Anyway my point is, I've been trying to get these guys to become more reflective on themselves as learners, or, if you wanna use edu-wank, metacognitive. I've been trying to tell them that by this point in their schooling lives, they should have a fairly good idea of who they are, what they're good at and what they struggle with. They should be able to recognise when they're taking risks, making mistakes or not grasping something.
But it's weird, because they don't. These lovely teenagers, who are way more mature, respectful and clever than I remember being at that age, have absolutely no idea where their own abilities lie. Some of them become so overly critical of themselves that they are blinded by futility, unable to recognise their own strengths and opportunities to improve. This stumps me, because I can teach you how to write an essay, I can teach which conventions mean what, I can teach you how to break down a question or a marking key... but I can't teach you how to think for yourself. And I've discovered that too often students are so busy trying to guess how to make the teacher happy that they forget about themselves.
Tomorrow, I want to tell them that if they don't know who they are, everything else is pointless. You can have a supportive home environment, an amazing teacher, top of the range resources and a work ethic to rival Stephen King, but if you don't understand yourself, you will be fumbling around in the dark. If you know yourself and believe in yourself, everything becomes so much easier. I remembered a clip from Scrubs that addresses this really well, will show my students tomorrow.
Funny how in this video Dr. Cox expresses the realisation I had in my first blog post. Perhaps it stuck in my mind somewhere; advice from a fictional character to a different sort of intern, in a similar sort of situation to me.