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Friday, January 13, 2012

When you were reading to your child it is very likely that you came across the following words. Later on your child will probably have had equal pleasure in reading them.

“It's a friend of mine - a Cheshire Cat,” said Alice: “Allow me to introduce it.”

“I don't like the look of it at all,” said the King. “However, it may kiss my hand if it likes.”

“I'd rather not,” the Cat remarked.

Your child will, not doubt, be able to recall that Alice went on to say: “A cat may look at a King!”

The Queen said, of course, “Off with his head!”

It is very unlikely that the cat went on to do the eleven plus – he or she was probably a little bit too argumentative. The King was possibly a bit too regal and the Queen seems to have been a real mess. It leaves us with wondering if Alice could have passed the eleven plus.

To pass the eleven plus children need to be able to assemble their thoughts and they need to be able to think logically. Would the King, the Queen and the cat been able to work some of the intellectual skills a child needs when attempting ability tests? Parents, of course, will hope that their children will be able to:

Grasp the meaning of question on, at least, the second reading.

Work out if there is any ambiguity in any reasoning.

Make some kind of judgement as to whether certain statements contradict each other.

Work out which multiple choice answer deserves to be chosen

Decide if the reasoning of either mother or father is reasonable and specific.

Throw scorn on any unwarranted assumptions.

Work out when to re-read Alice in Wonderland.

Parents who work a lot with their children towards the eleven plus will probably hope that thinking and reasoning are acquired characteristics. After all – what is the point of working through hundreds of different reasoning questions if thinking and reasoning skills are not quickened? It does seem likely that Lewis Carroll understood the minds of at least some eleven plus children!

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