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Friday, October 30, 2009

Eleven Plus Health and Safety

There is a game we used to play as children. There must have been many different variations of the game – and a wide variety of popular names.

Two boys stand about a yard from each other. (This would be about a metre in today’s eleven plus parlance.)

Their feet are together.

One boy throws a knife, preferably a sheath knife, so that the point sticks into the ground within a foot of the other boy’s shoe.

The other boy does not move his foot – but he has to grab the handle of the knife – and then has to move his foot to the point where the knife went in. he then holds the blade of the knife and throws it towards his opponent.

If the knife does not stick in the ground then the turn is lost.

If the distance between the knife and the foot is greater than about twelve inches – then the turn is lost.

Once one of the boys can no longer hold a position – because the legs have been driven apart – then the winner can be declared.

There was a variation on the basic game. If a knife landed between the feet of an adversary then the knife thrower could close his feet.

Of course some boys started the game with the legs far apart and then were allowed to close their legs to where the point of the knife landed. Sometimes the point did seem to go very close to a foot!

A different variation was to play the game in bare feet. This added a little sense of adventure!

Answering demanding verbal reasoning questions seems to engender the same sense reckless endeavour.

“Let us try answering `B’ then `B’ then `B’.”

“There was an `A’ then a `B’ then a `C’ so the next answer must be `D’.”

“The “D” option had fewer letters so I went for `D’. I don’t know why, but it seemed a good idea at the time.”

The advent of health and safety, thank goodness, has stopped school children being able to carry a knife. Play ground monitors and staff will certainly, and rightly, cut out any effort to play dangerous games. It may be the last resort of some children lie in the multiple choice elements of the eleven plus examinations. Some multiple choice examinations seem to throw a whole set of seemingly unrelated questions at a child – and then expect the child to keep cool under pressure. When your eleven plus child closes his or her eyes - and lunges at the right answer to a multiple choice question – then he or she is playing no less dangerous a game.

Read the question. Re read the question. Eliminate answers which simply can not be correct. Try then to make an educated guess rather than a stab in the dark.

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