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Friday, April 20, 2007

Doing as well as possible!

“I’ve got just one objective this year. I want my child to pass the Eleven Plus.”

That is a positive statement of intent. It does, however, raise a few little problems. We are going to need to come to terms with a few minor objectives along the way.

“By March of next year I want my child to receive an offer of an eleven plus place at the school of my choice.”

So the first statement is really an aim. You would really like your child to win a place in a favourite grammar school. The second statement is more of an objective. You can measure the time element. Your child can or can not be offered a place. The place may or may not be at the school of your choice.

We now have three further objectives to list. These three new objectives are now more specific and measurable.

Now why are you putting yourself through all this analysis and preparation?

Setting objectives will help you to fulfil your side of the eleven plus equation. It will help you to clarify your intentions and it will make it easier for you to gauge the extent to which your intentions have been fulfilled.

So now you need to think of an objective that is readily testable. “By the end of the month you will be able to remember to read instructions twice.” This you can test – and it is achievable.

The value of you preparing objectives of this nature is that your child will have an agreed `Statement of Objectives’. This will give your child a framework of expectations that you and your child have agreed on. If your child has a reading problem then you may have an objective of trying to help your child to choose the sort of books that he or she may enjoy reading. If you set the weighty objective of trying to make your child into a reader as well as passing the eleven plus you may be asking too much of both of you.

If you simply write down all the different topics the two of you are going to study in mathematics and reasoning then all you are doing is working out the course of study your child will follow. Essentially, by writing objectives, you are trying to change your child’s attitude and behaviour. Your objectives could attempt to include the elements of behaviour and attitude.

Another reason for taking the time to write out lists of objectives is that you give your child the power of choice. If you set out objectives to be achieved by a certain date then your child could pick and choose when and how to do the work. This takes the pressure off both of you.

After all, your aim really is to try to help your child to do as well as possible in the eleven plus examinations.

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