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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eleven Plus Tables

There have been many different theories about why King Arthur had a round table. One reason that is often given is that King Arthur wanted a round table to that there was no question of dominance. Every knight was supposed to be of equal importance.

The problem with this theory came in the relative distance of the knights from their King. The closer the knight sat to the King, the more trusted and `in favour’ he was.

We are sometimes given glimpses into the world of Number 10. We are offered a view of our leader sitting at a rectangular table surrounded by hench men and women. Sometimes (very occasionally) there are smiles.

Children at school sometimes sit in formal rows. At other times they are gathered into little groups of tables. Sometimes the groups reflect status – as in the top group for mathematics. (“I am not so good at the eleven plus because I am only in the middle group.”)

Where your child sits at home to do eleven plus work can also, to a degree reflect how the family react to the importance of the occasion. One child could feel put upon by being banished to the bedroom to work, while another might relish the opportunity to escape from the normal mayhem of the average household.

Most eleven plus children will be able to find some space to work. Some may have to tidy their books and papers away from the dining room table, while others will have access to their own desk and chair.

To stop children feeling bored while working through papers some parents find it helpful to keep ringing the changes. “We only need to spend ten minutes on this mathematics, as we are going onto verbal reasoning.”

Imagine if your child could have his or her own sushi bar for eleven plus work. Exercises would drift pass – open at the page. An eleven plus hand would reach out a grab hold of a reasoning exercise. A few examples could then be done by the time the revolving bar returned. Surely this would keep the interest up? Surely too the continuous revolution would help to add a touch of urgency to the proceedings?

Sometimes very bright children just have to work at the same pace as the rest of the class at school. With the very best will in the world no teacher can offer your child a diet of fresh, new and exciting work in every single lesson. When you are working with your child at home it is sometimes difficult not to get drawn into a scenario where your child works purposely and steadily – but slowly – through an exercise. There will be occasions when your every breath is fighting not to encourage your child to work at a faster pace. “Oh darling, I do wish you would work a little faster. You have been on that question for at least ten minutes. Please try to work a little faster.” The alternative is: “Look, just finish the work so we can get on with the rest of our lives!”

It does not really matter whether your child sits at a round, square or rectangular table. The table can be stationary or even revolve. Your child could sit peacefully or exhibit passive resistance – and at the time it doesn’t really matter - so long as the work gets done.

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