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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eleven Plus Folk Lore

Many years ago, a long time ago, well before the eleven plus was even a twinkle in the eye, people used to pass on folk lore though songs.

Today the folk lore of the eleven plus is passed on at dinner parties, the play ground, forums, blogs and Twitter.

Folk songs were conceived as melodic entities – so it was not essential to have harmony or complex arrangements. Today’s folk songs will often be sung with a full round of accompanying melodies, singers and sometimes even a large band of players. There is still a place, however, for the lone singer captivating our imaginations and holding us enthralled.

Just so with the eleven plus. Some children and families still prefer to work together in a tight unit – relying on books, papers, materials and the internet. Other children (and their parents) prefer work towards the eleven plus in small groups.

What ever the combination that is adopted within a family, eleven plus work has to be harmonious. There has to be give and take and acceptance of strengths and weaknesses. An illustration of the need for good communication can be found in a really old English Folk Song called `The Rich Old Lady’.

There was a rich old lady
In London she did dwell;
She loved her old man dearly,
But another twice as well.

O she went to the doctor’s shop
As hard as she could go,
To see if anything she could find
The make her old man blind.

Sing to the I-ree-O,
Sing to the I-ree-O.

She got two walloping mar’-bones,
She made him eat them all.
He said, Oh my beloved wife,
I can not see you at all.

If I could see my way to go,
I’d go to the river and drown.
She says, I’ll go along with you
For fear you go astray.

O she got up behind him
Just ready for to plunge him in.
He stepped a little to one side
And headlong she went in.

O she began to kick and scream
As loud as she could bawl.
He said; O my dear beloved wife,
I can not see you at all.

He being tender hearted
And thinking she could swim,
He got him a great long pole
And pushed her further in.

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