Perhaps the most important and subtle factor influencing an eleven plus child is his or her valuation of personal self esteem. The factor of self esteem will affect an eleven plus child at school, in lessons, at home, with peers, siblings and especially parents.
Many bright and able children do have a competitive streak where success gives pleasure. Approval from others is vital to a child’s well being. Failure can lead to feelings of misery and despair.
An eleven plus teacher, be it an outside person or a member of the family, will need to maintain discipline, teach effectively and above all communicate. We all know just how hard it is to communicate when nothing seems to be coming back. Verbal approval then becomes as essential as breathing. On our eleven plus courses we often see children responding to their peers – even though the other children may have come from different schools, home environments and even have different eleven plus aspirations.
On the one hand an eleven plus child wants to be independent and have a feeling of control – while on the other hand he or she may feel uncomfortable if there is too much variance from the conventions of the other children. On a recent course one bright little girl arrived on the first day of the course dressed just like all the other children. On day two she was going to a party – so arrived in a party dress, high heels and a touch of lipstick. On day three she was back in the pack. Can you guess which day she did not feel like much work? On which day did hardly anyone talk to her? (She looked fantastic in her party outfit.)