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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Eleven Plus Imitation

When you were young, just twelve years old, still dressed in school clothes, do you remember hearing about the Frenchman called Gabriel Tarde? He published the Laws of Imitation. Tarde felt that we react to each other mainly by conscious and unconscious imitation.

He felt that imitation accounted for:

Social changes

What would he have made of the eleven plus? How much of the plethora of eleven plus materials, books and papers is down to imitation? Are there any real original thinkers among the many who promote the eleven plus, provide books and materials and tuition?

An example is a reasonably familiar eleven plus question.

Jennifer and Heather went shopping together for sweets with 66p between them. Jennifer started off with 6p more than Heather, but spent twice as much as Heather. Jennifer finished up with two-thirds as much money as Heather. How much did Heather spend?

At first glance it seems remarkably easy for a parent, a teacher, a tutor or a publisher to be able to copy or imitate this style of question. This easily imitated question can, in time, be considered to be a valuable part of the eleven plus continuum. It only needs approbation and approval from a recognised eleven plus source and – Hey Presto – it is a necessary part of an eleven plus syllabus.

I wonder if Monsieur Tarde would have thought of the industry that has grown up around the eleven plus?

Of the course the answer is 12p. (The answer was in the first sentence!)