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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eleven Plus Rewards

“What is a square root?”

“If you multiply a number by itself you find the square. The square root is just one of those numbers.”

“I still don’t understand what you have said. I’m sorry.”

“The square root of 100 is 10.”


“What is the three squared?”


“What is the square root of nine?”


“Would you like to do some more?”

Learning like this is called `signal learning’ and can be likened to learning definitions. If the eleven plus child is willing to learn definitions – and learn to apply them - he or she can acquire some of the tools necessary to pass the eleven plus. Leaning like this does not guarantee that the child will be able to recall what a square root is on the day of the examination. Constant repetition would help!

The constant repetition would help to consolidate remembering the definition. Unless the child became proficient in the application, then it is possible that even an able child could forget under pressure.

What would help considerably are the rewards that could be offered for remembering the definition – and remembering how to apply the definition. Usually a tick beside a piece of work is a strong enough reward.

Sadly bright children become a little bored, sometimes, if too much is made of the task. Parents and teachers sometimes need to wander along a remarkably fine line. No one would argue, however, that reinforcement really does work. Children can learn to develop a successful answering technique through signal learning that could be surprising resistant to becoming extinct!

“What is a squared number?”

“What is a square root?”

Well done!

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