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Friday, February 19, 2010

Eleven Plus and Forgetting

Back in the 1960s the Nuffield Mathematics project was the next big hope in raising standards of mathematics. The key to the project were the words:

I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I do and I understand.

Major debates raged when compulsory education was established in England around 1880. Schooling for all was supposed to help to fight crime and pauperism. Teachers were charged with educating their children to adopt good habits and wide reading. Children were supposed to read the Bible. The theory was that reading the Bible would help their morals.

I once met a mother who divulged how she helped her twelve year old son to combat dyslexia. They sat together every day and read passages from the Bible – on a word by word basis - but backwards.

Understand I and do I
Remember I and see I
Forget I and hear I.

An adaptation of this technique may help some children who are inclined to rush questions. “Slow down, read the question word by word. What are you looking for?”

“When you are trying to solve a problem it can help to work backwards. What is the question asking?”

Which letter of the alphabet comes straight after the third letter of the tenth word?

To answer this question the eleven plus child has to find the tenth word – and then count three letters before solving the answer.

Perhaps when the errant eleven plus child is showing a remarkable unwillingness understand a question – and the patience of the every loving parent is about to disappear in a cloud of fury – there could a reason for moments of contemplation.

We are working towards the eleven plus to try to help my child to do as well as possible academically.

We want our child to have good habits – and lead a life far from poverty and uncertainty.

We wish that our child would read a little wider – even some `improving’ books.

As a parent I must remember to help my child through eleven plus work by encouraging him or her to do more – without having to listen too much to me. (I hear and I forget.)

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