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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chalk, the New Year and the Eleven Plus

Some relations are difficult to build. One enduring association is that of the teacher, a blackboard and a piece of chalk. Of course today’s children are more likely to watch their teacher using a whiteboard.

Chalk, however, has many uses. Snooker players would be in big trouble without being able to use chalk at the end of their cues. We have a huge shopping centre in Kent called Bluewater. The centre is built in a large chalk pit. Chalk is used in the manufacture of cement. Old fashioned remedies for upset tummies in children often had chalk as a basis of the `cure’.

Teacher has long believed in `Chalk and Talk’. The internet offers teachers opportunities to address a much wider audience than a class of children. The internet must encourage some eleven plus teachers to rethink their roles.

The internet gives parents the opportunity to communicate with other parents on a wide range of topics. Parents too can share experiences with their children at the cutting edge of the `Chalk Face’. We surmise that the chalk face is an allusion to the miners digging on the coal face. Some teachers, and possibly some parents, like to believe that teaching children is as hard work as hewing out lumps of coal.

Working through some eleven plus topics is hard work for children and parents alike.

This being New Year’s Eve we need to be cheerful. There is a phrase: “I can walk a chalk as well as you.” When men drank too much on ships of yore they were required to walk along a line chalked to the deck. Perhaps before driving home a chalk line can be drawn???

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