Maybe scare tactics do work To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
January 9, 2002

LETTERS in the press continue to push the idea that scaring children is the best way to make them learn.

After sorting through the thick literary padding of one letter writer on the subject in another newspaper, I get the idea that he proposes that school teachers beat children. Yes, "licks like peas" don't only happen around election time in Guyana!

The writer has a penchant for over using maxims and declared "spare the rod and spoil the child."

But I remember during my school days that wayward kids shrugged off such unimaginative approaches. After all they declared, "licks does bun and cool."

But who knows, maybe scare tactics do work as the following story makes clear:

A 10-year-old boy was failing math. His parents tried everything from tutors to hypnosis, but to no avail.

Finally, at the insistence of a family friend, they decided to enroll their son in a private Catholic school.

After the first day, the boy's parents were surprised when he walked in after school with a stern, focused and very determined expression on his face, and went right past them straight to his room, where he quietly closed the door.

For nearly two hours he toiled away in his room - with math books strewn about his desk and the surrounding floor. He emerged long enough to eat, and after quickly cleaning his plate, went straight back to his room, closed the door, and worked feverishly at his studies until bedtime.

This pattern continued ceaselessly until it was time for the first quarter report card.

The boy walked in with his report card - unopened - laid it on the dinner table and went straight to his room.

Cautiously, his mother opened it, and to her amazement, she saw a bright red "A" under the subject of MATH. Overjoyed, she and her husband rushed into their son's room, thrilled at his remarkable progress.

"Was it the nuns that did it?", the father asked.

The boy only shook his head and said, "No."

"Was it the one-on-one tutoring? The peer-mentoring?"


"The textbooks? The teachers? The curriculum?"

"Nope," said the son.

"On that first day, when I walked in the front door and saw that guy they nailed to the 'plus sign' I just knew they meant business!"