The great majority of eleven plus parents will want their child to feel motivated to do well in the examination. There may be, however, some families where one parent wants a grammar school education while the other opposes the whole concept.
Opposition to the eleven plus can come from:
· Ideological grounds
· Concern that the child can cope
· The school trip would be a nightmare
Eleven plus children need to feel that they are achieving. If mum and dad normally offer flowery praise for good work their child could, possibly, come to look upon that as a norm. If the child’s achievement is not recognised for one reason or another the child could, possibly, feel that the work they just done is unappreciated or even worthless.
Achievement can be offered in many ways. Some children may prefer a pat on the back, others will want their progress to be recognised by a certificate of participation. The really sensible children will opt for a trip to the cinema accompanied by two friends, large packets of popcorn and endless jugs of a sweet and fizzy drink. The thrill of the cinema trip may, however, become debased if it is offered too frequently.
We sometimes see the work that parents do at home with their children. Some parents seem to need the confidence to be able to pick up a pen or a pencil and write something pleasant to their child. We know that positive reinforcement is more likely to bring a favourable reward than negative remarks.
Teachers and parents alike have to try to arrange the appropriate re-enforcement that is contingent upon the child’s behaviour. Teachers and parents alike can, to a degree, dictate some form of desired behaviour – and then reinforce the good side. “If you do this – I will do this.”
Some parents will opt for their child working through a long eleven plus paper – and then going back over the answers. Other parents will encourage their child to complete the task using short learning steps – and then offer quick corrective feedback. There is no royal eleven plus way!
We expect the eleven plus candidate to be both attentive and receptive. The best of intentions fly away if our effort and not rewarded by appropriate behaviour from the child.