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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eleven Plus and the Dance

`"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail.
"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle--will you come and join the
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the

When the eleven plus meets Alice in Wonderland it may be time to recall the hoary chestnut:

Faced with a bill for treatment in a private London hospital a patient queried the anaesthetist’s charge – which seemed rather excessive.

“£900 just to put me to sleep!” she complained.

“No it is fair fee. It is to be sure that you wake up!”

Of course, at times, some parents may consider offering the candidate a little incentive to try to maintain a sound level of eleven plus work. There may be, however, in the minds of some people, a difference between a reward offered for good work and where a reward is a free and unsolicited gift. The idea of a bribe for doing good eleven plus work may be reprehensible to some parents while others would recognise the value of rewarding hard labour with some form of an incentive.

Do you remember when your son or your daughter came back to you for the first time explaining and complaining that he or she had fallen off the new `birthday bike’? Your reaction was probably crucial to your child’s immediate confidence in learning to ride. In one scenario your child was fussed over and advised to leave the bike for a spell while wound healed. Equally you may have offered your child quiet reassurance by pointing out that you had also suffered similar setbacks – and that you had survived.

If your child suffers on an eleven plus exercise you could call in the experts, hire a tutor, buy more papers, invest in additional internet quizzes – or you could try to offer your child understanding and sympathy. Suppose your child has asked you if the work done is worth a reward. The dialogue may develop along these lines.

You may offer a comment: “I will offer you a reward. Nothing shall stop me.”

Your child may then ask you: “Who will be coming with me to the shops tomorrow to buy my reward?”

You could then say: “I will. It is my turn to buy you something. Shall I need to bring my cheque book with me?”

As a true eleven plus parent you would complement your child on the correct use of the word `will’. From your own English lessons at school, no doubt, you will remember at that `shall’ and `should’ are used as auxiliaries in the first person – while `will’ and `would’ are used for other persons.

You could also remind your child that after words expressing intention or desire you should use `shall’ or `should’ – but never `will’ or `would’.

By the time your poor child has listened to your seminar – he or she may have lost all interest in receiving a reward. The Arms of Morpheus may have claimed your child – and that could have saved you £900! Will she, won't she?

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