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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Eleven Plus Syllabus

A famous psychologist called J. S. Bruner, although an American would have influenced the education of many of the people reading this account. He was concerned, among other things, with trying to make the curriculum better.

In his book: ‘The Process of Education’ he argued that teaching specific topics or skills without making their context in the broader fundamental structure of the field of knowledge is uneconomical.

In Eleven Plus Terms this is like expecting a child to pass an Eleven Plus examination by working purely through a prescribed range of selection papers.

In the first place it makes it very difficult for the eleven plus child to be able to generalise from what he or she has learnt to what will be encountered later.

In a selection paper there could be a question about division of fraction before a question on lowest terms. Most teachers would agree that it is probably better for the child to have a working knowledge of lowest terms before tackling division of fractions.

If a child feels that a subject is worth knowing then he or she may be in a position to make the knowledge usable is a different situation.

A child may know, for example, that Area = Length times Width, but may be unsure of how to multiply out the area of a shape that 3⅜ cms x 2⅝ cms. To achieve the correct answer a child needs to know what an improper faction is. The mixed number has to be changed to an improper to top heavy fraction. Some children may immediately change the fractions to decimal fractions. We would thus have 3.375 times 2.625. This combination of numbers may be easier for some to handle.

If a child does not have a coherent collection of skills then it is likely that the child, even a very bright eleven plus child, will forget what has been learnt.

Eleven Plus parents who work with their children may find that they are best served by followed a recognised Eleven Plus syllabus.

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