The trusted and jealously guarded `successful’ eleven plus super teachers do not possess dark arts – over the years they have proved again and again that they have the ability to help children pass challenging eleven plus examinations. Eleven Plus teachers working on a one to one, or even an individualised basis, use proven techniques of communicating with their pupils. If we could be a fly on the wall during the lesson we could apply a technique called `Interaction Analysis’. This is a continuous record of the activities of the teacher and the pupils.
In one sense the development of an eleven plus lesson needs to follow a series of events which occur one after the other. If the lesson lasts an hour then the teacher sets into motion a chain of events. The eleven plus child, being a child, has the ability to alter the lesson. Eleven plus parents can have input into the lesson – by asking for help with particular problems, seeking advice and offering observations on the progress of their children.
In an ideal situation the `Interaction Analysis’ observer would record the progress of the lesson every few seconds. What some eleven plus parents may want to find out is the ratio of direct teaching to indirect teaching. In direct teaching the teacher talks, lectures and gives directions. Indirect teaching involves the teacher in asking questions, praising and communicating on an informal basis.
Some parents want their children to be lectured. These are the parents who want their child to be told what to do and how to do it. Other parents would want their children to enjoy the freedom to work out answers for themselves – and develop their own strategies for solving problems.
There is no question that anyone can argue that direct teaching is better than indirect learning. In just the same way few would be able to argue about the effectiveness of one `super’ teacher as opposed to another `super’ teacher.
Praises and encourages
Accepts and uses ideas of eleven plus child
Responds to the teacher
Has the freedom to develop ideas
Naturally there will some parents who will want to lecture their children for the duration of the eleven plus. Other parents will try hard to try to be a little more reactive. Most parents will walk a broad line some where between these two extremes.