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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sorting Out Your Attitude!

This weekend I watched a dog being trained. It seemed that the family were concentrating on trying to teach their dog not to jump up at people and how to fetch a ball or a stick.

We know that there was lots of praise – and there was certainly lots of movement and noise. But how well was the dog learning? Was the dog absorbing the lessons? What was the power of retention of learned commands?

To encourage the dog to fetch a ball it seemed that a special language was used.

Session One

`Come here, Mary. Look Mary. It’s a ball. Fetch. Fetch. Go on Mary fetch. Get the ball.

No Mary not the stick, we want the ball. The ball, Mary, not the stick!”

Session Two

Another member of the family came out and yelled: “Here Mary, sit!”

The arm and the ball were then held in the air. The hand went back. The ball was thrown.

“Fetch!” was shouted.

The ball and the dog returned immediately.


In the first instance the dog had to focus on a bewildering amount of words. The trainer needed fewer words. Too many words, too much information.

The second instance reduced the information to a minimum.

Let us know contrast this with a child settling down to an eleven plus session.

Scenario One

“No dear, we are not going to the shops. We are going to do some work.

Take out your Non Verbal Reasoning papers, Go to Paper 3. Do questions 19 – 26.

Yes I know we did them together last night – but you did not write the answers. Today, please write the answers.

Once again, no, we are going to stay at home and do some eleven plus work.

I know I said that we were going to the shops, but I meant after you have done your work.

Thank you dear, just do your work now.”

Scenario Two

“Eleven Plus!”


“Thank you dear. Now we can go to the shops.”

After all being a parent is simply a matter of having choices. Sometimes a simple command can do the trick. You sometimes may use too many words. Maintain supreme confidence in your own ability. Develop the climate where there is a strong expectation that you will be listened to.

On the day the examination results come out all you will want to say is:

“Fantastic! Fetch!"

(Successful Eleven Plus results.)

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