First a swear word alert! (apologies if you are offended by those kinds of words)
I am one of those people that struggle to remember acronyms or mnemonics... I am timid to say I avoid giving them to new drivers.That is probably because I struggle so much with them; though I am sadly conscious of the fact that I might hamper their progress because of my preference.The reason for my post is twofold (I can't believe I used an antiquated term like 'twofold'!! - must be an age thing!)
1 - Because I (and the driver I write about) hate mnemonics and acronyms [eg MSPSL, IPSGA MSM etc] because we can't remember what the letters stand for though know the principles involved!
2 - Because we used an acronym and had such a ball with it for the past two sessions! So, M (my New Driver) and I are allergic to words, acronyms, IQ, mnemonics and using clever words etc. I pretend to myself that I am being 'client centred' by mirroring and matching the language patterns that M uses... it is true, though, that it has helped us with rapport over the weeks!
Last session, I noticed once again how M has a 'pattern' that hinders him. I strive to help people to conquer their 'barriers' to learning - and this barrier has been a little more of a challenge than most! M will be extremely conscious of what he views as 'mistakes' or 'faults'; and I am happy to report that I can sometimes prevent the distracting obsessiveness that creeps in afterwards. But often not - especially now that he is in that awkward 'Conscious Incompetence' phase of driving where he knows what he 'wants' to do; and knows that he didn't achieve it! He tends to berate himself and uses swear words to put himself down.
So I asked him to pull up. I did not ask him to recall his drive - I asked for the solution.. as is often the case, he reverted quickly to fault finding. I hate to admit to how easy it is to slip back into that - so I will gloss over my thoughts on this [or am I 'fault finding' of myself?] To quit the lengthy explanation and cut to the chase - I asked him to use a swear word as a mnemonic or acronym to devise HIS plan on approach to roundabouts! The swear word was "Sh*t" It stood for: Steady Handling Improves Thinking.
It is HIS, it made no sense to me, so I took a photo of it and we drove off to act on his plan. We had an absolute ball, what a laugh! It TOTALLY changed the dark place he goes to, into a fun filled joy fest. The mnemonic worked a treat mostly because we could both be so childish about it.
The phrases were similar to:"I am going to make this roundabout proper Sh*t.... I Sh*t that one right up....Remember you're Sh*t.... They didn't have their Sh*t together did they?....That was even Sh*tier than the last one!....
It was a very bubbly M that left his session and it was the principle not the mnemonic that worked... I can prove that because the next session highlighted similar issues with other junction types and meeting situations. I remembered the fun and laughter that changed the outcome of his session last time. I remembered the Sh*t mnemonic......... but what the heck did it stand for? ... I asked M and he couldn't remember either!
As usual we had the 'word' but what the letters stood for? No idea! Luckily I had my photo so we had a look at it and we were pleasantly surprised at how good M had made it! ... and then laughed at how Sh*t we are at remembering Sh*t! So we re-used the idea to develop meeting situations and that quirky right turn... M also linked in how it is the same thing for any potential 'new' issue that might throw him in future e.g. if he is confused by a junction or what is happening on the road ahead!
It amuses me that we used something that neither of us like to a great benefit... and we didn't even remember what it was though the longer term effects are still so evident!
Learning can be fun too!
Thank you for this enlightening blog written by Fiona Taylor ADI