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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Eleven Plus and Knowledge

Do children sometimes know that the eleven plus journey, and what lies ahead, is beyond them? This is not saying that the child does not want to do the work but simply asking if a child knows that a grammar school education is not for them.

I thought of this poem after looking at the body language of a very willing child earlier this month. He tried valiantly with the challenge of eleven plus work – even though much of the work was pitched at a level below that of the eleven plus. “But I really do want to go to grammar.”

The Knowledgeable Child.
Leonard Alfred George Strong, 1896 - 1958

I always see—I don’t know why—
If any person’s going to die.

That’s why nobody talks to me.
There was a man who came to tea,

And when I saw that he would die
I went to him and said ‘Good-bye,

‘I shall not see you any more.’
He died that evening. Then, next door,

They had a little girl: she died
Nearly as quick, and Mummy cried

And cried, and ever since that day
She’s made me promise not to say.

But folks are still afraid of me,
And, where they’ve children, nobody

Will let me next or nigh to them
For fear I’ll say good-bye to them.

A blog about technology may not have entered the mind of Strong – but having looked at his Wikipedia entry with the obvious tremendous grasp of words and ideas he employed, I can’t help thinking that he would have loved the ipad. Tony Vincent in makes a compelling case for using technology in education. Would he have written a very different poem if he had been able to watch children using ipads for education and play?

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