauline Einstein. In 1880, the family moved to Munich, where his father and his uncle founded Elektrotechnische Fabrik J. Einstein & Cie, a company that manufactured electrical equipment based on direct current.
Albert attended a Catholic elementary school from the age of five for three years. At the age of eight, he was transferred to the Luitpold Gymnasium (now known as the Albert Einstein Gymnasium) where he received advanced primary and secondary school education until he left Germany seven years later.
In 1894, his father’s company failed. In search of business, the Einstein family moved to Italy, first to Milan and then, a few months later, to Pavia. When the family moved to Pavia, Einstein stayed in Munich to finish his studies at the Luitpold Gymnasium. His father intended for him to pursue electrical engineering, but Einstein clashed with authorities and resented the school’s regimen and teaching method.
At the end of December 1894, he travelled to Italy to join his family in Pavia, convincing the school to let him go by using a doctor’s note. This biography describes Einstein’s struggles at Luitpold Gymnasium, his clash with teachers and his stay as a paying guest, his noisy landlady, his securing a doctor’s certificate that suggested a change of school.
1. Albert Einstein –a student
2. Mr. Braun –a History teacher at Albert’s school
3. Yuri –a friend of Albert in Munich
4. Mr. Koch –a Mathematics teacher at Albert’s school
5. Landlady –a woman who rented a room in her house to Albert
6. Head Teacher –head master of the school
7. Dr. Ernst Weil– a doctor who specialize in nerves
8. Elsa –Albert’s cousin
Albert Einstein told the class that in his opinion it was more important to know the ideas than to learn dates or facts. He would rather like to know why the soldiers tried to kill one another. The teacher shouted that Einstein was a disgrace to the school, and he had better ask his father to take him away.
Albert felt very miserable. It was a bad day. He didn’t feel like going back to that hateful school the following morning. But his father was not likely to take him away until he (Einstein) had taken his diploma. Being poor, he was putting up in a room in the poorest part of Munich. He hated that place also because of slum atmosphere. His landlady beat her children regularly, and on weekends she herself was thrashed by her drunk husband.
Albert was lucky to have a very sincere friend—Yuri. He discussed his problem of schooling as well as lodging with him. He doubted if he would ever pass the exams for the school diploma. He discussed his problem with his cousin Elsa when she came to Munich. She advised him to take heart and just repeat what he learnt, in the examination. But his problem was that he was not good at learning things by heart. She enquired which book he was carrying under his arm. It was a book on Geology, and not a textbook at all. He studied it because he liked the subject. His second interest was music. He played upon his violin regularly until his landlady asked him to stop that noise. She had already enough of howling by the kids.
Albert told Yuri after six months that he must get away from there. It was absurd that he should waste his father’s money. He wished to go to Milan, Italy. He requested Yuri to get him a doctor’s certificate that he had a nervous breakdown and he must leave the city. Yuri contacted his friend Dr. Ernst Weil, though not a specialist in nervous disorders. He asked Albert to be honest about his intention on meeting the doctor. The doctor agreed to certify that Albert had a nervous breakdown, and he must stay away from school for six months. The doctor didn’t charge any fee for his service. Six months was a pretty long period. Albert won’t be leaving the school, and need be, he could come back to do his diploma.
Albert planned to take that medical certificate to the head teacher the next day. But Yuri advised him to get a reference in writing from his Mathematics teacher, Mr. Koch, first. Mr. Koch agreed with Albert that the latter was wasting his time in that class in Munich because he knew much more than even his teacher. He gave a certificate that Albert was ready to join some college for the study of higher Mathematics.
The head teacher sent for Albert and told him that he wanted the boy to leave the school at once. It was a sort of expulsion. The other way was that Albert should go of his own accord. The head teacher’s point was that Albert refused to learn, and he was in constant rebellion. Albert declared that he was going to leave even otherwise. He walked out of the office and the school where he had spent five miserable years. Yuri saw him off with good wishes and good luck. He hoped that Albert would be happier in Milan.
Short Answer Type Questions
Q1. Why was Einstein unhappy at school?
Ans. Einstein was a misfit at school and was unable to cope with the conventional system of education. As a student at Munich, he was different from other boys of his age. He hated the oppressive atmosphere of the school and was sure he would fail in the examinations.
Q2. Why was Mr. Braun speechless?
Ans. Mr. Braun was speechless because he asked Einstein in what year the Prussians defeated the French at Waterloo. Albert could not reply, when he (Braun) demanded the reason responsible for this he admitted that he did not learn the answer. Later he said that he could not see any point in learning dates which could be read in a book as well. This made Mr. Braun speechless.
Q3. What made Einstein’s life miserable in the slum where he lived?
