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Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Wonder of the Eleven Plus

I wonder how many children who have been encouraged to spend a year of their lives working through Eleven Plus verbal reasoning papers ever land up reading and writing poetry?

Take for example Sir John Betjeman 1906 – 84 who wrote:

Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J Hunter Dunn,

Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot’s sun,

What strenuous singles we played after tea,

We in the tournament – you against me.

One way and another I am sure that all of us will remember the last verse:

And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,

And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.

We sat in the car park till twenty to one

And now I am engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

A cautionary tale to every young man! An easily understandable story to every bright eleven year old girl! I doubt that he worked through any eleven plus papers when he was eleven.

So if some eleven year old brains can easily abstract verbal and literary concepts I wonder why all eleven plus children have to be able to cope with questions like these:

Fill in the missing number or sign:

4 ____ 3 ____ 9 ____ = 16.

The two types of thinking are completely different. If one form is acceptable in an Eleven Plus examination I wonder why the other isn’t?

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