Jun 092007

‘Julie’ is one of my A-Level tutees. She’s a very bright 18-year-old and loves Psychology  so much she wants to study it at university.

But, in spite of this apparent dedication to her career – yet typical of so many teenagers! – she hasn’t been quite as disciplined in always attending class as she could have been or always kept up with her notes. However, with the A-Level exams now virtually upon her, Julie has been coming to me for private tution while also endeavouring to get her notes complete enough for effective revision.The great Psychodynamic theorist Erik Erickson (1964) called this phenomenon of realising the crticial importance of some future event yet not planning for it Diffusion of Time. The incredible energy Julie is now putting into exam preparation Erickson saw as an aspect of Diffusion of Industry (in which the individual can’t concentrate, then puts enormous effort into a single activity). These diffusions come from the RED vMEME’s live-for-the-moment/no-consequences motif.

To Julie’s credit, the energy she is putting into her last-minute preparations is driven to a considerable extent by ORANGE ambition. Julie knows what she wants and how to get there. Julie’s RED may have led her into potentially devastating diffusions; but, with her ORANGE now firmly in the driving seat, she is working hard and intelligently to get herself in a position to achieve the ‘A’ grade she is targeted for. (RED now seems to be in service to ORANGE in her selfplex.

One example of this is her doing a full question paper under self-imposed ‘exam conditions’ and then giving it to me for marking  and feedback. That whole enterprise was Julie’s idea. If only more of my students and tutees were so motivated!

I graded Julie’s paper a very good ‘B’. With a little more push, she can get the ‘A’ she wants so much. I really hope she gets it. With the way she’s turning her situation around, I think she deserves an ‘A’. :-)