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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Eleven Plus Intelligence

If only parents knew how to boost a child’s intelligence.

Some parents working with their children will want to be non competitive. “We don’t believe in working through papers towards the eleven plus. If my child passes then that is bonus – but we don’t think that it is right to hot house a child.”

Other parents will be scrapping for every bit of possible advantage. “I don’t mind if he passes, I just want to give him the best possible chance.”

There are even some who approach preparation as if it was a military operation. They leave nothing to chance. There child has every book, every tutor, every on line help and every bit of spare time belonging to mum or dad.

If a parent wanted to try to help their ten year old become a swimmer of note there is a path that many would recognise. The recognised route must be group and individual swimming lessons during the `formative’ years. The child will then eventually arrive in a swimming school where the coach will recognise exceptional talent. The child may progress to the elite squad.

The competitive drive will be honed by a wealth of swimming galas. “Don’t worry dear. Just do the best you can.” The swimming coach will discuss his or her protégée with colleagues. Parents will be given well meaning but conflicting advice from the swimming club secretary, the club chairman, other parents and other coaches. The prospective champion will sail through the maze with a laid back approach – confident in his or her ability and prowess.

Trying to build the ability to pass an eleven plus examination could follow a slightly different path. The screaming, shouting and encouragement that takes place before and during a gala does not take place. Galas come up a regular basis so there is lots of opportunity for a second chance. There is no second chance in an eleven plus examination.

The Eleven Plus is trying to find some form of intelligence or aptitude. Looking at some eleven plus questions is sometimes very difficult to work out just what kind of intelligence is being tested.

Gottfried Reinhardt once said: “There are three kinds of intelligence – the intelligence of man, the intelligence of animals and the intelligence of the military – in that order.” Thank goodness we can jettison the latter two types of intelligence – leaving us with the mysterious intelligence of man.
The problem is that people who do intelligence tests seem to do better on intelligence tests. We presume too that working on verbal reasoning papers helps one to do better in verbal reasoning tests. It had better be right – otherwise think of all those poor children working through paper after paper.

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