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Friday, October 12, 2007

Reading Eleven Plus Questions

My wife’s father worked on radar during the Second World War. He was a tool maker. Tool makers are given the drawings and instructions – and their role is to fashion the components – from moulds implements.

The word `radar’ is an abbreviated form of the name `radio detecting and ranging’. Radio waves are sent out by a powerful transmitter. When the waves collide with a solid object they bounce back and can be collected by a receiving set. The set and the transmitter are usually in the same place.

You can tell how far away the obstacle is by the calculating how long it takes for a signal to come back.

We use radar everywhere – airports, tracking satellites and even by the police to detect speeding cars.

So when you child misses an easy question and you remark, `You must be as blind as bat!’ you need to think about the poor maligned bat. All the bat has done is to send a little sound – and then receive the signal back on two little antennae – rather like ears. So to compare your poor eleven plus child to a little furry creature is really unfair.

A bat send out between ten and a hundred bursts of sound a second. Your eleven plus child may read the question only once! Some eleven plus children may not even read the question before they start to develop an answer.

Think of the poor bat. It has been hanging upside down all day. It is flying in darkness. It is sending out hundreds of little squeaks very few seconds. Your eleven plus child has it easy. You have not made your love one hang upside down. (Even though you may feel like it at times.) You allow your child to work in the best possible light. You do not force you child to make hundreds of little noises.

So the very next time you are minded to remark about reading questions carefully: “Oh you really as blind as a bat!” please take a little pause and allow yourself and your child to be very, very grateful!

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