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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Eleven Plus and the Stars

Has anyone ever seen an eleven plus child who moved slowly? Surely a bright and active brain will lead to a bright and active child?

Watch your child in a variety of situations.

Working on an eleven plus paper
You may see some or even a combination of the activities including great concentration, rapid eye movements, a steady shifting of limbs and a display of co-ordination and ability. You may even feel that your child looks to be intelligent and able.

Listening to your explanation of an error
The head, sometimes, shakes from side to side. There are involuntary movements of the limbs – almost as if your child is trying to escape. You may see a broad smile and even receive a well earned `high five’ if you offer a worthy explanation.

Talking about the Eleven Plus to a much loved grand mother
A calm relaxed body, slow and evenly modulated speech and striking evidence of a general desire to please.

In other words your eleven plus child will surely, and confidently, adapt to a variety of situations. The behaviour will be like that of a chameleon – along with mood swings and displays of attitude.

Even while your child is working confidently through an `easy’ eleven plus paper you will see familiar little work habits. For some it could be eating hair, other will make little grimaces on demanding questions; some will throw an episodic tantrum which could blow over as quickly as it emerged. Your child will be experiencing a riot of emotions – ranging from relief that the paper appears to be reasonable, to content in answering a question correctly and then to frustration when an answer appear to be elusive.

Back in 1796 an astronomer at the Greenwich Observatory dismissed his assistant because there seemed to be a purposeful delay of a second every time the cross-hair in a telescope fastened onto a star. The poor assistant’s reactions were simply slower than the astronomer.

If your child is one second out on each eleven plus question – then that should not make much difference over a whole paper. Spending a minute on each question could, however, affect the result.

When your child enters the examination room there is little that you can do affect the end result. Helping your child to relax, read questions carefully and adopt a measured cadence to answering questions could help.

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