#coachlearninginsport: ethnography and learning experience

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This is a second #coachlearninginsport post.

I have been fortunate to have seen a draft report on some research underway with Elite Coach Developers in the United Kingdom.

The report raises some important issues based, in part, on semi-structured interviews with twelve people in elite coach developer roles.

I have suggested in an earlier post that my thinking about what these roles are guides me to ‘learning’ rather than ‘development’. (A paper by Chris Trevitt, Anne Macduff and Aliya Steed (2014) on legal education and continuing professional learning helped me clarify my thoughts about learning as my focus. Their discussion about assessment and ‘warrant’ helped me clarify my thoughts about accreditation too.)

The UK paper proposes a continuum of tasks undertaken by elite coach developers (from people orientations through general tasks to system activities). In exploring a competency approach the authors of the draft report observe:

The three categories of professional attributes, professional knowledge and professional skills proved useful in helping to articulate and clarify the key competencies needed by Elite Coach Developers.

As I read the report, my thoughts turned to the potential of Elite Coach Learning Meddlers to partner coaches’ personal learning journeys. I use ‘meddler’ not in a pejorative sense but in the exciting pedagogical sense used by Erica McWilliam.

She argues that the meddler’s classroom is:

  • Respect rich
  • Structure rich
  • Conversation rich
  • Information rich
  • Challenge rich

The draft UK report has accelerated my thinking about how we support learning journeys. My work with twenty-one elite coaches has encouraged me to draw upon my interests in and experiences of ethnography and phenomenography to build a stories about and around their personal learning environments.

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Thinking about meddling in coach learning took me onto the blurring of relationships between coach and coach developer.

Norman Denzin (2003) and his discussion of performance ethnography. In the Preface to his book, Norman observes:

We inhabit a performance-based, dramaturgical culture. The dividing line between performance and audience blurs, and culture itself becomes a dramatic performance. (p.x)

I am attending a meeting today of people who are passionate about coach learning. I am hopeful the idea of a meddler resonates with them. Each of them is involved in coach story building, sharing and telling.

I am saving a conversation about poetics for another time.

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