In this paper we propose that the term skill acquisition, as commonly used in traditional psychology, and the philosophy, education, movement science and performance development literatures, has been biased by an organismic asymmetry. In cognitive and experimental psychology, for example, it refers to the establishment of an internal state or representation of an act which is believed to be acquired as a result of learning and task experience. Here we elucidate an ecological perspective which suggests that the term skill acquisition (...) may not refer to an entity but rather to the emergence of an adaptive, functional relationship between an organism and its environment, thus avoiding an inherent organismic asymmetry in theorizing. In this respect, the terms 'skill adaptation' or 'skill attunement' might be more suitable to describe this process. (shrink)
Internationally, governments, health and exercise practitioners are struggling with the threat posed by physical inactivity leading to worsening outcomes in health and life expectancy and the associated high economic costs. To meet this challenge it is important to enhance the quality, and quantity, of participation in sports and physical activity throughout the life course to sustain healthy and active lifestyles. This paper supports the need to develop a physically literate population, who meaningfully engage in play and physical activity through the (...) development of functional movement skills in enriched environments. This is a shift away from reductionist approaches to physical activity engagement and maintenance to an ecological dynamics approach that focuses on enrichment to support functional movement skill learning and development. This is an embedded approach to physical literacy that allows learners the space and time to “explore–discover” within environments that will lead to a concomitant self-organization of highly intricate network of co-dependent sub-systems resulting in functional movement solutions for the performance task and enduring positive adaptations to subsystems supporting the physical literacy journey across the life course. “Explore-discover adapt” is at the heart of two contemporary learner-centered pedagogies: Non-linear Pedagogy and the Athletic Skills Model. Both emphasize the importance of enrichment experiences from an early age, and throughout life course, and both appreciate the inherent complexity involved in the learning process and the importance of designing a rich and varied range of athletic, participatory experiences that will support the embedded development of physical literacy leading to ongoing physical activity for all. The final part of this paper will demonstrate the potential of an ecological dynamics approach for supporting the concept of physical literacy by providing a roadmap for a reliable and valid measurement of physical literacy when considered from both an ecological dynamics perspective and the phenomenology understanding of physical literacy. (shrink)
For the dynamical hypothesis to be defended as a viable alternative to a computational perspective on natural cognition, the role of biological constraints needs to be considered. This task requires a detailed understanding of the structural organization and function of the dynamic nervous system, as well as a theoretical approach that grounds cognitive activity within the constraints of organism and ecological context.
Arbib et al.'s comprehensive review of neural organization, over-relies on modernist concepts and restricts our understanding of brain and behavior. Reliance on terms like coding, transformation, and representation perpetuates a “black-box approach” to the study of the brain. Recognition is due to the authors for attempting to introduce postmodern concepts such as chaos and self-organization to the study of neural organization. However, confusion occurs in the implementation of “biologically rooted” schema theory in which schemas are viewed as computer programs. The (...) inclusion of an additional functional level between structure and dynamics is unnecessary in a postmodernist perspective of brain and behavior. (shrink)
In this manuscript, we extend ecological approaches and suggest ideas for enhancing athlete development by utilizing the Skilled Intentionality Framework. A broad aim is to illustrate the extent to which social, cultural and historical aspects of life are embodied in the way football is played and the skills young footballers develop during learning. Here, we contend that certain aspects of the world are “weighted” with social and cultural significance, “standing out” to be more readily perceived and simultaneously acted upon when (...) playing football. To comprehend how patterns of team coordination and athletic skill embody aspects of culture and context we outline the value-directedness of player-environment intentionality. We demonstrate that the values an individual can express are constrained by the character of the social institutions and the social order in which people live. In particular, we illuminate the extent to which value-directedness can act as a constraint on the skill development of football players “for good or ill.” We achieve this goal by outlining key ecological and relational concepts that help illustrate the extent to which affordances are value-realizing and intentionality is value-directed. To enhance coaching practice, we offer: insights into markers of skilled intentionality, and, the language of skilled intentions, as well as highlighting, an additional principle of Non-linear Pedagogy: Shaping skilled intentions, or more precisely shaping the value-directedness of player-environment intentionality. We contend that, if sport practitioners do not skilfully attend to sociocultural constraints and shape the intentions of players within training environments and games, the social, cultural, and historic constraints of their environment will do so: constantly soliciting some affordances over others and directing skill development. (shrink)