Ans. Albert Einstein lived in a slum where his landlady made his life a hell. She most often beat her children and then occasionally she was beaten by her husband. She was so rude with Einstein that she didn’t allow him to play his violin for a relief from all this stress. Apart from this, he was constantly sad for the thought of having to go back to the school where he had not a friend.
Q4. What was Einstein’s theory about education?
Ans. Einstein believed that the then existing education method was incapable of meeting the purpose of education. He believed that learning facts and dates was not education. He was against learning facts and dates by heart. He was really disappointed that there was no effort of the teachers to make the students think and analyze the subject in his school.
Q5. How did the history teacher insult Einstein?
Ans. Mr. Braun, the history teacher remarked that Einstein was an ungrateful boy and that his output to be ashamed of himself. He should ask his father to take him away. He punished him by making him stay in for an extra period in the school that day.
Q6. Who was Yuri?
Ans. Yuri was the only friend Albert had in Munich. Yuri had great concern for Albert. It was Yuri who understood Albert’s helplessness in the school and his desire to go to Milan to join his family. Yuri was greatly helpful for Albert, especially in getting a medical certificate.
Q7. Why did Einstein not like the place where he lived?
Ans. Einstein lived in a rented room in one of the poorest quarters of Munich. He did not like the place because of the atmosphere of slum violence. His landlady beat her children regularly. Every Saturday her husband came drunk and beat her.
Q8. What was the problem faced by Einstein in passing the exams?
Ans. For passing the exams one didn’t have to know anything or understand what one was taught. One could easily pass the exams if one was able to repeat in the exams what one was taught. The problem with Einstein was that he was not good at learning things by heart.
Q9. What advice did Elsa give to Einstein to pass the examination?
Ans. Elsa is Einstein’s cousin who lived in Berlin where his father had a business. She thinks that just repetition of the lesson taught in the class during the examination is enough to pass the examination. No understanding is essential. Just learning something by heart may do the trick.
Q10. Why couldn’t Einstein think of going to Milan without a serious reason?
Ans. Einstein’s father was a struggling businessman in Milan. He had asked his son to return to Milan after completing his studies in Munich and was very stubborn about that. To go to Milan, therefore, Einstein needed a very strong reason to leave his school in Munich.
Q11. How did Albert feel at his lodging?
Ans. Albert was not at all happy in his lodging situated in the poor slum area. His room was in the poorest quarters of Munich. Even the atmosphere was quite miserable as the landlady used to beat her children. Her husband too returned on Saturday quite drank and beat her mercilessly. The atmosphere was full of noise and insanitary.
Q12. What for did Einstein require a medical certificate?
Ans. Einstein enquired his friend Yuri about a friendly doctor, who would certify him falsely for a nervous breakdown as he longed to escape from the school. Einstein hated the school at Munich and longed to escape. But he knew that if he left his studies and went to Italy to join his family, his father would get angry and send him back. One day he gets an idea. He decides to play a small drama. He would pretend that he has had a nervous breakdown. He would say that he has been advised by the doctor to discontinue studies. He asks his friend, Yuri, if he knows a kind and sympathetic doctor.
Q13. Why did the head teacher call for Albert?
Ans. Einstein got a false medical certificate and was about to go to the head teacher’s office to submit it. To his surprise, however, the headmaster himself sent for him and informed that the school had decided to rusticate him for his hostile presence in the school. The head teacher explained that all the teachers were troubled with his rebellious attitude and did not want him in the school any longer. He then suggested the simplest way out for Einstein to leave the school on his own.
Q14. Who was Mr. Koch? How did he help Einstein?
Ans. Mr. Koch was Einstein’s mathematics teacher. He was a great man, probably who was not jealous of Einstein’s knowledge. He admired Einstein’s knowledge and thought probably Albert would soon be able to teach him. Apart from this, Mr. Koch gave him a certificate that helped Einstein secure a seat in a university.
Q15. “Albert felt the medical certificate almost burning a hole in his pocket”. What does the author mean?
Ans. The author means to say that Einstein has worked so hard to get the certificate from the doctor, and then he was willing to show the certificate to the headmaster and see how he would react. However, the certificate had then become unnecessary as he was being expelled without its production.
Q16. Did Einstein succeed in leaving school? How?
Ans. Yes, finally Einstein got rid of his school. With the help of his friend, Yuri, Einstein found a doctor who was kind and understanding. The doctor gave a certificate stating that Einstein needed rest for six months because he was under extreme stress. In a dramatic turn, Einstein was called to the head teacher’s room and was told that the school had decided to expel him from the school.
Q17. Express your views on the prevailing system of education.
