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Monday, October 05, 2009

Eleven Plus Fears

It only happens very occasionally – but when it does occur it is a bit of a shock. Who could imagine that a bright, alert and loving eleven plus child could actually grumble, every so slightly, about doing an eleven plus exercise?

We know that the fear of the unknown can cause tension.

Back during the First World War there was a wide spread rumour that Russian soldiers, with snow on their boots, were marching through England. The story goes that even the Germans believed the tale – and altered their plans accordingly.

H.G. Wells wrote the War of the Worlds. Orson Welles broadcast a radio program based on this book in 1938 which caused widespread panic and fear. Radio listeners were terrified to hear that the Martians were coming.

There are of course other dramatic stories and events, associated with stress that have affected mankind. We know, for example, how easy it is to transfer our stress to our dogs. A dog will alter his behaviour and even break down when the stress levels climb too high.

As the dog begins to exhibit signs of stress it is evident that there will be changes in patterned behaviour. A dog, for example, may start barking a little more often than usual. It is not hard to imagine that a dog’s resistance to stress can be lowered by factors like fatigue or drugs.

To avoid stress parents and children have to temper the eleven plus experience with a little circumspect caution. Some examples:

Don’t believe everything you hear or see about the dates of the examination and the content of the papers. (The stories may have been originated by Martians.)

Don’t let your child stay up too late at night and this become over fatigued.

If you hear a story that the new style eleven plus examinations have been set by Russians – simply apply a little caution. (Even if the Russians have snow on their feet.)

If your child starts grumbling a little more often – try not to bark at your child too much – but think of ways of covering the work without stress.

It is highly responsible of parents to fear the unknowns of the eleven plus experience. It is possible much less satisfactory if those same parents are responsible for passing their fears onto their children.

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