Class conscious

June 23, 1995

The second teaching myth to explode is that the brilliant pupil needs special attention. A. C. Aitken, Edinburgh University's legendary professor of maths, was renowned for once multiplying 987654321 by 123456789 in his head in less than half a minute. A family friend has written to the university's graduates' magazine, Edit, to say that when the young Aitken was at school, he was so far ahead of his peers that his teacher told him to sit at the back of the class and not answer any questions.

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