Never-Never pedagogical aspirations

I watched #TheGhan on Sunday here in Australia on the SBS channel. Like many others (181,000 peak time viewers), I found the 17 hour journey enchanting.

Dan Whelan, the writer and producer, said of the film of the 2997 kilometer journey from Adelaide to Darwin:

We set out to achieve three things: first, the feeling of being immersed on the journey; second, to shoot the landscape from the train in a way that would work to blend with text and pictures on screen; and finally, to keep the journey exciting and make the train a character in the documentary.

All three worked for me. I had lots of time to think about how these three characteristics relate to personal learning journeys.

Up in the Northern Territory part of the journey, south of Katherine, one of Dan’s texts really caught my attention … as the Ghan passed 30 kilometers to the west of Elsey Station Mataranka.

It was a quote from Jeannie Gunn‘s We of the Never Never (1908). She wrote about her experiences of living at Elsey Station:

Called the Never-Never, the Maluka loved to say, because they who have lived in it and loved it, Never-Never voluntarily leave it.

I thought this might be a wonderful pedagogical aspiration on a slow learning journey. Dan’s three aims for the Ghan film do translate into a Never-Never pedagogy:

  • Immersed on the journey
  • A shared landscape to blend resources
  • Keeping the journey exciting

… and being patient with each other and engaged on this voyage of discovery.

Photo Credits

The Ghan (Shane Cubis)

Matt Smithson (Twitter)

#coachlearninginsport: what to keep?

The 2017-2018 Ashes cricket series ended in Sydney this afternoon.

The 4v0 (and one drawn game) result has raised some important questions about long-term planning for the next Ashes series in Australia (2021-22).

Both teams face a Marie Kondo-like opportunity. The Konmari method encourages us to:

  • organise by category rather than by room;
  • consider ‘Does it spark joy?’;
  • assume everything is going and choose what you will keep.

Abby Lawson and Dan Silvestre, among others, have drawn attention to Marie’s observations that “People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking” and “It’s not about what to discard, it’s what to keep”.

Decisions about what to keep in high performance sport are often taken over by the politics of discarding.

A four-year plan for a return to Australia raises some very important #coachlearninginsport issues. One that Australia has to resolve is where these games will be played in four years time … and on what kind of surfaces. (The wicket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the fourth Ashes test in the 2017-2018 series was categorised as poor by the International cricket Council.) One that England will have to face is how to optimise the performance of a team of champions.

I am hopeful that these kind of issues lead to a wider conversation about playing and coaching in different cultural contexts. For my part, I am keen to see teams win at home and compete away from home.

This season in Australia, it is anticipated that there will be 2 million spectators attending cricket games. Almost 800,000 of these will have attended an Ashes day of cricket. Whilst there has been a very significant presence of English supporters, many of the spectators are Australians who would have relished home success.

There are players who bring joy. I am hopeful long-term plans include them, particularly as they gain experience in winning, losing and drawing. This is, I believe, a great #coachlearninginsport opportunity.

Cue Marie Kondo:

By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past… It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past. (My emphasis)

Photo Credits

All over (Kate Holdsworth, Twitter)

SCG Day 5 (Martin Chubby Connor, Twitter)

Supporting playfulness

I was fortunate to spend three days in Penguin, Tasmania over Christmas.

At the west of the town is Johnson’s Beach. I was particularly interested in the layout of the beach area in the context of ongoing discussions in my home town, Braidwood, about how to create play spaces within the town’s heritage area.

There is a skate park at Johnson’s Beach.

I liked the clarity of the code of conduct there:

and the guidelines:

The signs and the space were very well kept and exemplified the ‘RESPECT’ invitation of the signage.

Around the corner from the skate park are some exercise machines (Fit for Parks). They have a beautiful outlook to the west.

The machines are well maintained, have very clear instructions for use and include a QR code for each station that links to a video for further information.

When you have finished the work out or the skate and scooter manoeuvres, there is a place to relax and enjoy the view.

I thought the facilities at Johnson’s Beach were exemplary. Their co-location made it possible to have an inter-generational space. We were there during the school term and saw a small number of young people use the skate park (on scooters). We did see people using the exercise stations and I saw two people use their smart phones to check out the exercises.

The area was very clean and I had a sense that there was a shared responsibility for its upkeep and appearance.

I do think that examples like this can support the conversations we are having in Braidwood about creating play spaces for young people whilst acknowledging the concerns some people have about the town’s heritage.

Photo Credits

Keith Lyons (CC BY 4.0)