Ans. Education is in fact a process which brings out the best from within. But it’s an irony that the present system of education kills originality. It prompts a child to be more commercial and self centred. It encourages him to compete more and more without letting the original personality blossom the present system of education cultivates one sided personality. It stifles creativity and originality.
Long Answer Type Questions
Q1. What made Einstein unhappy at school?
Ans. This lesson describes Einstein’s suffering at school in a moving way. It shows how a creative genius like Einstein was ridiculed by his teachers and expelled from school for daring to be different. Einstein was a misfit at school and unable to cope with the conventional system of education. As a student at Munich, he was different from other boys of his age. He hated the oppressive atmosphere of the school and was sure he would fail in the examinations. He liked to study only the subjects which interested him. He believed that there was no point in memorizing facts. Thus, on being asked when the battle of waterloo took place. Einstein replied frankly that he had forgotten the date. Moreover, he added, he did not see why one should learn dates as they could easily be looked up in a book. Einstein’s honesty is mistaken for arrogance. He is punished and told that he is disgrace to the school. Einstein thus, felt miserable at school and longed to escape.
Q2. Did Einstein succeed in leaving school? How?
Ans. Einstein hated the school at Munich and longed to escape. One day he gets an idea and discusses it with his friend, Yuri. He decides to play a small drama. He would pretend that he has had a nervous breakdown. He would say that he has been advised by the doctor to discontinue studies. With the help of his friend, Einstein is able to find a doctor who is kind and understanding. The doctor gives a certificate stating that Einstein needs rest for six months. But even before Einstein can submit the certificate, he is called by head Teacher. The head teacher tells Einstein that all the teachers are troubled with his rebellious attitude and want him to leave the school. Einstein realizes that there is now no need to show the medical certificate. He cheerfully walks out of the school which has been his prison for the last five years.
Q3. What were Einstein’s views regarding rote learning? Why is mere rote learning useless?
Ans. As a student at Munich, Einstein was different from the other boys of his age. He was unable to cope with conventional system of education which lays a lot of emphasis on rote learning. Einstein believed that the then existing education method was incapable of meeting the purpose of education. He believed that learning facts and dates was not education. He was against learning facts and dates by heart. Facts, he felt, could easily be looked up in books. Thus, on being asked when the Battle of Waterloo takes place, Einstein replied frankly that he had forgotten the date. He added that it would be more interesting to find out why soldiers had killed one another, rather than to memorize the number of soldiers killed in the battle. He was really disappointed that there was no effort of the teachers to make the students think and analyze the subject in his school.
Q4. Do you think that the teacher’s role should be primarily to make students think?
Ans. In the Conventional System of Education the aim of the student is to get a degree and take up a job. The task of the teacher, in such a system, is mostly to impart fact-based knowledge and help the student to do well in the examination. For this purpose the teacher may dictate notes, mark important questions and repeatedly “drill” students. Such a system crushes the creative genius like Einstein. But in Reality, the role of a teacher is not to teach facts but to impart skills which can make the student think. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the teacher shows the student how to think and not what to think. The true teacher encourages the individual to be inquisitive and to analyze the various facts and implications of an issue. The aim of education therefore, is to produce learning individuals, not necessarily learned ones, in an environment of freedom and creativity. Otherwise, the very purpose of education would be lost.
Q5. Today’s school system curbs personal talents and ignores the genius in students, imposing a teacher-school centered approach upon the students. Discuss.
Ans. Einstein studied in a school in Munich, where he was unhappy with the teaching. He was particularly averse to the idea of learning facts by heart. When his history teacher asked him when the battle of war was fought, Einstein was unable to give the answer. The history teacher scolded him for this and said he should know the answer as it had been mentioned many times in the class. Einstein replied that he did not believe in memorizing facts. He was more interested in answering the ‘why’ questions rather than ‘how’ and ‘when ‘questions.
NCERT Solutions For Class 11 English Snapshots Albert Einstein at School
QUESTIONS FROM TEXTBOOK SOLVED
A. Reading With Insight
What do you understand of Einstein’s nature from his conversations with his history teacher, his mathematics teacher and the head teacher?
Exchanges between Einstein and History teacher show that Einstein is honest and truthful. He admits his shortcomings frankly. He has firm and well-defined opinions. He explains precisely what he thinks. Thus his basic intelligence, logical reasoning and lucid expression are highlighted. He showed the sparks of genius even at a young age. His maths teacher had a high opinion of him. He went to the extent of saying: “I can’t teach you more, and probably you’ll soon be able to teach me.” When Albert said that it was excessive praise, the teacher acknowledged that it was only the truth. He made the point by saying that Albert was ready immediately to enter a college or institute for the study of higher mathematics. Albert himself said, “I’ve learnt all the maths, they teach at school and a bit more.”
The head teacher told Albert that he was expelling him from school because his presence in the classroom made it impossible for the teacher to teach and other pupils to learn. No serious work could be done while he was in the class. Albert refused to learn and he was” in constant rebellion.
For a moment Albert felt tempted to tell the head teacher what he thought of him and his school. Then he stopped himself. He didn’t say even a single word. Holding his head high, he went out with a sense of pride. Thus, he had a lot of self control. Albert was not at all impolite. He addressed his teachers respectfully and answered the questions honestly.
The school system often curbs individual talents. Discuss.
Albert Einstein’s miserable five years’ stay at school is a telling comment on the system of education prevailing then and existing even now. This system of education has no room for individual aspirations, brilliance or aptitude. It discourages genius and originality and encourages mechanical dullards or the so called ‘average’ students. This system lays stress on facts and dates rather than ideas. It ignores originality and creativity, which lead to progress and development.
No wonder then that most of the students manage to pass the examination by cramming—learning things by heart and repeating it in the exams. This parrot like learning or learning without understanding may help to get the diploma but fails to enrich the mind or inculcate ideas.
The teachers and authorities insist on discipline and conformity. The history teacher and the Head teacher are sticklers for rules, pedagogy and discipline. Brilliant students like Albert Einstein are considered dullard, stupid, incompetent, unfit rebels whose very presence makes it impossible for teacher to teach and other pupils to learn.
How do you distinguish between information gathering and insight formation?
Learning the dates of battles or the details about victorious armies are facts. These details are part of knowledge which are content-based. There is no point in spending precious years of student life on information gathering because dates or facts could be ascertained from the books any time by just looking them up. Learning facts or parrot-like learning i.e., learning without understanding is what we call information gathering.
Analysing the facts, ascertaining the causes that led to a certain incident such as an uprising or a war and learning the ideas that spring from such actions are part of insight information. It gives us a clear perception into the true nature of a thing. Such knowledge increases our logical reasoning, power of analysis interpretation and understanding and makes us think.
MORE QUESTIONS SOLVED
A. Short Answer Type Questions
Why was Mr Braun speechless for a few moments?
Mr Braun asked Albert in which year the Prussians defeated the French at Waterloo. Albert told him that he didn’t know. Mr Braun said that he had told them so many times. Albert told him that he saw no point in learning dates. These could be seen in books. This made him speechless.
Who asks for the Einstein theory of education? How?
Mr Braun, the History teacher asks for Einstein theory of education. He does so highly sarcastically and in a mocking tone.
What is Einstein’s view about education? How far do you agree with it?
For Einstein ideas are important and facts do not matter. He considers learning the dates of battles or the details about victorious armies meaningless. He is more interested in the causes that led the soldiers to kill each other.
How did the history teacher react to Albert’s replies? Will a modern student agree with the teacher? Why /Why not?
The history teacher felt amazed as well as annoyed at Albert’s stubbornness. It was because Albert challenged all the established norms of attaining knowledge. Modem students do not agree with the history teacher’s view. Education is not a mere acquisition of certain facts and their verbatim reproduction.
Why did Albert see no point in learning dates and facts?
Dates and facts are parts of knowledge which are content based. Albert thought that there was no point in learning dates and facts because firstly, these could be, ascertained from the books any time by just looking them up. Secondly, for him, learning facts was not education.
Do you think Albert is being impolite while answering the history teacher’s questions? Give your reasons.
Answer: No, Albert is not at all impolite. He addresses his teacher respectfully. Secondly, he answers the questions honestly. He does not think that his free and frank opinion will annoy the teacher and will be construed as impoliteness.
What was the history teacher’s opinion of Albert?
The history teacher had a very low opinion of Albert. He called Albert an ungrateful boy who ought to be ashamed of himself. He suggested that Albert should ask his father to take him away from school.
What punishment did the history teacher give to Albert for not answering his questions?
This history teacher’s eyes got cold and cruel. He said he didn’t want a lecture from him. He punished Albert by making him stay in for an extra period that day. He told him that he was a disgrace. Moreover, he didn’t know why he continued to come.
Why did Albert feel miserable when he left school that day?
Albert was punished for his ‘insolence’ that day He had to stay in for an extra period after the school that day. Albert felt miserable because he hated the school and would have to return there the next day as well.
‘Going back to his lodgings did not cheer him up.’Why?
He lived in an atmosphere of slum violence. His landlady beat her children regularly. Every Saturday her husband came drunk and beat her. The wailing and howling of kids got on his nerves. He couldn’t stand the incessant loud noise
What did Albert conclude after six months alone in Munich? What reasons did he advance?
