#coachlearninginsport: our game?

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Introduction

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.

By happenchance, I have come across a rich seam of ideas of late prompted by the mob at myfastestmile. Through them, I have been introduced to the remarkable Sporticus.

#Relearn

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Overnight, I saw this alert

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.

Autoethnography

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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?

Anush

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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:

Anush

The story appeared in print in 1992. The reference is:

Lyons, K. (1992). Telling stories from the field? A discussion of an ethnographic approach to researching the teaching of physical education. Research in physical education and sport: Exploring alternative visions, 248-270.

 

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.

Real Learning

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.

Photo Credits

Adelaide Oval (Jack Tanner, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

#relearn (Andrew Gillott)

Autoethnography (St. Blaize, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Red Basketball Hoop (Acid Pix, CC BY 2.0)

Coincidence, Serendipity and Synchronicity

An item on Radio National’s Book Program introduced me to Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz’s Australian Encounters. It is a “little book of literary trivia about chance meetings, and some influential ones too, between writers, politicians, artists, singers and activists.”

Subjects in the book include Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, Donald Bradman and Boris Karloff, Margaret Fulton and Elizabeth David, Michael Hutchence and Kylie Minogue, Nana Mouskouri and Frank Hardy, Martina Navratilova, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Brian Burke, Henry Kissinger, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Menzies, Helena Rubinstein, and many more according to news of the book’s publication.

I had not seen Shane and Chris’s Encounters when they appeared in The Monthly. Shane notes that:

As the title suggests, these are snapshots depicting a connection, relationship or meeting between famous or notorious Australians or, occasionally, an Australian and a famous foreigner. However unlikely they sometimes appear, all are real – and as accurate as I can make them, based on historical documents or interviews with the people concerned.

This is an example … Bob Hawke and Frank Sinatra.

As I listened to the interview I thought of the words we use about meeting important people in our lives … coincidence, chance, synchronicity, serendipity, happenchance, fortune, fate, destiny. I remembered too discussions long ago about the role serendipity plays in qualitative field research and the classical example of Robert and Helen Lynd’s Middletown studies.

More recently Allen Foster and Nigel Ford (2003) have observed that serendipity is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “The faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident.” It first appeared in a letter Horace Walpole sent to Sir Horace Mann on 28 January 1754.  They note that “Serendipity has been considered in the literature to form an integral part of the creative process in the arts and humanities, social sciences and the sciences. In each, however, the experience of serendipity may be different.”

I like 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.

If you have an opportunity to listen to the Book Show interview with Shane Maloney then your journey will start with a story of a chance meeting with a young poet, Leonard Cohen, on a Greek Island, the purchase of a blue raincoat and someone called Marianne. Perhaps the chance encounter with this post will lead you on your own reflections about meeting people who have helped to establish your identity.

Photo Credits

To meet by chance

Serendipity

Unexpected meeting