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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Quicksand of the Eleven Plus

We were doing compound words today and a rapid fire discussion came up with a wide range of suggestions. A word that was mooted, rejected and accepted was `quicksand’. An explanation was offered and considered. Quicksand quickly became a primary topic.

The general consensus was that quicksand should be avoided because it could be fatal. What could be done if one did land up in quicksand?

Step 1
Don’t panic too much. Lie back in the mud with your arms outstretched. This could help to distribute the weight.

Step 2
Keep your haversack on as this could help with buoyancy.

Step 3
Try, very slowly, to pull your feet out of the mire. Don’t make any fast movements at all.

Step 4
Use your arms and legs as paddles and move slowly.

Some of the children understood the moral of the discussion very quickly. Your son or daughter may understand the need to move slowly in parts of the examination – and to think before any uncalled for movement of the pencil on paper.

The word `quicksand’ may remind your son or daughter to try to keep his or her head above water – and not to panic – unless it is absolutely necessary.

In the country side quicksand can be recognised by back stretches of ground with little vegetation.

In an eleven plus examination quicksand can be recognised by losing concentration and not reading the questions carefully and thinking clearly.

In the country side quicksand is found, sometimes, under green expanses covered by moss.

It is very difficult for a child to carry a stick into an eleven plus examination – but if he or she did then the physical passage of the stick into the examination may be mired in the quicksand of disbelief.

“Why are you carrying that stick into the examination?”

“My Dad said so.”

“Why did your Dad tell you to bring a stick into the examination?”

“In case I got stuck in potential quicksand areas. The stick is to remind me to move slowly and carefully and to read questions carefully.”

“Oh well, I suppose it can’t harm. Come on then, but be very careful.”

Common sense will, in the end, prevail.

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