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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Voice of the Eleven Plus

We all use different tones of voice at different stages of the day. An eleven plus child would need to concentrate in different way to the following vocal cadences.

“Come on. It is time to go. Turn the T.V. off and pick up your bag. Come on!”

“Of course dear, there is nothing I would like better. That is so thoughtful of you. Thank you once again.”

We punctuate our speech and language with the voice. Parents are very aware that a moment of silence is often remarkably persuasive – sometimes even more effective than a shout. With some children a few seconds of silence in the house – punctuated by the slam of the car door – can galvanise even the hardest headed and recalcitrant child.

Parents also use the dreaded `episcopal boom’ in during attempts at effective and directive conversations with their children. This is when parents make their voices sonorous and meaningful. The boom is not usually used when asking for the salt to be passed – but is employed when trying to make a child appreciate the importance of completing an eleven plus paper. “But it is for your own good!”

There is also the artificially sweet tone of voice which can be used in a pleading or soulful manner. “Please dear, you only need to complete another few questions and we have got that nasty paper out of the way. Just think you will be able to watch your favourite programme. Please dear, just try to make me happy.”

A different technique employed by parents is to make utterances in a monotonous manner.

“Now dear, it is 4.18 precisely. Verbal Reasoning Paper 2, question 23 to 48. You time starts now.”

“But mum!”

“No buts – questions 23 to 48. You are using up your time.”

“But mum, you never look at me when you are telling me what to do. I am not a machine. I can’t even do question 23 or question 24. You know that. That is why we stopped yesterday. Please mum.” (Breaks down sobbing piteously.)

Being an eleven plus tutor and a parent is not always an easy path – but it is a rewarding experience. “Dad! Dad! I know how to do it now. Please come and look. I know how to do it! Thanks.”

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