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Monday, December 21, 2009

Selling the Eleven Plus

Every now and then parents may need to resell the idea of the eleven plus to their children. Parents may need to think carefully before rushing in to try to provide easy solutions. There is nothing mystic about much of the content of the eleven plus. Children do actually pass the examination! The problem is that there is no glory in being hindmost.

Step 1 – Try to avoid `if only’ statements. “If you work hard and pass your eleven plus, you will go to grammar school.” Your child may prefer a much more achievable target – with a much shorter time span. “If you complete ten more questions you will feel that you have achieved something.”

Step 2 – Start with small steps with your child – but do not give up on thinking big. “We are going to try to do a little nearly every day.”

Step 3 – Focus on steps that are concrete and important – it is no good reiterating goals that are abstract and rather vague.

Step 4 – Build a vision in your child’s mind – but not an impossible dream.

Step 5 – Build an eleven plus team with family and friends. Do not try to take the whole weight of the eleven plus on your shoulders.

Some parents may sometimes be tempted to frighten their children with `what ifs’. “This is a competitive examination. You need to pass because you are not offered a second chance. If you do not pass you will need to go to that school down the road. You need to pass, you can not afford to try to be on the waiting list.”

There is a saying that we are well aware of – but perhaps should not be used when discussing the eleven plus with your children. “The Devil Catch the Hindmost.”

It is said that when a class of students have made certain progress in their mystic studies, they are obliged to run through a subterranean hall. The last one is seized by the devil – and thus becomes his imp.

This allegory may not be a good eleven plus selling point!

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