The Dunces’ Hat
A tall pointed hat with a letter D or sometimes the word dunce was left conspicuously on a stool in the corner of the classroom. Pupils who were slow at learning were made to stand in the corner wearing the hat while the teacher, and probably other pupils as well, mocked them. Although this seems cruel to modern minds, in Victorian times it was thought that all pupils were capable of learning equally and that a slow or backward pupil was being deliberately lazy or reluctant to learn. The dunce would remain in the corner, sometimes standing on the stool, until the end of classes.


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