Elements of the eleven plus are to do with `functional autonomy’. If your child works through a paper in an autonomic manner you hope you know that he or she is working with due thought. Elements of functional autonomy, however, are to do with resisting change to habits. Quite plainly if the eleven plus child is left to work though paper after paper then he or she may enter the actual examination and work through the paper without much thought or ambition.
As adults we often resist attempts to change our behaviour. An example is expecting an eleven plus child to complete question after question in the hope that this extra practice will build habits to be exhibited in the examination.
Some parents may possibly expect their child to approach every paper enthusiastically and diligently – and not want to take on board that their child may `really and truly’ not be in the mood.
There will be some parents who feel that a one to one session with a tutor is the only way to work towards the eleven plus. Other parents will prefer to work on their own with their child. Yet other parents believe that their child will work best if he or she is with other children working towards similar goals. Some will combine these elements and add their own insight into their child.
There is a lot to be said for the elements of social facilitation – or esprit de corps – which has carried a wide number of people through a broad variety of events. We know, for example, that teams that bond together are often able to go on to reach great heights.
Most parents will be able to recall eleven plus sessions where the family came together to solve an eleven plus problem. It may have been a tricky verbal reasoning question, or a non verbal reasoning where it looked as if the answer book was wrong – or even a problem in mathematics that no one could solve. These special moments add to the great eleven plus recipe. There can be little place for autonomy in a true eleven plus family!