Thursday, April 12, 2012

Driving Without Petrol

Would you attempt to drive a car with no petrol?
Then why do 11+ tutors try to do the equivalent with their students?

My wife would look at me with a bemused, confused look of frustration if I slammed my keys on the kitchen counter, and shared my frustration with her at the car not working because of the fact that there is no petrol in the car. Why don't you go to the petrol station? Would be her initial thought...

Yet sitting a student down in front of an eleven plus paper, asking a student to respond to the questions, and then watching them stutter and struggle is of course the exact equivalent. Beware of tutors that start looking at 11+ papers instantly: the metaphorical petrol needs to be provided first!

Fact. You can not make a car work without petrol.
Fact. You can not make a student do well with 11+ papers without prior knowledge.

Students need at least three to four months where their generic English skills are built, where their sentence structure usage is perfected and where they can use punctuation with absolute precision. They need to read many sophisticated books, complete many different elements of differentiated comprehension and perfect their English skills to such a level that the student can sit in front of an 11+ paper with confidence, not dread.

Beware of the tutor that starts looking at papers straight away, sits looking at your child work on them, and then runs through the correct answers: this is not teaching. This is not education. This is someone looking to take your money from you for minimum effort and teaching.

Make sure that your child is actually taught when they prepare for the 11+ plus. Accept no passengers. Make sure that the petrol is in the car before you drive it!

In my experience in life, you are what you are surrounded with. If your child is surrounded by like-minded intelligent young students who want to learn then it will quite clearly have an effect on the mind set of your child. The working ethos inside the class room is absolutely crucial. If parents were to enquire of the one thing that frustrates most teachers, it is the lack of desire to be successful in the classroom by a vast amount of state educated children. If there is no desire, what, truthfully, can teachers do? In actual fact, it is the lack of desire in young students today that appears to be the crucial instigator in poor behaviour. Grammar schools, by their very nature, will be full with students with desire. And that has to be good for your child! The desire to succeed in life is a wonderful attribute to have, and the more your child is surrounded with these kinds of students, the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment