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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Eleven Plus Thoughts

We are in Stratford today.

I wonder what Shakespere would have thought about the Eleven Plus?

To talk and think about Shakespeare some of us may need to return to school days and the different works we were expected to study, learn and comment on.

Few of us will have difficulty in working out which play the following words come from:

When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightening or in rain?

We know that this comes from one of the witches in Macbeth. If one of the Eleven Plus question writers was allowed to dabble with Shakespeare wile writing an Eleven Plus question, the final question would probably look like:

Fill in the missing word:

When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightening or in rain?

a. heat b. rain c. depth d. funny

From Hamlet we could get a question:

Good night sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

The Eleven Plus question would be:

If the code for GOOD is hppe what is the code for REST?

If thousands of children writing Eleven Plus examinations across England were encouraged to learn Shakespeare in order to write the examinations, there would need to be a change of attitude towards Shakespeare.

Parents would buy books, CDs, DVDs and question papers. Mothers and fathers would discuss Shakespeare in the playground. Eleven Plus teachers would need to revisit Shakespeare and broaden their teaching. Children would be encouraged to learn quotes and passages. There would be a genuine air of excitement. It would all be spoiled, however, by the question writers who would not be able to resist setting some irrelevant questions.

Some of our youngsters may enjoy what Cornwall had to say to his servants in King Lear:

Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
Upon the dunghill.

Some may also tremble when they read about Cornwall pulling out Gloucester’s other eye:

Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?

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