Reflecting on your own progress is essential. Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset has become a classic of educational thinking. She clearly advocates for mistakes as the foundation of learning. She goes further to reveal how honest self-assessment releases one from perfectionism and allows for continual improvement. But if students are stuck in a performative, fixed mindset, they develop ideas about themselves that resist change or external input.
Take the student who abandons all effort in English class, saying, "I'm just not a good writer." This set image of themselves does not allow for any chance of improvement. Maybe they have so many good ideas that they need to learn to type to be able to get them out without feeling stuck. Maybe they need to explore essay structure and outlining so those good ideas can stack logically and add up to something coherent.
Then there's the student who gets an encouraging grade from an overly generous teacher and thinks, "Writing is easy." When they get low marks from other teachers, they might just assume they don't like them. It doesn't occur to them to improve. Things go downhill from there.
Even a simple one-question prompt can lead to a world of discovery: "What do you feel you did well and how do you think you could improve?" If there is some of each every time around, and adults give feedback about the accuracy of the self-assessment, students will regulate as they work and bring better and better results.