Procrustean Bed

Have you heard of the Procrustean bed? Procrustes, a character in Greek mythology, kept a house by the side of the road where he offered hospitality to passing strangers, who were invited in for a pleasant meal and a night’s rest in his very special bed. He described it as having the unique property that its length exactly matched whosoever lay down upon it. If they were too long he would cut off their legs in order to fit the bed. If they were too short he would place them on a rack and stretch them until they would fit the dimensions of his bed.

The “bed of Procrustes,” or “Procrustean bed,” has become proverbial for a standard or set of conditions, determined arbitrarily, to which everyone is forced to conform.

An ideal teacher never makes his/her students have a try on the Procrustean bed. It may turn fatal to both the teacher and the students. Instead of forcing them to adopt our standard or set of conditions we have to set it appropriate to their level of competency and capability.

 

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