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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eleven Plus Chances

It is easy for eleven plus parents to wonder just how their children are going to learn all the different topics involved with any eleven plus work. There is usually, however, some light at the end of the tunnel.

Children are learning all the time. They have learnt to walk and to talk. They have learnt, at every young age, how to manipulate their parents. There have been almost countless learning milestones. Parents will proudly remember when their precocious child’s first solo bicycle ride. What about the thrill when their child first swam 5 metres without the benefit of training aids.

Of course the eleven plus has questions that need to be answered, but essentially eleven plus children are on a steep learning curve. Most parents and children manage to hold on.

Parents will, quite rightly, have multiple opinions on the fairness and the validity of the eleven plus. They will also have many views on the eleven plus itself. After all their children will need to `learn’ the division facts tables before they will be able to cope comfortably with bringing a fraction to lowest terms – or working out a ratio in lowest terms.

Some eleven plus children will learn to play chess. These children will be able o bring attributes of patience, sportsmanship, cunning, forbearance, skill and ability to trying to solve eleven plus problems. Chess playing children have to learn rules and moves. Children who play chess will understand `Queens Gambit Declined’ and `Two Knights Defence’. Learning to play chess may not help to answer a specific question in an eleven plus examination – but can demonstrate a willingness to learn and compete.

An eleven plus child may suddenly find that he is learning to beat his father or mother play an involved computer game. Some children will demonstrate this ability well ahead of their tenth birthday!

A two year old can learn how to insert a DVD – and then press the PLAY button. Few parents will sit down and deliberately try to teach their two year old but will be delighted when the child demonstrates that the skill has been learnt.

Somewhere during the course of the eleven plus adventure the child will become more and more aware that all the learning that has been offered – and received – is starting to have an impact. Being able to answer a certain type of verbal reasoning question does not come about by accident.

Of course parents are aiming at building their child’s confidence before the examination. The more the child learns to cope with eleven plus work the greater the chance the child has to be able to reproduce what has been learnt in the examination.

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