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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Three Eleven Plus Questions

Three Eleven Plus Questions

How much does the present eleven plus take into account the advances that have been made in the past fifty years?

Is the present system of eleven plus examinations out of touch with present educational practices within schools?

Is the internet playing a part in developing a system of mechanical rules and techniques without fostering genuine understanding?

It is likely that all three questions are inter-related.

Eleven plus questions can be couched in simple terms – be it on paper or through the internet. We would hope that an eleven plus child can offer a verbal answer or explanation if he or she offers the wrong answer. This is where a mother or father – or the teacher / tutor can best help by listening, evaluating and guiding. One method of teaching that tries to take into account the benefits of the internet, the active participation by parents and the intervention of skilled teachers, is through live on-line lessons.

A perfectly plausible eleven plus question, that may evoke fond memories in the minds of some eleven plus parents, revolves around wine.

A full rounded bottle contains enough wine to fill six glasses. (Here serious champagne mothers and fathers will know this as a `Rehoboam’.

How many glasses could you fill from a bottle twice as tall and twice as large?

Of course a pen and paper test could explain that because the bottle is round, its width is also its breadth. It is therefore twice as broad, twice as wide and twice as tall s the smaller bottle. The bottle therefore holds 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 times as much. In wine terms this is two Nebuchadnezzars along with one Methuselah. An answer posted on the internet can also explain how many bottles.

The internet, however, can not account for the blush on a mother’s face as she described how one day, back before she had children, and even before she was married to the children’s father she – and two others – worked their way through two Magnums one summer’s evening.

The dear eleven plus child will immediately ask: “How many bottles of champagne was that?”

The shamefaced answer: “Four.”

“Mother, how many glasses was that?”

“They were rather large glasses – and there were three of us – so we stopped counting after a bit.”

No book or internet program can allow a mother’s fond recollections of a warm summer’s evening to be held up for scrutiny.

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