Performance Universals

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I have been following the Twitter feed from #Ascilite 2016.

The conference is sharing innovation, practice and research in educational technologies in tertiary education. It is being held in Adelaide, 27-30 November.

Early on in the feed from the conference, I noticed Chad Gladovic’s picture from Ryan Baker’s keynote:

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By coincidence, as Ryan was speaking and Chad taking the picture, I was compiling my data from Round 4 of the W-League.

After 16 games:

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Both sets of data set me off thinking about cultural universals (memories of my early experiences of sociology often send me off thinking about the social construction of reality).

Donald Brown (1991) proposes that cultural universals are “those features of culture, society, language, behavior, and psyche for which there are no known exception”.

I think my data are short of the ‘no known exception test’ but they do raise for me some important questions about learning and coaching in sport as well as about learning and teaching in tertiary education.

Geoffrey Lloyd (2010) notes in his discussion of universals:

the way a person reasons reflects their attitudes and character, the kind of person they are, itself the product of a complex of factors, biological ones, no doubt, as well as those relating to upbringing and social acculturation.

In the background, and often in the foreground, of my thinking is the debate about Charles Reep’s analysis of football performance.

Whenever I see debates about Charles’ work, I recall Penelope Brown and Steven Levinson’s (1987) discussions of politeness in which: we are assuming that the mutual knowledge of members’ public self-image or face, and the social necessity to orient oneself to interaction, are universal.

I wonder too if the presentation of universals helps us clarify our own thoughts about behaviours such as … being inducted into a course of study or developing game understanding to dominate football contests.

Photo Credit

Another ALMA antenna (European Southern Observatory, CC BY 2.0)

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