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Albert Einstein at School | English Core | Class 11

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

Lesson Architecture

  • Main Events of the Story

  • NCERT Solution

  • Extra Questions

  • Link for Quiz/MCQ from the lesson

Main Events of the Story

  • Albert Einstein's concept of education was quite different from others. He was never interested in learning dates and facts of History.

  • According to him, ideas were more important that dates and facts.

  • Mr. Braun, his History teacher was infuriated by his attitude. He said that Albert was a disgrace to the school and should leave school instead of wasting his father's money.

  • As Albert was unhappy with school system, his dwelling and his food, he wanted to leave the school by himself. But he was skeptical about his father's opinion about it.

  • His only friend was Yuri in whom he confided his miseries. He thought of a plan to get out of the school.

  • He asked Yuri for a doctor who would certify him with nervous breakdown and advise him to stay away from school for some time.

  • Yuri said that he would try his best. A fresh medical graduate gave Yuri an appointment for Albert.

  • Dr. Ernest Weil, himself a student till recent times, understood the problem and told him that he was suffering a nervous breakdown. Otherwise he would not have come to him.

  • The doctor issued the certificate free of charge and told him to treat Yuri to dinner.

  • Yuri advised Albert to go his Maths teacher and collect a recommendation before meeting the head teacher.

  • The Maths teacher Mr. Koch willingly gave Albert a glowing reference saying there was nothing more he could teach Albert. In fact, he would have a lot to learn from Albert.

  • Albert was called by the Head teacher and was asked to leave the school as his behaviour became intolerable for others.

  • Albert wanted to justify himself but controlled himself somehow and walked out without closing the door.

  • Albert was relieved at leaving the place where he had spent five years of misery.

  • Yuri was the only person in Munich he wanted to bid goodbye. Yuri, in turn, wished him happiness and luck.

NCERT Solution

1. What do you understand of Einstein's nature from his conversations with his history teacher, his mathematics teacher and the head teacher?

Ans: Einstein was a student more interested in ideas than learning dates and facts of historical events. His History teacher often rebuked Einstein for not complying with his instructions of learning facts from History book.

Einstein's interaction with his Mathematics teacher was very cordial and endearing. He was highly appreciative of Einstein's potential in Maths. In his glowing recommendation letter he wrote that there was nothing more to teach Einstein in school.

But the Head teacher was not able to see the genius in Einstein. He called Einstein a nuisance in class, rebellious and a disturbing element and asked him to leave the school on his own accord.

2. The school system often curbs individual talents. Discuss.

The school system is not geared up to recognize the aptitude and talent of each and every student. As a result, many a student end up pursuing career in which they have no aptitude. Moreover, we shall not be given due recognition if we do not go to school and pass out from the school. The school system of education is not optimized for catering to individual differences. It, therefore, kills the natural instinct in children to excel in their individual areas of expertise. Great personalities like Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Larry Allison have all encountered the challenges in fulfilling their objectives in school life. The school curriculum did not suit their individual aptitude and skill. Thus, it is true that the school system of education often curbs individual talents.

3. How do you distinguish between information gathering and insight formation?

Ans: Our present system of education is geared for information gathering instead of insight formation. Information gathering is a mechanical task and does not contribute to the holistic growth of a child. The History teacher insisted on learning by heart information on dates and facts. But Einstein wanted to know why battles were fought and why the soldiers were being killed instead of the number of soldiers being killed. On the other hand, insight formation requires more persistent and systematic approach towards studies. Students need to develop independent thinking, lateral thinking and research on a topic and come up with conclusive evidences for inference and so on. Our system of education does not emphasize on experiential learning mode which contributes towards insight formation.

Extra Questions

1. Who was Yuri? What was his role in the story?

Ans: Yuri was Albert's only friend in Munich and his close confidante.

When Albert decided to leave the school, he asked Yuri to get a doctor's certificate issued declaring Albert to be medically unfit for the school. Yuri fixed an appointment with Dr. Ernst Weil, a fresh graduate, who readily certified Albert with nervous breakdown and recommended six months rest. Yuri also suggested Albert to take a letter of recommendation from the Mathematics Teacher before submitting the certificate to the head teacher.

2. Describe Albert's meeting with the head teacher.

Ans: The head teacher summoned Albert in his chamber and asked him to leave school . He told him that due to his rebellious nature , his presence in the classroom has become intolerable. Albert asked if he was being expelled. The head teacher suggested him to leave the school on his own accord. Albert wanted to justify himself, but managed to restrain. On informing the head teacher that he had already decided to leave the school, Albert walked out of the room and immediately left the school.

3. How did Albert justify his view on education?

Ans: Albert said that ideas mattered more than facts. There was no point in knowing dates or number of soldiers being killed in a battle. It would be educative to know why those soldiers killed one another. Albert gave more emphasis on insight formation than gathering information.

4. Who was Elsa? Why did she disapprove of the book that Albert was reading?

Ans: Elsa was Albert's cousin and friend. She lived in Berlin where her father had his business. She often came to meet Albert in Munich.

When Elsa saw Albert with a book on Geology, she asked him whether it was required in school. On learning that it was not required in school, she suggested him not to read something which would not help him with his diploma.

5. Why was Albert nervous when he met the doctor?

Ans: Albert was so worried about what to tell the doctor that by the time of his appointment, he was quite nervous. Moreover, he was very bad at lying and thus, would not be able to deceive the doctor.

6. How did Mr. Koch react to Albert leaving the school?

Ans: Mr. Koch admitted that Albert was wasting his time in his class as there was nothing more to teach him. He wrote that Albert was ready to immediately go in for higher studies in Maths.

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