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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Adoption and the Eleven Plus

A revered gentleman – William H. R. Rivers - found among Murray Islander in the Torres Straits -indifference to the real parentage of a child. Adoption was common and children did not know who their real parents were. Furthermore the Murray Islanders used to put a child to death if there were too many in the family of the same sex.

Franz Boas, studying the Kwakiutl Indians of the Central Pacific, found that quarrels were not settled by physical combat – but by holding a `potlatch’ or feast at which possessions were given away. The one who gave away the most property won.

Alexander Goldenweiser discovered that disputes among people in certain Eskimo were settled by a singing contest. The victor was chosen by a popular vote.

And now we come to the crux of the eleven plus saga. Ruth Benedict found that the Zuni Indians frowned against people who sought prestige or power. It was found that it was almost impossible to test the Zuni because the tribe could not grasp the meaning of achieving a high score.

Let us look at these attributes. We could have an eleven plus child who may possibly need to give away some of all his or her possessions. We could also have a child who would need to sing his or her way out of conflict. Finally we could have a child who did not seem to mind about passing or failing the eleven plus.

But we must hope that parents do not need to give away their child for failing the eleven plus. Many children go on to enjoy happy and successful lives without the cachet of an eleven plus pass!

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