Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Eleven Plus Selection

I have in my possession a 1901 copy of `A FIRST LATIN COURSE’ (Thirty-Eighth Edition) by the late Sir William Smith. The book is a little battered now but it carries the name `Aubrey E Carr’.

It is pleasant to think of grammar school children over many years learning Latin. I wonder which school `Aubrey E Carr’ attended. Did a deep seated love of the language evolve? Did `Aubrey E Carr’ every use anything at all from all the hours of study? The book does not claim any thing more than: “For the Use of the Lower Forms in Public and Private Schools”.

A quote from the preface reads: “In some cases boys had been compelled to commit to memory all the grammatical forms and syntactical rules without having their knowledge tested by practical application.”

As I looked through some verbal reasoning questions with a very bright nine year old today I was struck by the fact that this boy was gaining knowledge without any practical application.

Page 4 of the primer reads: “When two Nouns in Latin are connected by the verb `to be,’ they are put in the same case: as Britannia est insula, Britain is an island.

I hesitate to copy out the section of the verbal reasoning we were working on today for two reasons. The first is a fear of breaching copyright. The second is that many parents will immediately identify the section.

In one hundred years time some parents may look back on work produced for past generations of Eleven Plus children. The parents could come across some of the content of an `Eleven Plus Primer’. They would turn to each other and say: “How on earth did children manage to be educated to a good standard when they were faced with such an arcane method of selection?”

No comments: