Ask your eleven plus child to tell you how to tie a shoelace. Watch his or her hands. Is it easier to demonstrate how to tie the shoe lace or explain the procedure? It is on just this point that some children may become frustrated by some forms of eleven plus questions. The children sit down with their parents who explain different examples. Being good parents they come back to similar examples on a different occasion. The eleven plus child may remember that the topic has been covered – but still may not be sure of how to do the work.
No eleven plus parent would ever dream of saying to their child: “You have done this before. Why can’t you remember?” No – oh no – parents would simply make a mental note to return to the topic on yet another occasion. The third time arrives – after a suitable passage of time. Has there been any learning in the interval? Once again the parents have to bite their tongues and keep positive. Success is just around the corner!
The eleven plus child may not be able to cope with some topics until he or she has been able to come up with their own solution.
The first step would be to try to invent a solution to the problem.
The second step would be committing the method to memory.
The third step would be being able to apply the solution to subsequent and similar problems.
No matter how much something can be explained and revised if the child has been unable to internalise the problem and then categorise the steps leading to a solution then there may be gaps. One obvious solution is revision and consolidation. Encouraging your child to explain the process in his or her own words can speed the process up. You could, of course, do a little experiment.
Ask your child to describe how to tie a shoe lace.
Encourage your child to go over the steps practically – asking your child to describe what he or she is doing.
Repeat the same process on another day.
Check that your child has been able to describe the sequence. Has learning taken place? We certainly hope so.