A Brief History of the Dunce Cap

The history of the dunce cap

Ah, the joys of stupidity. It’s a tragedy the dunce cap isn’t used as a disciplinary technique in modern schooling—as psychological trauma goes, it’s brilliantly belittling!

Furthermore, A Confederacy of Dunces should be handed to anyone wearing a dunce cap.

Kids these days have got it easy with their bloody smartphones, skinny jeans, and retirement age of 70+. They don’t even know they’re born!

The same can be said for someone who is a dunce, of course, which is why Professional Moron is here to clear up matters relating to all things stupid.

The Dunce Cap

Once, when debating with a gentleman on Twitter a few years back on our Professional Moron account, we had a dude quip (as an unimaginative sort would), “You really live up to your name.”

In response, we went round to his house and set fire to it. Now, this was a tangible act of revenge which we acted upon, although, had we been at school during a certain era, we’d have had to sit in the corner sporting a giant dunce cap.

These days, we got away with a prison sentence. Where did society go wrong?

If you don’t like caps, the dunce cap can also be referred to as the dunce hat. This is useful, especially if you’re something of a fashionista.

Some would argue wandering around with “Dunce” sprawled across one’s skull wouldn’t be a desirable look, yet there are millions of imbeciles on this planet who wear skinny jeans, so we don’t quite see what the problem is.

Many of you will know of the dunce hat as a giant pointy white thing, kind of like Gandalf’s hat from Lord of the Rings (was Tolkien trying to say something to us about wizards?).

Whilst Gandalf’s one is like an inverted beard, the dunce cap pointedly (which is apt) demonstrates the wearer is a complete imbecile. Its use, back in the day, was to ensure wayward children ditched the stupid in favour of the sublime.

The famous image is of the kid perched in a corner with a big D on their pointy bonce, forever condemned to be a working class scumbag.

To warrant such school status, one had to do something really quite naughty. We’re not on about tipping over the headmaster’s car, or something, but some things dunce worthy included:

  • Having three pencils instead of two, thusly enraging ego crazy teachers into also thrashing pupils with a cane for such a misdemeanour.
  • Having fun in any sort of way in the classroom – it’s important to stamp out any sense of unruliness in schools in order to shape people into subservient beings.
  • Blowing a hole in the side of the school with TNT or some other device – admittedly, this is still frowned upon at most schools to this day.
  • Using a bunsen burner to light cigarettes.
  • Using a bunsen burner as a makeshift tattoo creator.
  • Turning up in school shorts/skirt 1cm below the allowed school length.

Advances in Pedagogy

“Erm… ‘pet doggy?'” No, stupid! Pedagogy is the method of teaching. It’s one of those pretentious big words which people use to look super smart. How pernicious!

Anyway, as pedagogy advanced due to progressivism, so kids are now snowflake deadbeats who will burst into tears if a teacher so much as chastises them for adding 2+2 together and getting “hegemonical despair”.

Thusly, dunce caps have been abolished in most civilised countries as a means of inducing trauma on small children.

These days, we have much more effective techniques such as gentle chastisement and… that’s about it. Professional Moron is, consequently, aiming to reintroduce the Dunce Cap into schools with a trendy new name the youth can get down with: Da Dunce Cap.

If you welcome this change, please send us £35,000 ($40,000).


  1. Yes, I am down with this idea and welcome the change. Unfortunately, that’s all I have in my purse…. change.
    So, I am about $39, 997.24 short of the required support. Will let you know if &/or when I can help.


  2. My school didn’t have a dunce cap. It had a cupboard into which the children were locked instead. Any excuse sufficed to throw a pupil into it: coughing too much, being left-handed, that sort of thing. Still, I left my mark on the place (now painted out).

    Liked by 1 person

    • “It had a cupboard into which the children were locked instead.” – Bloody hell, that’s not good. Back in my parent’s day, there was still caning as a form of discipline. My school run was from 1990-1996 and things were pretty calm by then, although I seem to remember most children were pretty well behaved. Conkers got banned, though. For shame!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was pretty bad. I found a dossier and correspondence file on the school among my father’s papers – he did what he could to try and tone down their culture of abuse. Not too successfully. It includes the action he took when one of the teachers sent some kids to chase me home and haul me back to school, after class, to be punished some more. I wrote the story of my adventures here: https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/the-story-of-my-old-school-yard/


        • I went to a religious school but I think my era in the UK had moved way beyond any of that level of discipline. I remember having to write lines a fair few times, but other than that it was just the conkers thing. Pretty amazing how times change. I’d certainly not hit a 5 year old, though, that’s pretty horrific.


  3. The Dunce Hat was originally placed on the head of an esoteric as an image depicting pointing to the heavens from which wisdom would come and fill the hat and the head of the wearer.


    • A pretty dramatic form of that – the specialised knowledge of being incapable of learning. I need to repurpose this post and flesh it out a bit more. Looks a bit wonky at the moment!


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