We return to the Chinese student in his/her natural environment. The student habitually chooses a seat as far away from the board as humanly possible. (Generally, there is an inverse relationship between row number and class mark.)
Mid-way through the lesson the teacher might get irritated at the student’s obvious lack of attention and call on them to answer a question. Invariably the student will have a quizzical who?-me? expression or might only respond to a kindly meant elbow from their classmate. The teacher will patiently repeat the question.
The student will squint at the board and then nonchalantly reach for their glasses. Teacher goggles and mind implodes with this revelation. Student has been sitting in class the entire time unable to see the board and not caring in the least. But the surprise isn’t over yet!
The student then holds up their glasses to their eyes, but DOES NOT UNFOLD THEM NOR PUT THEM ON. He/she holds them up like a magnifying glass or a monocle, despite the fact that the arms are obstructing their view. Do you understand what I’m describing? Does it not absolutely boggle your mind?
Consider the staggering implications: not only has the student not been able to see the board for the entire lesson, but he/she doesn’t have any intention of following the lesson past finishing this obligatory activity. So it would simply be wasted effort to actually put the glasses on. I mean, why would you want to see the board?
When the student finishes answering the question or giving a perfunctory “I don’t know,” the glasses are lowered and placed back on the desk. The student resumes state of suspended animation.