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Monday, February 27, 2012

An Eleven Plus Song

Is there a case to have one Eleven Plus test that covers the whole country? What happens if a child passes the eleven plus in one county and then finds difficulty in having the results accepted in a new county?

We know that people lose their regional accents when they sing. A singing voice is not the same as speaking voice. When we are singing our pharynx and mouth open wider to allow for better resonance and amplification. We therefore do not make words in the same way.

When we hear Madonna sing `Material Girl’ we are very aware that the melody of a song has a different set of vocal intonations to normal speech. Country and Western singers work hard to sound as if they were born and bred in Nashville. Where oh where do opera singers come from?

We meet children who are expected to be able to sit a number of different eleven plus tests. We are working with some girls who will be sitting four different eleven plus tests later on this year. One of our local schools is super selective and sets its own papers to select the type of child they want. We also meet children who are expected to reach almost full marks on all the papers. As soon as we delve into the details of the admission requirements it is possible to see just why there is such a variety of eleven plus tests.

The major publishers try hard to reassure us that their papers will work for most children. Years ago I had the opportunity of going to a salsa evening in a large entertainment centre. The floor above was a fascinating experience. There were about seventy young people in a large circle dressed in rather esoteric costumes. They were nodding their heads in time to the music. It was explained to me that the violent movements of their heads was called head banging.

So if your child stumbles on a question on a paper, why not try sitting with your family in a circle? You could compose a family song entitled: “It is like banging my head against a brick wall.” Your voices could rise and fall in unexpected patterns. One of the family could enter the circle and execute a little break dance.

How would this help your child in the eleven plus? You would know that your child was being prepared in a completely individualised manner.