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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mothers and the Eleven Plus

Some children must regard writing the eleven plus examination as a rite of passage. Phase One would be `Before the Eleven Plus’ and Phase Two `After the Eleven Plus’. This transition from childhood into adolescence is naturally not restricted to small pockets of England. In Papua New Guinea the course of instruction for boys takes place in men’s house.

The old men, who live in the long house, teach a complicated system of taboo.

There are certain seasons when fish can be caught and eaten.

Certain foods are restricted to key feasts.

Tribal enemies are enemies of every single person.

A wife must be a mother of healthy children.

Marrying a cousin is not allowed.

Stealing is forbidden.

If a man asks for food or water – then give.

If you have a little – give a little.

If you have a lot give half.

Don’t speak bad words to mother.

Our children approach the eleven plus ready to adopt many of these precepts – but have the additional burden of a few more.

Don’t feel, or fall, ill on the day of the eleven plus.

Try to organise your time in order to finish the paper – if possible.

Try not to leave any questions out.

Listen to instructions.

Do not write on the paper – it has to be used again next year.

Do not eat sweets in the examination. This action might put other children off.

Don’t speak bad words to mother.

Different civilizations. Different customs. Different aims. Same common thought: “Don’t speak bad words to mother.”

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