As families sit around the table discussing the eleven plus can you spare a thought for the few who are talking about `Habit-family Hierarchies’ . These hierarchies have an important part in problem-solving behaviour. In formal terms , when placed in a problem situation the subject exhibits certain behaviour directed towards a specific goal.
Let us look for example at an eleven plus child who appears to approach analogies questions using a set range of rules. How can you break these routines and encourage your child to think a little more widely? We had a child on a recent eleven plus course who kept trying to find a solution – and followed a prescribed set of rules. We suggested a range of alternative methods but the earnest scholar maintained: “But my tutor says I must do it this way.”
A different child may follow a seemingly more random method of approaching eleven plus problems. This could be called the `scatter approach’. If this tactic does not work immediately then think of another. Keep trying in the hope that something will work.
Naturally these two methodologies have names:
Convergent Hierarchies – here all thoughts are collected to try to solve a problem.
Divergent Hierarchies – a number of different strategies can be attempted.
We now need to throw into the mix that most children will adopt different approaches to solve particular types of problems. So as not to stifle creative thought, parents may, at times, appear to be mediators: “We need to look at a range of options, dear. Remember to diversify your habit-forming hierarchies.”
In the olden days a clip around the ear was thought to solve most problems. Eleven plus children may need a rather more subtle approach!