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Friday, April 15, 2011

Eleven Plus Responsibility

There is a term used in education which some teachers use when talking about structuring what, when and how their children learn. It is called `pedagogical control’. Pedagogy, as we all know, is to do with the science or profession of teaching. Control, in eleven plus terms, is how we manage events or happenings.

“Dear, it is time to do a little extra work on your verbal reasoning.”

“But Mum, I have already done all the papers. I am bored of doing them.”

“We have already discussed this. Practice and repetition helps you to improve.”

We know that preparing for the eleven plus means that we all need to follow reasonably similar lines of development. Although some may want to be independent – in the final analysis we can not go off into random areas because we need to prepare impressionable minds for a highly structured, but remarkably narrow, examination.

“In the verbal reasoning papers you will be taking there are a set number of topics you need to follow. Don’t waste your time doing extra exercises.”

“But, Mum, it is fun to try something new. I have done all the different types of verbal reasoning questions. Is there nothing new and interesting?”

Of course there will be linkages and developments outside of the conventional path we all need to follow – but most parents helping their children towards the eleven plus do not need to feel that they are being supervised. They will know that their bright ten year old has to be treated as an independent learner.

“No dear, no one will look at the work we are doing together. I do not need to show this work to anyone at all.”

“But Mum, I am so proud of this work. I know you don’t want to talk to anyone about what we are doing but I am bursting to tell my best friends.”

With all this in mind it is the child who needs to feel disciplined about study – and not the parent. The parent’s role in the eleven plus journey is to manage and help their child where possible. Their ten year old needs to feel that he or she is able to control what is being learnt.

“You need to do the work. I have already completed my studies. I will help you – but you need to take full responsibility.”

However `progressive’ some parents may want to feel about matters outside of the eleven plus – under the umbrella of the eleven plus children and parents all need to follow a remarkably similar course.

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