After six months alone in Munich, Albert concluded that he must get away from there. He thought it absurd to go on like that. He realised that he had been wasting his father’s money and everyone’s time. So he considered it better for all to stop just then.
Why does the biographer refer to Albert’s interest in music as a ‘comfort’?
Answer: Albert’s lodgings as well as school made him feel miserable. He hated the school. Going to the lodging didn’t cheer him up as he hated the atmosphere of slum violence. He soothed him tired nerves by playing on his violin. So music was a source of comfort for him.
Who is Elsa? What does she think is enough to pass the examination?
Elsa is Albert’s cousin. She normally lives in Berlin where her father has a business. She thinks that one can pass the examination simply by learning things by heart and repeating them in the exams. A student doesn’t have to understand what he is taught.
What sudden idea does Albert hit upon to get away from school?
Albert thought that if he had a nervous breakdown and a doctor certified that it was bad for him to go to school, he would be able to get away from the school. This would be better than leaving the school and then forced back to it by his father.
Who is Yuri? What part does he play in Albert’s plan?
Yuri is a senior student, perhaps of medical school. He knows a lot of medical students. It is he who introduces Albert to Dr Ernest Weil and helps further Albert’s plan by getting him medical certificate he desires so earnestly.
“Ugh!” Exclaimed Albert, “these are the students”. Comment.
Yuri lived among poor students. Albert thought them ‘civilised human beings’. Yuri told him that one of the students killed another in a duel and felt proud of it. At this Albert was filled with disgust because he hated violence.
Yuri calls Albert ‘the world’s worst liar’—do you think this is an insult or a compliment to Albert? Why?
It is a compliment, Albert is honest and truthful. He can’t tell a deliberate lie. He can’t deceive anyone. He is so simple hearted that if he tries to tell a lie, his face betrays him at once.
Why was Albert quite nervous when he met the doctor? What does this nervousness indicate about his nature?
Albert had been wondering all day what to tell the doctor. In fact, he had worried so much that when the time came to see the doctor he was quite nervous. His nervousness shows that he had a very sensitive nature. Even a minor worry would ruffle him up.
How did Albert hope to convince the doctor?
Albert declared humorously that he was going to have a real nervous breakdown. It would make it easier for the doctor to certify his illness. The next time Yuri saw Albert he found that the latter had lost his high spirits. Albert confirmed that he would really have a nervous breakdown which would satisfy any doctor.
Who was Ernest Weil? How did he help Albert?
Ernest Weil was a doctor. He had qualified as a doctor only the previous week. He was a good friend of Yuri. Albert told Yuri of his plan to leave school. Yuri told him to go to Dr Ernest Weil to get a medical certificate for the purpose.
What advice did Yuri give to Albert before meeting Dr Ernest Weil?
Yuri told Albert not to deceive Dr Ernest Weil. He should tell everything clearly. He should be frank with him. He shouldn’t pretend that he had got what he hadn’t.
What opinion do you form of Dr Ernest Weil?
Young Ernest Weil had just qualified to be a doctor, but he was intelligent. He could not be deceived easily. He was frank, honest and sympathetic. He wins the confidence of his patient with his warm smile. His sharp analytical mind helps him in quick diagnosis and suggesting cure.
What did Albert tell Dr Ernest Weil if he certified that he had a nervous breakdown?
Albert told him that he would go to Milan in Italy. His parents lived there. Dr. Weil asked him what he would do there. Albert told him that he would try to get admission into an Italian College or Institute.
How, according to Yuri, could the medical certificate help Albert?
Yuri thought that the medical certificate would help Albert to enjoy six month’s leave from the school. He would not actually be leaving the school and if the worst befell, he could return and continue studies for the diploma.
How did Albert hope to get admission to an Italian college without a diploma from the German school?
Albert hoped to get a testimonial from his mathematics teacher about his work. He had learnt all the maths that is taught at school and a bit more. He hoped that this certificate would help him to get admission to an Italian college without a diploma from the German school.
What did Mr Koch think of Albert?
Mr Koch had a high opinion of Albert. He thought that he couldn’t teach Albert any more and probably soft he would be able to teach his teacher. Mr Koch certified that Albert was ready immediately to enter a college or institute for the study of higher mathematics.
What did Yuri suggest to Albert before seeking an interview with the Principal? How far did Yuri’s efforts and suggestion prove useful during Albert’s meeting with the Principal?
Yuri suggested that Albert should get a written reference from the mathematics teacher before seeing the head teacher. His mathematics teacher gave him a glowing reference. However, it failed to serve the purpose for which Albert wanted to use it.
