Once upon a time, a long time ago, the `Dalton Plan’ was the latest buzz word in education. The plan, in its simplest form, tried to eliminate class teaching. Children were supposed to work on their own to learn to cultivate individual effort and responsibility.
A certain amount of work was prescribed for each subject for a defined period. The pupil was left to get on with the work in his or her own way. The teacher then became the advisor. The teacher was no longer responsible for the class listening in due silence while he or she expounded some vital point. The children were still gathered in small groups for organisational convenience.
Of course some educators did not agree with the Dalton plan. They felt that too much responsibility was placed on the children. They also felt that the children had too much freedom.
Time, however, is usually very precious at the eleven plus approaches. The eleven plus has some form of a syllabus which has to be completed before the examination. There is no open end to eleven plus teaching and learning. The date of the examination draws remorselessly closer.
In Victorian times parents and teachers could read books called “How to be a Worthy Teacher” and “How to Become a Worthy Parent”. Books today often along the lines of: “The Eleven Plus for Parents”. There is little mention of how parents can become worthy. Parents simply have to do their best they can. They can allow their children to self-regulate the amount and the extent of their eleven plus work – but at most other times they have to lead and direct. Is this the true value of a `worthy’ eleven plus parent?