Notes from Ballet Class

I swear my ballet teacher has eyes of a hawk! Quite how she can see that my toes are not all flat against the floor, under socks, under shoes, from 10m away, is beyond me! And then, after the (what seems to me) the tiniest of tiniest of movements, I get a ‘Yes, well done, that’s it!’. Eyes of a hawk, I tell ya! 🙂

Last week, in class, we started going through a group routine, in centre. It was SUCH good fun! But still very, very tough, remembering more than 2 or 3 movements combined together! And I find that when I go the wrong way, or use the wrong arm/leg (which happens quite a lot), my momentum is going in the wrong direction, so I find myself having to ‘re-adjust’ my balance, and ending up looking very, very odd indeed! Imagine setting off to jump to your left, then just at the last minute changing your mind and jumping right! Yep, you get the idea!

I can, however, feel that my turnout is improving, but that brings with itself even more problems. And that’s where the ‘Four Stages of Competence’ comes in. In psychology, the four stages of competence, or the ‘conscious competence’ learning model, relates to the psychological states involved in the process of progressing from incompetence to competence in a skill.

You start off with ‘Unconscious Incompetence,’ this is where the individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognise the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognise their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.

Then you have ‘Conscious Incompetence’. Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognise the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.

Thirdly you have ‘Conscious Competence’. This is when the individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.

And finally you have ‘Unconscious Competence’. This is when the individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

So, in a nutshell, you start off crap, but don’t know any different. Then you’re still crap, but realise that you’re crap. Then you’re good and realise that you’re good, because you still remember what it was like to be crap. Then finally you’re good, and just get on with being good, because it’s been a while since you were crap.

I’m at the 2nd stage of Conscious Incompetence, in my turnout. I’m getting better, but still a bit crap. But I know when I’m being crap, and when I’m being good