What reference did Mr Koch give to Albert regarding his wish to join a college in Italy?
Mr Koch wrote that Albert was ready to enter a college for the study of higher mathematics. He also said that he couldn’t teach him any more and probably he (Albert) would soon be able to teach him.
What did the head teacher tell Albert when he met him?
The head teacher told him that his work was terrible. He was not prepared to have him in the school any longer. He wanted him to leave the school then.
What did the head teacher tell Albert when the latter asked him what ‘crime’ he had committed?
The head teacher told Albert that his presence in the class made it impossible for the teacher to teach. It was also impossible for the other pupils to learn. He refused to learn and rebelled constantly. No serious work could be done while he was there.
“Albert felt the medical certificate almost burning a hole in his pocket.” What does the author mean?
Einstein was eager to show the medical certificate to the head teacher and notice how he reacted. However, the certificate had now become unnecessary, because the head teacher had decided to expel Albert.
How did Albert leave his school where he had spent five years?
Albert left his school without any regrets. He, in fact, left it arrogantly. It was because of the bad treatment meted out to him by the head teacher. He didn’t turn his head to have even a last look at this school.
B. Long Answer Type Questions
Relate in your own words what transpired between the history teacher, Mr Braun and young Einstein.
Mr Braun, the history teacher laid stress on learning dates and facts. He repeated them often enough for his students to learn them. Young Albert Einstein was found wanting. He didn’t know in what year the Prussians defeated the French at Waterloo. Albert frankly admitted that he didn’t know. He said that he didn’t ever try to learn dates. He claimed that he couldn’t see any point in learning dates. One can always look them up in a book. The teacher felt angry as well as amazed at Albert’s stubbornness. The boy insisted that learning facts is not education.
Mr. Braun then sarcastically asked Albert to tell the class the Einstein theory of education. Albert said that ideas are more important than facts. Instead of learning the dates of battles or which of the armies killed more men, he would be more interested in learning why those soldiers were trying to kill each other.
Mr Braun felt exasperated. His eyes were cold and cruel. He punished Albert by making him stay in for an extra period that day. He had a low opinion of Einstein and called him ‘a disgrace’. He wondered why he continued to come to school. Albert politely replied that it was not his wish. Mr Braun angrily called him ‘an ungrateful boy who ought to be ashamed of himself. He suggested that the boy, should ask his father to take him away.
Where the teacher interested in understanding Albert and bringing out his potential?
This extract mentions only two of the teachers of young Einstein. They are: Mr. Braun—the history teacher and Mr Koch—the mathematics teacher. The former was not at all interested in understanding Albert and bringing out his potential. He followed the traditional methods and philosophy of education which laid more stress on acquisition of knowledge. Dates and facts were more important to him than the causes which led to the events. Secondly, he had a sarcastic attitude and mocking tone towards Einstein. Instead of helping the development of a talented boy, he complained to the head teacher and got him expelled.
Mr Koch appreciated Einstein’s genius, and had a good opinion of him. But he too was confined to his subject and didn’t take interest in the real person. All this was because of the curriculum centred approach.
What factors made Einstein’s life in Munich miserable? What did he realise after six months?
Two factors made Einstein’s life in Munich miserable. These were his school and residential environment. The school was a hateful place. He had many bad days when he got punishment. He hated going back to school, but he had no option. He wishes that his father would take him away. However, he was forced to stay there and obtain diploma. Einstein found the system of education uninspiring and the teachers, unsympathetic.
He had his lodging in the poorest quarters of Munich. The food was bad. Lack of comfort, dirt and squalor made his life miserable. The atmosphere of slum violence was oppressive. The landlady would beat her children. Her husband would come home on Saturdays. He would get drunk and beat his wife. Albert found young students fighting duels and killing others. The scars on the face were badges of honour for the victors.
Comment on the role of Yuri as described in the extract.
Yuri performs an important function in young Albert’s life. He is the friends, philosopher and guide for Albert. He is in fact Albert’s confidant. He has won the love and trust of Albert to such an extent that he confides his miseries, problems and plans with him. Yuri is the only person in Munich that Albert likes. Yuri lives among poor students who frequently indulge in fighting duels.
Yuri helps Albert in his plans to obtain a medical certificate of nervous breakdown advising rest for six months. He introduces Albert to Dr Ernest Weil and asks Albert to be frank with him. Dr Weil turns out to be a sympathetic soul and issues him the much needed certificate.
Yuri again guides the course of Albert’s ship of life. He advises Albert to obtain a written reference from the mathematics teacher before seeing the head teacher. Albert follows his advice faithfully. The certificate, however, proves useless because the head teacher has already decided to expel Albert for his undesirable activities. This, however, does not diminish Yuri’s role in Albert’s life. He is like a pillar of strength to the miserable young Albert in a foreign land.
