Explain Jem and Scout's interpretation of the Dewey Decimal teaching system that Miss Caroline uses.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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This is a very innocent and funny part of the book. During this section, Scout and Jem are talking about Scout's new teacher, Miss Caroline. Scout already started off on the wrong foot with Miss Caroline. One of the reasons for this was because Scout knew how to read and might have been resistant to learning Miss Caroline's way. 

Jem told Scout not to worry about his teacher and her new method of teaching. In fact, Jem stated that his teacher stated that Miss Caroline learned this method from college. 

As Jem and Scout continue to talk about Miss Caroline, this is where the mention of the Dewey Decimal System comes in. Scout insists that Miss Caroline's new method of teaching is called the Dewey Decimal System. According to Scout, Miss Caroline prints words on cards and wave them around.

The Dewey Decimal System consisted, in part, of Miss Caroline waving cards at us on which were printed “the,” “cat,” “rat,” “man,” and “you.” No comment seemed to be expected of us, and the class received these impressionistic revelations in silence.

As one can see, the Jem and Scout have no idea what they are talking about. It is childhood. It is meant to be humorous. 


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