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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

An Eleven Plus Walk in the Park

You are walking, surrounded by your loving family, down a lovely wooded path in the middle of a gorgeous little forest. There are very few people around so your eleven plus candidate is prepared to allow you to hold hands for a few seconds. (Do you remember that trusting three year old hand that automatically held tight?)

There is a bit of slush and mud around – but you don’t mind that – you are wearing the hat and gloves given to you so loving by your family for Christmas. (You love it even through you do not own one other green garment in your entire wardrobe. Green is not your colour.)

A dog, off a leash, comes bounding round the corner. The dog stops and exhibits hostile-suspicious reactions. The head is raised. The tail is erect. The hairs are bristling. There is a low warning growl. Your hand tightens on your child’s grasp. The instinct to protect and nurture kicks in. Your adrenaline heats up.

Gloria Gaynor’s  “I  will survive!”  throbs into your mind.
First I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side.

The dog’s erstwhile owner comes ambling round the corner. “Sit Jasper! Sit!”

The body sinks low, the tail falls limp, the hair lies smoothly. Large pants erupt – and slobber falls to the floor. The dog, the owner, you, your eleven plus candidate and the rest of your family are now all friends. There is laughter and chatter. You bend down to pat the dog’s head. The tail wags more and more. Your candidate smiles. The world is set to rights.

Move forward an hour or two.

“It is time now for us to do some eleven plus work.”

The head is raised.
The smile leaves the face.

The ipad is relinquished - albeit unwillingly.

The words: “Why me?” are snapped out.

There could even be a little flounce as the `candidate’ slinks towards the unwelcome and unfriendly work.

The Eleven Plus Conundrum – how to make your child approach the work, smiling, eager, positive and happy. You could try a few pats on the head. You could try adopting a non-threatening approach.  You could try a conciliatory smile. You must, however, never ever offer a little bribe -unless the situation warrants a little treat.