One of the really pleasant things about being an eleven plus teacher is the ability to work with very bright children. Sharing the joy of solving obscure eleven plus questions is to be savoured. As more and more eleven plus publishers have jumped on the band wagon there are some rather bizarre verbal reasoning questions.
The excitement comes when a child reads a question aloud. Which teaching method was used to teach reading in the very early days?
One child may have benefited from a phonic approach.
A different child may have learnt to read using a whole word method.
Some children may have `picked up’ reading by `a little of this and a little bit of that’.
Years ago there were carefully presented tests designed to establish the best way for a child to learn. Will there ever be a battery of tests designed to suggest the best method a child should use to be able to cope with reading a verbal reasoning question?
Some questions, for example, seem to rely heavily on the ability to spell well. Have children who are good at spelling been well taught – or are they just good at spelling. Some children may learn good spelling techniques by working through eleven plus papers. Eleven plus verbal reasoning papers, however, are designed to help a child pass the eleven plus and therefore do not have the responsibility of developing good spelling techniques.
Of course we meet the question faced by many teachers and parents - is good spelling preceded by good reading? Can a child be good at reading if there is a problem with spelling? How much responsibility do publishers have to bear towards their target audience? Do some verbal reasoning questions rely too heavily on spelling?