Author Archives: Sian Gledhill

Observational Learning In Ballet

Young people all over the world learn through a process called observational learning. This is a type of learning where people learn through watching. Young people learn how to walk, kick a ball and write their names for the first time. Observational learning is a vital process used during a persons entire life, even at an old age people learn by watching others.

One of the most important activities that was a part of my childhood was dance. I remember my first Nutcracker when I was 4 years old. I was a little mouse and an angel as all my friends were. It was one of my first performances on a stage in front of many people and I had to have been nervous. To be honest I do not remember a single thing about that performance, the one thing that sticks out in my head is watching the older girls who were en pointe. They amazed me and all I wanted to do was be them and dance like them. My favourite dance from that day on was Waltz Of The Flowers. After that day I remember how the song went and how graceful the girls were on stage. I also remember trying to learn those dance moves and from that day I felt like I learned the most by watching the older more talented girls or my teachers. Words went with the movement not the movement went with the words. And as I got older and went en pointe myself I still used observational learning as an important part of learning ballet.

I also obtained my love for The Nutcracker during my first year as a little mouse. Nutcracker season has always been my favourite ever since because all I wanted to do was be the Dew Drop for Waltz Of The Flowers. Senior year, that actually did happen and all I could think of was how I learned to love that piece of music and very vague choreography. It made me learn my parts in The Nutcracker each and every year very quickly since I watched others who did the other parts that I did not have that year during all of our extensive rehearsals. I can probably still do most of the dances I learned from around 8th grade onwards since they became so engrained in my head.


What actually happened when you were little?

We all have our first memory, but most of the time this memory of us at a very young age was in fact not our own. It probably did happen, but do we remember the story of getting our first dog at a young age of two or do we remember because some one told us about that dog? One of my “first memories” was when I was about two and a half I think in my backgarden in England. That part I do remember through the aid of photos and that I moved to America the day before I turned five years old. But my parents always told me that on this day in my backgarden it was very hot and I was out running around with my pet rabbit and guinea pig and they gave me a home made iced lolly to eat. From what I remember I walked around with this iced lolly for about half an hour. My parents noticed it was not getting any smaller so they went up to me and noticed that the cap was not taken off it. So basically I spent half an hour sucking on a cap. The iced lolly was running down my arm too. They always tell me this story because the face I had on when I actually tasted the lolly was so satisfying. But do I remember this memory because of the countless times my mum and and dad tells this story or because I actually do remember it? Chances are no since I was so young but whenever anyone asks me about my first memory I always tell this one. Or the day my family officially moved to America.



Does moving countries as a child have an effect on your development?

I moved to America the day before I turned five years old, one would think that this move would be easy because America and England are very similar countries. Well if you think that, you are wrong. I remember my first few months in America were very different. Different food, accents, sports, not to mention the size of everything. Two of the biggest things I had to get used to when I moved was how big American football was and sounding different to everyone from home. I remember going to my neighbours house for the first time on a Sunday afternoon and seeing a funny new sport on the TV. At the time I didn’t really know what football was but my neighbour taught me the basic rules because I was only five at the time. Ever since that day I’ve been an Eagles fan because of my neighbour. It’s amazing how much one event can spur the love for something for years to come. As a senior in college, I can honestly say The Eagles and The Penn State Nittany Lions are two of my favourite teams to watch.

Another huge thing for me when I moved to America was my accent. I remember my first day of Kindergarden was not very pleasant for me. I remember the other students telling me “I spoke weird” or I sounded funny. Now to a five year old who has been in America for a few months, this was rather off-putting to me. I was already shy because I was brand new but this put me off coming to school even more. As sad as it sounds I spent most of the first half of my Kindergarden year of school with no friends. No one wanted to talk to me because of my accent. Only after I slowly started to lose my accent did other children start to play and talk to me.Today I barely have an accent anymore and people wish I had an accent. It’s amazing how things can change in just a few years how people can change their minds on certain things.

I picked both of these stories because they express how one can view certain childhood behaviours to how they are today. This is the concept of psychoanalysis. Both experiences made me who I am today. I am a lover of football because of my neighbour and I do not have much of a British accent because I spent my days at a school with people who spoke with American accents. This theory is often used to explain how childhood events influence personality traits of a person. Personally I am not that shy of a person anymore so I do not believe that my first half of kindergarden had that much of a negative effect on my development. On the other hand, I know for a fact that my neighbour got me interested in football and he is the reason I am an Eagles fan.