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Faking it is nothing new

Newspapers across the world suggested it was a shock discovery last week that a retired US teacher who was unable to read had worked in schools for 17 years.

The tale of John Corcoran is certainly remarkable. He gained a teaching diploma, then taught in high schools in California despite being illiterate, using visual and audio materials in his lessons.

"There wasn't the written word in there," Mr Corcoran said in a television interview. "I always had two or three teaching assistants in each class to do board work or read the bulletin."

The case has been used by the US media to criticise the education system. But the revelation is far from new. Mr Corcoran co-wrote a book about his experiences, The Teacher Who Couldn't Read, which has been selling rather well since 1994.

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