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Thursday, August 03, 2006


I was asked today by a bright, smiling ten year old where the word `examination’ came from. We were chatting casually before our latest 11+ course started. We looked up dictionary definitions and then went to an old faithful.

My trusted copy of `Brewer’ – The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable’ – offered:

Examination Examen is Latin for the needle indicator of a balance. To examine is to watch the indicator, so as to adjust the balance.

We discussed the balance of life – the need to humour parents and the need to work hard for one self. We then chatted about what balancing indicators a ten year old could recognise.

It is important that life does not become too centred around the 11+ examination. I am often staggered by the capacity for original thought by our ten year olds.

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