What stratagem (plan) did Einstein devise to stay away from school for six months? How far did he succeed?
Albert had told his father to take him away from the school. However, his father insisted that he should obtain a diploma first. Hence, he was unwilling to take Albert away from school. For Albert, staying at that school meant wastage of time and money.
One day, he had a bright idea. He asked Yuri if he knew some friendly doctor. He could say that Albert suffered from nervous breakdown. The doctor would certify that the disease was ‘bad for him to go to school’. They had to find a specialist in nerves. Albert began to look nervous and lost his high spirits.
Yuri fixed appointment with Dr Ernest Weil and asked Albert to tell him the truth. Albert was frank and truthful. He could enter some Italian college or institution at Milan without diploma. The doctor issued a certificate advising him rest for six months. The certificate proved useless as the head teacher was bent on expelling Albert.
I knew you were going to leave before you knew yourself. Who said it and how did he know it? Substantiate with example from the text.
Mr Koch was Albert’s Maths teacher. He was genuinely interested in Albert. Yuri told Albert to get a written reference from him. He willingly gave Albert the reference he wanted. He made it clear that Albert was ready to enter a college or institute for the study of higher mathematics. Mr Koch regretted that Albert was leaving the school. His logic was correct. A reference is usually asked when one leaves. Albert is puzzled. There are more surprises in store for Albert. He is summoned by the head teacher before Albert’s request for interview. The head teacher does not want Albert to stay there any longer. Perhaps the issue might have figured in the staff council. The Maths teacher was discreet. He did not reveal the confidential discussion. He gave plausible reasons for his observation.
Describe how the head teacher made it easy for Albert to leave school.
Albert wanted to remain away from the school. He got a medical certificate from Dr Ernest Weil. It was certified that he had a nervous breakdown. So he must stay away from school. He wanted to see the head teacher. Next day the head teacher called Albert to his office. He told Albert that his work was terrible. So he was not prepared to have him in the school. Albert asked if he should think he was to be expelled. The head teacher told him that if he left the school of his own accord, the question wouldn’t arise. Albert asked what crime he had committed. The head teacher told him that the teacher couldn’t teach the class when he was in it. In his presence, the pupils couldn’t learn. Albert wanted to tell the head teacher what he thought of him and the school, but he didn’t say anything. The head teacher asked him to close the door behind him. But Albert didn’t do so. Nor did he have the last look at his school. He met only Yuri.
Suppose you were the Principal of young Albert’s School. What changes in education system would you like to introduce to make it more effective, meaningful and purposeful?
If I were the Principal of Albert’s school, I would bring in drastic changes. I have a clear concept of education. For me, education means drawing out the best in the student. I’ll help to develop an individual’s personality by encouraging the budding talent. I know that all are not cast in the same mould. Our old system talks of uniformity and average student level. These are abstract principles. Education will focus on individual’s aptitude and talent. There will be no cramming of facts, dates or multiplication tables. The audio visual devices will be used as aids to learning. Computer will supplement knowledge. I will provide more facilities for self-expression. The atmosphere of the school will be relaxed. I’ll act as a father figure— a friend, philosopher and guide rather than a tormentor. I hope to inculcate values through examples of personal conduct.
MCQ Questions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 4 Albert Einstein at School with Answers
Why did Albert feel that ‘the medical certificate was burning a hole in his pocket’?
(a) Because it had cost him money
(b) Because it proved to be of no use
(c) Both (a) and (b)
(d) None of the above
Answer: (c) Both (a) and (b)
Why was Einstein summoned by the head teacher?
(a) To ask him to leave the school
(b) To punish him for bad work
(c) To reward him for his work
(d) None of the above
Answer: (a) To ask him to leave the school
How much did the doctor charge from Albert?
(a) Asked Albert to invite Yuri for a meal
(b) Asked Albert to invite him for a meal
(c) His consultation fees
(d) None of the above
Answer: (a) Asked Albert to invite Yuri for a meal
“I’ll never go back to that place.” Which place is Albert referring to?
(a) His home in Milan
(b) His school
(c) His room in quarter of Munich
Answer: (b) His school
For how long was Albert supposed to stay away from school as per the certificate?
(a) One month
(b) Two months
(c) Six months
(d) Three months
Answer: (c) Six months
Albert was __________ about his appointment with the doctor.
Answer: (a) worried
Who helped Albert in finding a doctor who would help him in fulfilling his plan to leave the school?
(a) His father
(d) No one
Answer: (c) Yuri
How did Albert Einstein plan to leave the school?
