Discovering Ma

A picture of ripples created by raindrops

By chance, I heard someone talking about ma today. It was a conversation about minimalism and architecture. Ma is a Japanese term.

The Unique Japan web site (link) observes:

Ma is something that relates to all aspects of life. It has been described as a pause in time, an interval or emptiness in space. Ma is the fundamental time and space life needs to grow. If we have no time, if our space is restricted, we cannot grow. How we spend our time and shape the space we live in directly impacts our progress. These principles are universal, when applied effectively they enhance the way we think and how we engage with our surroundings.

Ma is “the space between the edges, between the beginning and the end, the space and time in which we experience life” (link).

Another web site defines ma as “the emptiness full of possibilities, like a promise yet to be fulfilled” (link).

In exploring ma, I am mindful of the lack of any equivalent in the English language.

I am attracted to ma, as it helps me make sense of how we might use space and time in game playing to transform our experiences. And perhaps to move to what Yoko Akama (2015) conceptualises as “between-ness as a way of becoming with” (link).

I am keen to explore the pedagogical aspects of this. I sense that this a relationship between coach and athlete, teacher and student that has a profound effect on everyone involved.

Photo Credit

Photo by Caroline Grondin on Unsplash

Performance Analytics and Pedagogy

Some recent posts have encouraged me to think about pedagogy for a new age of performance analytics in sport.

It started with Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel‘s speakerdeck Let them eat cake (first)! (link). Slide 16:

Slide 61 really pushed me to think about how we might share with a different kind of pedagogy:

… and brought back memories of Jo Ito‘s observation “education is what people do to you, learning is what you do to yourself”.

Next up was Karen Gold’s Transforming the First Ten Minutes of Class (link). In her post, she notes:

After attending Penny Kittle’s workshop on 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents last summer, I made the decision to shift my teaching-. Like most teachers, I’ve done a lot of professional development. I’d come away refreshed and excited to try something new, but too often, it was challenging to incorporate a big, new idea into the fast-paced routine of school. Penny’s workshop was different. Something resonated with me that summer morning, and I thought, “I can do this. I WILL do this.”

Karen’s story shares her experiences of encouraging children to read at the start of a lesson. Day 1:

Instead of going over a syllabus or introducing course expectations, the librarians and I gave brief book talks, sharing novels we had read or that we knew were well-received by young adults.

This sounded like Mine’s cake to me. As did Solomon Kingsworth’s discussion of reading comprehension (link), he proposed:

If reading comprehension relies on background knowledge and mental models of the world, then the purpose of our lessons should be to leave the child with more knowledge and mental models.

Solomon talks about the pedagogy that shares the treasure that lies within each book.

This pushed me to think how we share treasure in our domain and epistemic culture in a new information age. And how, as The Economist suggested recently, our first step is “to understand that it is not data that are valuable. It is you” (link).

Three examples from sport appeared as I was pondering these issues:

Laura Seth shared news of a webinar hosted by the FA in January to discuss Performance Analysis & Effective Observations (link).

Mladen Jovanovic published Predicting non-contact hamstring injuries by using training load data and machine learning models (link).

Sam Robertson tweeted a list “of the type of sports science/analytics research I think we need to see more of in 2019”:

  • Optimising the structure, efficiency and communication practices of practitioner teams
  • More club, institution, university and manufacturer collaboration to address ‘whole of sport’ problems
  • Longitudinal skill/learning interventions in team sport settings.
  • New and better methods for coaches to improve communication, rapport & trust with athletes
  • Analysis of raw tracking data.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration,  psychophysics (utility of visuals in reporting and learning), cognitive science.
  • Field application of work undertaken in other disciplines (deep learning & unstructured data), automation and semi-automation of many manual processes currently faced by sports practitioners, and human and machine integration.

Laura, Mladen and Sam are actively engaged in service delivery in high performance sport. As I read their posts I was thinking about how a pedagogy of praxis might engage the next generation of performance analytics.

I am thinking that my pedagogy will move even more strongly to an unmeeting approach with lots of mention of cake.

Photo Credit

Person holding black fruit near cake  (Alex Loup on Unsplash)

Making sense of data practices

Laura Ellis has been writing this week about solving business problems with data (link). The alert to her post came shortly after another link had taken me back to a presentation by Dan Weaving in 2017 on load monitoring in sport (link). A separate alert had drawn my attention to two Cassie Kozyrkov articles, one on hypotheses (link) and the second on what great data analysts do (link).

I have all these as tabs in my browser at the moment. They joined the tab holding David Snowden and Mary Boone’s (2007) discussion of a leader’s framework for decision-making (link).

These five connections make for fascinating reading. A good starting point, I think, is David and Mary’s visualisation that forms the reference point for the application of the Cynefin framework:

They observe “the Cynefin framework helps leaders determine the prevailing operative context so that they can make appropriate choices”.

The 2007 visualisation was modified in 2014 when ‘simple‘ became ‘obvious‘ (link). Disorder is in the centre of the diagram wherein there is no clarity about which of the other domains apply:

In a book chapter published in the year 2000 (link), David notes “the Cynefin model focuses on the location of knowledge in an organization using cultural and sense making …”. Laura, Dan and Cassie provide excellent examples of this sense-making in their own cultural contexts.

Many of my colleagues in sport will appreciate this slide from Dan’s presentation that exhorts us “to adopt a systematic process to reduce data by understanding the similarity and uniqueness of the multiple measures we collect”:

… whilst being very clear about the time constraints to share the outcomes of this process with coaches.

Photo Credit

Arboretum – Bonsai (Meg Rutherford, CC BY 2.0)