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Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Rights and Wrongs of the Eleven Plus

It is likely that at this time of year that some parents’ minds may turn to the type of career that their eleven plus child could enjoy in years to come. We could do worse that to reflect on the ups and downs, as well as the trials and tribulations, of Pip in Great Expectations.

We all know the story. Pip came to believe that he would one day be the recipient of `Great Expectations’. Of course he had the faithful backing of Joe and Biddy. He also learnt to pay full respect to Magwitch. Naturally his mind was messed around with by Estella – but that is the lot of many men.

Pip left England and `lived frugally and paid his debts’.

He worked for a concern that had to labour for profits.

He was fortunate that his partner was cheerfully industrious and ready to work.

He then reached an important conclusion. Perhaps this has a resonance to all of us in eleven plus terms?

(Volume 3 – Chapter 6) “I often wondered how I conceived that old idea of his inaptitude, until one day enlightened by the reflection that perhaps the inaptitude had never been in him at all, but had been in me.”

What do eleven plus children think of us as they see us struggling with some rather difficult eleven plus questions? Do they sometimes feel that we are inept? Are eleven plus children ever offered the time to reflect? Could an eleven plus child ever accept that he or she could be wrong?

Every eleven plus parent will immediately, and rightly, answer `Yes’ to all and any of the questions. Some may even be prepared to ask their children.

“When we are doing eleven plus work, do you ever feel that I do not know all the answers?

“Would you like some time to think about all the work you have to do for the eleven plus?”

“Do you ever think that I could be right and you could be wrong?

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