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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eleven Plus Change

It is hard for children to understand what changes they will undergo as they work through an intensive Eleven Plus course. On a day to day basis the outside of the children may look different because of changes of clothes. We hope that inside they gradually realise that they can cope with the examination.

When children come on an intensive course parents hope that their children will benefit from a period of concentrated work. Parents also want their children to do as well as possible. What is certain is that the children will change in one way or another. Some children will have the additional boost of being able to quantify the feeling. “I can do well in a competitive examination.”

The causes of the change in children over three days will be many and varied. Some children will realise that they can answer some questions better than other children. A different cause could be the reaffirmation of words so often said by teachers, family and parents: “You are a clever child. Look how well you have done.”

I watched a boy today who scored a goal at break time. All the players applauded his effort. He returned to work in silence and was highly attentive. The goal had given him praise from his peers. He felt good about himself. His work improved.

Years ago I remember reading the analogy of the iron bar. An iron bar is not simply an iron bar – it has the ability to change. We can bend an iron bar, it will rust and it can be welded. We don’t want to bend our children, or allow then to rust or have a need to weld them. What we want is an individual who is always changing and reacting.

We hope that the children are able to sustain effort and interest right up to the examination. We don’t want children to become tired of doing Eleven Plus practice papers – we do want a sense of freshness and adventure.

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