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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Creating A Winner

The Problem

JK came to us in April of last year. His father had been in England for the last few years. He had not seen his father for some time. JK’s mother was not able to speak much English. She had been educated to degree level in her own country. JK had a younger sister.

The family wanted JK to pass the Eleven Plus.

The Challenge

JK had been educated in an International School in his home country. His oral English was reasonable but he found it difficult to communicate in writing. He was also prone to a range of Americanised spelling on basic key words.

He did very well on a test on nonverbal reasoning – suggesting great potential in his mathematics and some science subjects. His mathematics showed depth in some areas but it was obvious that he needed to cover a lot of ground. We did not attempt a verbal reasoning test because his reading age was only at the eight year old level.

The Solution

It was obvious that he could not cope with a full Eleven Plus series of lessons because of gaps in his Education. The solution was a course of lessons tailored to his needs. A lot of emphasis was put onto trying to stimulate and develop his vocabulary. He needed to read widely and then discuss and learn the new vocabulary he was exposed to.

On the mathematics side JK was given 11+ mathematics help in key areas.

His parents were very involved on a lesson by lesson basis.

The Results

JK had the advantage of being bright. He also had the ability to set personal goals. If he did not understand something he worried until he had mastered the topic. We had to be very careful to set anything new at the beginning of the lesson because he hated to leave a lesson until he was sure he knew what he was doing.

He attended an eleven plus course in October – and found that he could compete with other bright children who were also set on passing competitive examinations. He began to love the challenge of eleven plus papers and consumed them voraciously. He brought his mistakes to the lessons and simply demanded attention and answers.

Three weeks before the examinations we rationed the papers to twice a week. We asked him to read a chapter at home and prepare a form of book review. We had to read the same chapter to enable us to discuss what he had read. Naturally, as his confidence grew, the seminars ranged over wider topics. We were trying to build his confidence in his ability to communicate.

The Champion.

JK writes his Eleven Plus in a few days time. He is averaging over 96% on a wide range of 11+ papers. In late December, during one lesson, he reached 68% on last year’s GCSE Foundation mathematics paper.

His parents are extremely proud of him. We know that the support he had from his school was enormous. He has had two gifted teachers at his school in a row. What a lucky boy!

We will hear the results later this year.

Congratulations to his parents and the school. What ever happens they have created a winner.

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