(a) By getting a certificate of nervous breakdown from a doctor
(b) By running away
(c) By calling his father to help him out of school
(d) By asking the head teacher
Answer: (a) By getting a certificate of nervous breakdown from a doctor
According to Einstein, what was a good enough reason(s) to study something?
(a) It has to be a part of curriculum
(b) When the reader was forced to study
(c) If the reader likes it
(d) All of the above
Answer: (c) If the reader likes it
What was the name of Albert Einstein’s cousin?
Answer: (c) Elsa
Albert Einstein had a friend named ___________.
Answer: (a) Yuri
Where did Albert Einstein reside during his schooling?
(a) At home with his family
(b) At the quarters of Munich
(c) At his friend’s house
(d) At a place provided by school
Answer: (b) At the quarters of Munich
Q1. The extract “Albert Einstein at School” is taken from __________.
- The Young Einstein
- Einstein’s expulsion
- The Story of Einstein
- The Famous Einstein
Q2. What was the name of Albert Einstein’s history teacher?
- Mr. Weil
- Mr. Braun
- Mr. Koch
- Not mentioned in the lesson
Q3. According to Einstein, learning facts is not ____________.
Q4. What was Albert’s theory of education?
- Giving importance to ideas than to facts
- Learning all important facts
- Writing everything
Q5. How did Albert feel about going to school every day?
Q6. How long did Albert’s father want him to attend the school for?
- Until he comes to love the school
- Until his father called
- Until he completes his diploma
- None of the above
Q7. Where did Albert Einstein reside during his schooling?
- At home with his family
- At the quarters of Munich
- At his friend’s house
- At a place provided by school
Q8. The place where Einstein lived had __________.
- no comfort
- bad food
- dirt and squalor
- All of the above
Q9. Albert Einstein had a friend named ___________.
Q10. Yuri mentions a fight in which a scar is a ____________.
- symbol of defeat
- badge of honour
- proof of weakness
- None of the above
Q11. What was the name of Albert Einstein’s cousin?
Q12. What was Albert’s cousin’s suggestion to him to help him get through his exams?
- To understand everything that was taught
- To learn without understanding
- To pay attention in the class
- To find a good tutor
Q13. According to Einstein, what was a good enough reason(s) to study something?
- It has to be a part of curriculum
- When the reader was forced to study
- If the reader likes it
- All of the above
Q14. Apart from books on science, what comforted Albert Einstein?
- Playing on streets
- Drawing and painting
- Music and playing violin
Q15. How did Albert Einstein plan to leave the school?
- By getting a certificate of nervous breakdown from a doctor
- By running away
- By calling his father to help him out of school
- By asking the head teacher
Q16. Einstein was ________ with his own idea of leaving school.
Q17. Who helped Albert in finding a doctor who would help him in fulfilling his plan to leave the school?
- His father
- No one
Q18. “He’s not a fool,” Yuri warned Albert. Who is he?
- The head teacher of school
- Albert’s maths teacher
- Albert’s father
- Doctor Ernst Weil
Q19. Albert was __________ about his appointment with the doctor.
Q20. What did Albert plan to do after he left school?
- Look for a job
- Get into college or institute
- Start his own business
- Do nothing
Q21. For how long was Albert supposed to stay away from school as per the certificate?
- One month
- Two months
- Six months
- Three months
Q22. The doctor seemed to understand what Albert was going through because __________.
- he himself had been a student
- he was paid well
- he was new at being a doctor
- None of the above
Q23. “I’ll never go back to that place.” Which place is Albert referring to?
- His home in Milan
- His school
- His room in quarter of Munich
Q24. How did Albert plan to get into a college?
- By giving an entrance exam
- Through his father’s reference
- By getting a reference from his history teacher
- By getting a reference from his mathematics teacher
Q25. How much did the doctor charge from Albert?
- Asked Albert to invite Yuri for a meal
- Asked Albert to invite him for a meal
- His consultation fees
- None of the above
Q26. “It’s almost the only class where I’m not wasting my time.” Which class is Albert talking about here?
Q27. Why was Einstein summoned by the head teacher?
- To ask him to leave the school
- To punish him for bad work
- To reward him for his work
- None of the above
Q28. What sort of a student Einstein was according to his teachers?
- All of the above
Q29. Why did Albert feel that ‘the medical certificate was burning a hole in his pocket’?
- Because it had cost him money
- Because it proved to be of no use
- Both (A) and (B)
- None of the above
Q30. Who did Albert Einstein meet before leaving Munich?
- His maths teacher
- The head teacher of the school
Answer key for Class 11 English Snapshots Book Chapter 4 – Albert Einstein at School