Some parents would welcome their eleven year old child acquiring new habits. We know that during the early years children cannot help but form some habits. Many years ago it was felt that there were two great forces involved in developing habits – namely that of the desire for mastery and strong wish to imitate. Adults are able to be instrumental in developing habits when the children are very young – but a good proportion of us would hesitate to feel that we can make eleven plus learning part of a habitual process.
Imagine, for one moment, that in the melee of family life you could find one evening, A Tuesday for example, where you know that your ten year old would be able to sit down to a meal at exactly 6.00 p.m. You would play your role by trying to ensure that every single week that the meal was delivered and consumed around six p.m. Your child has to be punctual, want to eat at that time and be willing to fit into an artificial regime.
Good eleven plus habits could include finishing work on time, treating teachers and parents with respect and being polite. A habit, however, only become established when it has become automatic. If a parent has to remind their ten year old child to want to work then it could be possible that the habit of study is not fully entrenched.
In the eleven plus examination we want the candidate to answer questions accurately and to be on time. The twin habits of accuracy and being on time are therefore potentially good eleven plus habits. Having an evening meal on a Tuesday on time may, possibly, be desirable but cannot guarantee success in the eleven plus.