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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Eleven Plus and the Role of Parents

When your child sits the Eleven Plus you hope that the seat is comfortable, the desk is the right size, there is sufficient light, the room is neither too hot nor too cold and there is a reasonable amount of `quiet’ noise.

Way back in 1924 there was an experiment about lighting in America. The study was to do with the optimum amount of light for workers. The results were difficult to follow. The measured output of the test group went up with changes in light. The problem was that the work of the control group also improved. The control group did not have any changes in lighting but their output still improved.

When the lighting of the test group was lowered – the work output improved – but so did that of the control group. These surprising results were called the `Hawthorne Experiment’.

In Eleven Plus terms if parents take an interest in the Eleven Plus preparation their child’s work will improve.

If a child attends a one to one tutor the work will improve.

If a child takes part in individualised learning – the work will improve.

If a child goes on a course – the work will improve.

With a good report from school the child’s work should also improve.

There are so many different variables affecting a child’s progress towards the Eleven Plus. On our course today the children had three different `pep talks’. The first was from a teacher in a local Grammar school – talking about early days in the grammar system. The next talk came from a widely travelled teacher who stimulated the children by telling them about the need for hard work to be able to earn enough money to be able to travel. The third `pep talk’ was from a young woman who had attended a local grammar school, with wonderful results, and had just completed her first year as a medical student. She described cutting up bodies along with a need for unrelenting work.

The `Hawthorne Experiment’ took place at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company in America.

We want all our children to feel inspired, involved, supported and confident.

We just hope that one day they simply: “See the light.”

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