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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rousseau, Emile and the Eleven Plus

There are, we understand, big changes mooted in the world of the eleven plus. Will the changes be brought about by one man or woman of some stature or by committees? Many people acknowledge that Rousseau, for example, was the inspirational source of every great reformer since the eighteenth century.

Could Rousseau have been thinking about eleven plus children when he wrote:

“The wise physician does not hastily give prescriptions at first sight, but he studies the constitution of the sick man before he prescribes anything; the treatment is begun later, but the patient is cured, while the hasty doctor kills him.”

Do the august and eminent, when consulting each other about the `true' nature of ability and intelligence, enjoy fresh thinking and definitive ideas – or are they simply reacting to the thoughts and theories of others?

The `new style’ eleven plus papers, in some areas, will include comprehension, vocabulary and numerical reasoning. We need to go back some forty years to find eleven plus papers with elements of these `new’ ideas.  When Rousseau had `new ideas’ his books were burnt and warrants were issued for his arrest.

All we can do is hope that the purveyors of the `Revised Eleven Plus’ have done their homework and have found the secret of true ability!  I hope your child is successful.