Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Eleven Plus Excellence

Can we ask a typical teacher to write eleven plus materials?

Can we ask an experienced eleven plus teacher to write eleven plus materials?

Should we expect an educational psychologist to write eleven plus materials?

Who can write eleven plus materials?

The eleven plus is a rather specialised examination – covering a remarkably narrow field – but in great depth. It may be felt by a minority that a classroom teacher lacks the special skills and training which is outside of the reach of most classroom teachers. This is, however, patently untrue. Thousands of parents quite rightly trust the training and expertise of the classroom teacher. Understanding the entire process of writing extra curricular materials and developing a strategy to assess the value of the materials to eleven plus children does, however, become an important consideration. What is the right tool at the right time?

The worthy men and women who prepare eleven plus materials do not need to question the criteria which determines the selection of content. The content of the actual eleven plus is prepared by eminently qualified and experienced psychologists and educators. It is not the role of the examiner to look at the preparation a child needs – their task is to set fair and proper examinations that do the job of selection. No more or no less than the selection of fit and proper grammar school children is demanded of the examination.

When a parent ask asks the class room teacher – how well is my child doing? Where else does my child need to do to fill missing areas? The teacher, in one sense, is being asked to come up with a list of topics where the child may need immediate help, long term assistance or even a few kindly pointers. One wonderful aspect of the eleven plus year is that the eleven plus child is changing at an astonishingly rapid rate. The carefully prepared list, supplied by the teacher, may be out of date or redundant in a few hours or days.

Once the teacher has supplied the list of topics to be covered to the parent – then a lot of different criteria need to swing into place. Do we have the right materials at home to cover the contents of the list? How well will the highly respected eleven plus teacher take to being told what to do? Some parents will welcome the challenge and set out gather the information and work out what their child needs. The problem comes when the following sequence takes place:


Scene 1

A teacher and a mother are standing outside the classroom.

My daughter will be taking the eleven plus later this year. What does she need to concentrate on? How is she doing?

She is doing well. She is on the top table for most subjects and she works hard.

Thank you. Are there any gaps we need to go over?

I can prepare a few sheets for her to do after school if you like.

Oh, thank you. And thank you for your time.

A pleasure.

The teacher and the mother part. The teacher walks into the classroom to find suitable materials before she forgets. The mother to greet her daughter – and say that the teacher says she is doing well.

Has the mother heard what she wants to hear or what she needs to hear?

To do the eleven plus job well a family needs time, love and money. Sadly excellence always costs money as well as effort.

No comments: