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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eleven Plus English

In one sense the word `got’ is the past tense of the word get.

If we say that a child has got nice eyes we don’t really mean that the child has somehow acquired good looking eyes.

It is obviously school teachers who try to stop school children using the word `got’. Some parents also hate the idea of seeing the word `got’ on the page.

So if your child used `got’ in an Eleven Plus examination would he or she need to be penalised?

Edward Lear has entertained adults and children alike for many years. He introduced new words and some of these have become part of our daily life.

“On the Coast of Coromandel
Where the early pumpkins blow,
In the middle of the woods
Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

So if your child alluded to the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo in an Eleven Plus essay, your average English examiner would immediately recognise the source – and be able to identify the poet.

We may know a lot about words and how they are used but would find it very difficult to be able to write words that many people can identify with. Even worse for some children is that they could pass an English examination by mastering a set of skills yet fail the same examination because they have not absorbed and understood a body of information.

We tell children to read to extend their vocabulary and their ability to think and to reason. We hope that our children will become absorbed in the book and become involved in the characters and the plot. We hope that some stories will evoke an emotional response. Some child will argue that reading simply provokes boredom. So we need to encourage the Eleven Plus child to read as widely as possible – including magazines, newspapers, magazines, novels, reference books and poetry.

We hope that by wide reading our children will be stimulated to write a wide range of English. Some writing could be in the form of a story, while others may choose to write poetry.

But encourage your child to discuss the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo and explain that the word got can be used when nothing else is available or relevant.

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