Thursday, 20 September 2012

Fear of Flying

I've been digging and weeding and planting for several hours each day for the last few days. It's physically a little bit demanding, and time consuming, but it doesn't need a great deal of thought.

So I've been alone with my thoughts, and that conspiracy with my inner world happened to take place at a time when one of my pupils was repeatedly cancelling her lessons. She's not the first to have done so, of course, and will not be the last, but as I dug and pulled, I pondered what it was that made pupils who are progressing well suddenly start behaving like they have no real interest in learning.

What follows is cod psychology, but please bear with me. I'm sure some learned people would concur, using longer words.

First of all, let me introduce you to something called Cognitive Dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when someone's self image doesn't match their environment. A straightforward example is that of a smoker who packs up the cigs.

The smoker's inner self is that of a smoker. When the thought, "I want a cigarette" occurs, the response is to pick up a cigarette and smoke it. When he or she decides to replace that automatic response to that thought with a veto, it's uncomfortable. It doesn't fit. It takes a mental effort.

So take a person who lacks self confidence. One with a poor self image. Train them to be successful in a particular endeavour. Suddenly this person, who sees themselves as a failure, is brought up against the fact that they're succeeding in something. It should be a nice feeling, but it isn't always. The reason being cognitive dissonance.

We're not rational creatures. We want to feel comfortable within ourselves. And some people are more comfortable with the familiar fuckups than with the unfamiliar success. So much so that in some cases they do what they can to make sure they mess it up.

Trouble is, from my point of view, the better I teach them, the more likely it is that they're going to fuck me about.

driving lessons in Wallasey? learn to drive in Wirral? driving instructor in Birkenhead?


Pete said...

They've got no money to pay you.

Paul said...

this particular pupil has a good job, and has a boyfriend who also has a good job.

Pete said...

Ah well, there goes that theory then.