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Saturday, October 01, 2011

A Calculator and the Eleven Plus

Eleven plus learning takes place under the guise of many hats. Some families, may, over the approaching half term, choose to use the conversion of pounds into euros as an eleven plus learning experience. Other families may simply want to have a good rest from `all the eleven plus stuff’.

One method of delivering eleven plus work to children can be labelled under the heading of: `Transmission Model’. Here the learning is mostly under the care of the teacher or parent. Eleven plus papers can also be looked on, by some, as promoting the transmission of information. Children can faced with a veritable multitude of questions and then urged to answer as many questions as possible in a relatively short time. (Pressure! Pressure!) The teacher, parents, C.D., or the internet based program, has to deliver a reason for a correct answer – and has to ensure that the child understands the torrent of words.

Children building their eleven plus year through a `Constructivist Model’ have to assume that their eleven plus knowledge is built up through many levels of learning.

An example could come from a child learning a second language at home. The child may sometimes hear the same object described in either of two languages. Layer by layer the dual language is established and consolidated. At school, however, the teacher has to ensure that the class learn to speak and understand. “There is an examination at the end of the course! Children, for homework you have to learn these ten words. I will test you tomorrow.”

It may be very useful, when the family goes on holiday, if the eleven plus student can be cast as a living calculator! “Dear, is this wine at a discount price of $11.67 better value than this one in the pretty bottle?”

Thankfully most eleven plus learning will take place under an umbrella. We want to be able to use tests to describe the current level of a child’s learning – without the test being confined to a topic that `just has to be learnt’.

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