The idea for the lesson was a good one. The familiar story of The Pied Piper would be
used as the basis for an improvised drama set in a modern context, a housing estate.
Fifteen minutes into the lesson the scene is rather chaotic. Instead of the animated
exchange between the mayor and residents that took place on the in-service course from
which the idea came, the children have started to shriek and stamp on imaginary rats.
One of them has decided he would make a good cat and is running around on all fours
chasing the rats who are squeaking and making rat-like faces. Some of the rats and resi-
dents have started to fight, with one of the rats executing fancy karate moves. At a later
point in the lesson when the pupils are asked to act out a scene showing a town bereft of
children there is much miming of pulling champagne corks, drinking and dancing
(Fleming, 2011a: 19). Much later when reflecting on the lesson, the teacher finds conso-
lation in the fact that the class have been exercising their ‘imagination’ and ‘creativity’.
Once again these terms with their expedient lack of precision have come to the rescue as
a form of self-deceptive sticking plaster.