“How is he doing?”
Many parents approach their child’s teacher or tutor with these words. This is a very complex question and very few professionals will give their opinion lightly. There are a number of variables that need to be taken into account. So when your child’s teacher or tutor answers you, then you can be sure that you have been offered a thoughtful reply
You could grade your question according to the following criteria:
The teacher may make a casual sounding observation: “Oh yes, he is doing well.”
The teacher, on the other hand, may make a more controlled and qualified answer: “In comparison to other children in the class, he is doing very well.”
Your teacher may go on the make a more clinical observation: “Well, your son achieved 93% - and no one else in the class reached over 72%. This means that in Eleven Plus terms he is doing well.”
You could hear: “We are working on an Eleven Plus paper – and 55% is very good – for your child.”
Then again you could be offered an opinion that you may not want to hear: “I think that you will need to give that cricket bat that you offered for progress. He has done very well.”
There was a famous American psychologist called Skinner. He had many theories on school and children. He wrote:
“In an American School if you ask for salt in good French, you get an `A’. In France you get the salt.”
Many parents are trying to enrich and enhance their child’s education by working as a part of an extended team towards the Eleven Plus. The goal of most parents, however, is not the `A’ grades, or `He is doing well,’ but the actual passing of the examination.
If you ask how your child is doing you may be given the answer that he or she is an `A’ grade pupil.
What you really want to know is if your child will pass the Eleven Plus.
Perhaps the questions should be: “How is he doing in his attempts to pass the Eleven Plus.” This way you may actually get the salt.