Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

Here’s a salutary anecdote (now it’s published, though, it has become an ‘ecdote’) that Gina has shared with me.


One of my  tutors told me tonight about her 5th grade student who reported the following:

Recently, a substitute teacher was heading up [her student's] 5th grade class.  They were talking about suffixes.  The teacher marked a suffix in a word, but when she saw that what was left was not a word itself, she balked and said the suffix couldn't be a suffix.

The child piped up, "Yes it can. It leaves a bound base when you remove it."  Of course, the teacher had never heard of a bound base, so she asked him, and the child taught his class the difference between free and bound bases, and explained that many suffixes can attach to either. 

Now all the kids in that class have some real knowledge that they can't unlearn.


For me, both the student and the teacher are co-heroes (how about that for a hybrid word!) in this tale.

The pedagogue (denotationally a “driver of children to a predetermined destination”), having driven the children up a blind alley, had the intellectual honesty to get out of the driving seat and allow someone better informed to enlighten everyone, herself included. 

  • Bravo to the student who shared his conceptual confidence with his colleagues.
  • Bravissima to the teacher had no compunction in divesting herself of the ragged robes of pedagoguery to invest in the cause of communal scholarship.

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