The sounds of performances of understanding

When I was living in North Wales in the late 1990s, I took an online course, Teaching for Understanding, with the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The course taught me about performances of understanding and how I might plan for them in my teaching and coaching.

The concept and practice of performances of understanding have had a profound impact on me since that time. I have been mindful that in the learning environments I seek to create, I need to provide space for:

  • Messing about
  • Guided inquiry
  • Performance as a synthesis of understanding

One of the ways I seek to enhance my understanding of the observation and analysis of performance is to look at performance in contexts other than sport.

I do not attend music concerts but if I did, this is the kind of event that would appeal to me (a 2 min 40s video of the Pierce Brothers and Tash Sultana):

I had discovered the Pierce Brothers a few years ago as buskers on a tram in Melbourne and as the sound track for a video about Ballarat. I had missed Tash’s busking career on Bourke Street and Swanston Street.

The video was filmed at the Barwon Heads Pub on 25 March 2016.

I took four grabs from the video to encapsulate my sense of the flow of the performance (which was an encore after the main show that night).

I wondered if you managed to look at the video whether these moments resonate with you too.

What I read as performances of understanding in this video synthesised for me their self-directed, intrinsically motivated pathways (Tash’s story).

There is a mutual recognition of these performances in the audience’s response. It seemed the kind of evening you would remember for a long time.

Tash and the Pierce Brothers start a world tour later this month that ends in September in Paris. A number of their performances are already sold out.

I am hoping they might revisit Flying Home.

The process of writing this post has helped me think even more about minimalist augmentation in sport contexts. It has encouraged my “less is more” approach and my consideration of the language we develop and the stories we share about qualitative experiences.

Leave a Reply