There are many definitions of being a parent. An eleven plus parent, however, may have to acquire skills that are not always needed by the general public. Ordinary parents do not commonly and routinely need to solve verbal or non verbal reasoning problems. A key proportion of ordinary parents are able breeze through a day without having to explain the relationship between lowest terms, ratio and scale. A significant majority of parents, not withstanding the eleven plus, are able to throw up their hands and mutter about a feeling that being a parent, at times, is just being a glorified social worker.
Social workers play an essential part in today’s society. Social workers do not only have to work with family and group problems involving poverty and handicaps but their remit is much wider – very often they have to help their clients to come to terms with personal change. Even though there are a myriad of specialist roles within the field of social work the great majority of social workers will have studied behavioural scientists and sociologists.
A social worker, however, is not a universal aunt – forced to listen to the problems of other people. Today’s social workers, like most parents, have a remit to help and assist and supply therapeutic comfort when necessary. The case study must surely be the key to learning to understand the problems of others.
It may be possible, at times, to see a relationship between a social worker’s ideals and those of an eleven plus parent. The case study is often undertaken to gather information. An eleven plus case study, for example, might include observations on how ready a child is to commence eleven plus work, willingness of parents to listen, observe and participate, the ability of a child, working and living conditions, quality of schooling, relationships with siblings and financial security. It is possible that a social worker may need to include at least some of these areas in a case study.
There may be a real problem, however, in that it is too easy to generalise when trying to evaluate the effectiveness of a case study. Many teachers, at one time or another, may have been invited to undertake and evaluate a case study as part of their training to be a teacher. Parents, however, have an inbuilt advantage – they live with their potential case study. They know their eleven plus child backwards – but like all parents they have the ability to be pleasantly surprised by their child’s acumen and ability.
What is the Problem?
The Eleven Plus is looming.
What are we are doing to solve the problem?
Papers, books, exercises, gathering information from friends, family, teachers
How are you going to solve the problem – if in fact it exists?
Interest, sympathy, therapy, building relationships, enjoying your child’s company
What do you think the outcomes will be?
Success at the end – we hope!
What were the challenges?
Sifting through all the conflicting information, realising that your sweet eleven plus candidate is growing up very fast. Understanding that you can not hold back change.
What are you going to do between now and the examination?
Lots of positive thinking, continuous prayer and considerable hard and sustained work
Will you do it all again?
Well we may have to – because number two is only a few months away from starting.