The word happenchance delights me. It brings together coincidence, serendipity and synchronicity for me.
Some time ago, I came across Seth Baker’s approach to Happenchance:
Happenchance is for anyone who wants to do things better: creative people, adventurers, travelers, wanderers, and dreamers. Anyone who won’t settle for the status quo, who wants to rise above mediocrity and conformity, and do something exciting, amazing, or engaging.
This site is for people with an open and relaxed attitude towards life.
- People whose passion and interests take them in new and unexpected directions.
- People who don’t mind trying new things.
- People who aren’t afraid of failing.
- People willing to embrace chance and serendipity.
I believe that by making our own luck, embracing chance, and working hard, we all have the opportunity to make our lives richer, more satisfying, and more fun.
What's your story?
— Sporticus (@ImSporticus) November 1, 2015
I thought it was an outstanding reflection on the conversations stimulated by the recent #relearn meeting in Marlow hosted by myfastestmile.
In his post, Sporticus discusses a conversation with a former pupil, Josh, on a train. Josh played rugby for Sporticus’s school and was coached by him. Josh’s story told by Sporticus includes this:
Josh finished by saying that he stopped playing because he no longer wanted to play my game. MY GAME. We shook hands and parted at Paddington, but that train journey made me start to question many of my approaches I had to both teaching and coaching. I no longer wanted it to be MY GAME, I wanted to ensure it was their game. I wanted to see if there was another way, one that didn’t make children fall out of love with THEIR GAME.
This is a great story to share. I have been thinking all day about how as a meddler-in-the-middle I might be part of a process of building OUR GAME as a teacher and a coach.
This does involve a concerted attempt to engage in meta-learning (learning about learning). I think storytelling is a great way to do this. I see the creation of OUR GAME as a wonderful co-operative venture.
As a teacher and coach, I aspire to have a compelling story to share. The older I become (and perhaps more experienced in life matters), the more I want to be part of the co-creation of the game that is inclusive, exciting and sensitive to personal differences.
It has an OURNESS about it.
In the late 1980s, I was completing my PhD in Physical Education. I decided to craft my thesis as a collection of stories about five teachers in two schools.
I was fortunate that at that time John van Maanen was writing about writing in anthropology. One observer wrote of John van Maanen’s approach:
His goal is not to establish one true way to write ethnography, but rather to make ethnographers of all varieties examine their assumptions about what constitutes a truthful cultural portrait and select consciously and carefully the voice most appropriate for their tales.
Sporticus’s story of Josh and the reflection prompted by their meeting is a great example of John van Maanen’s confessional tale. I have been fascinated how this kind of approach has produced autoethnographic accounts in the last thirty years.
Sporticus ends his post with these two sentences:
The start of that journey started with a story. What’s yours?
My response is to share a story that helped me think about OUR GAME.
May I introduce you to Anush and basketball fever?
This story created a significantly long conversation in my PhD viva voce examination. My examiner wanted to know if this was a fictional account. I produced my fieldwork diary for the lesson and the storm passed.
It is a lesson enabled by an expert pedagogue. Anush is one of the pupils in the lesson.
This is the introduction to it:
The story appeared in print in 1992. The reference is:
Bob helped me understand how the craft of teaching could create a most wonderful world of learning. His clarity enabled all his mixed ability classes to flourish.
Just after I received Sporticus’s tweet, I noticed an alert from Jay Cross about Real Learning. I think his video (3 minutes) might be a good way to end this post about stories and OUR GAME.
Al, Andrew and Mark at myfastest mile and Sporticus have made my day by nudging me towards my own reflection on learning. I am hopeful that my sense of learning resonates with them and has affinities with Jay’s views.
An inescapable OURNESS.