Some parts of the present eleven plus syllabus seem to be based on the nineteenth century curriculum which was built around the theory of `transfer of training’. This nineteenth century school of thought was that if a child acquired `mental discipline’ or was `trained formally’ then this could be applied to any other field.
Over the years there have been many instances of young men and women being thrust into challenging position by virtue of their education. We can look, for example, at the number of Prime Ministers that have been educated at Eton. Years ago these prime ministers would have been educated mainly in the classics. The concept of transfer of training’ was supposed to carry into other fields of leadership and endeavour.
Today we work on some rather specious verbal reasoning questions – especially those taken from venerable sources – and must wonder how this `transfer of training’ is supposed to work in the actual examination. We expect children to solve questions and problems on eleven plus papers – and then apply this knowledge in the actual examination.
We all hope that working through paper after paper will be of benefit in the examination. If would be wonderful if some erudite scholar could work out a formula where children could apply to spend as little time as possible on eleven plus work.