Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Does talking through something help you to understand it better?

While I was teaching my adult ballet class last night I stopped between barre exercises and talked about the mechanics of the moves, the muscles that we would be using and the sequence of moves for the exercises. When setting up the choreography of the class I worried that the sequences may be unusual or difficult to master but my students have not let me down with their performance of the moves yet.

The secret to their success is the fact that I usually give them an opportunity to "talk through" the moves they are going to make. I encourage them to use my words or to find their own words to connect the moves together in to a viable sequence of events. Here is an example of how this has worked for us.

My students have been learning about releves. They are basic ballet steps that involve balance and core body strength while using alternating legs as support. The action of the releve can be found in this video.

The ballet jargon goes like this -
Releve devant, releve derriere, releve passe en arriere, releve fifth.

What I have suggested to my ladies to help them remember the sequence goes like this -
front foot - down, back foot - down, front foot to the back then stay where you are.

So the question needs to be re-asked - Does talking through something help you to understand it better? Research shows that talking to yourself can be a good idea and that it can indeed help you optimize your performance.I think my own classes have shown that for pyschomotor learning you need to allow your brain to connect to the subject matter with words that can be quickly assimilated into movement. When you are presented with something complex and you are able to perform it by talking your way through it - you will ultimately positively affect your self confidence level. Increased self confidence will allow you to then try more complex moves and the circle expands again.

Once again we have found a topic that goes back to the performance of the brain!