Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing

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#SCP12: The Expert Pedagogue

This week we are discussing characteristics of an Expert Pedagogue in the Sport Coaching Pedagogy unit at the University of Canberra.

This is the SlideCast for the presentation:

During the presentation I intended to discuss the contribution of three people to the consideration of expert pedagogy:

In 2001, John Wooden gave a TED talk. I thought this was a fascinating video of someone who had been teaching and coaching since the 1930s.

I wrote about Coach Wooden in 2010 shortly after his death. In that post I included Bill Dwyre’s reminiscence:

On Oct. 14, 2000, he will be 90 years old. Yet he walks me out, shuffling alongside and making sure the gate is open and that I can find my way comfortably. My comfort is his. As I drive away, I remember something he told me weeks ago, a quote from Mother Teresa that he found meaningful: “A life not lived for others is not a life.” And I find myself wondering if there really is another one like him out there, or if this really is as good as it gets.

Bill’s observation took me back to another post I had written about humility and leadership. But that is a topic for another day!


Communication, Social Media and the Coach

I am meeting with Robin McConnell‘s undergraduate Advanced Coaching Studies’ group on 29 April.

My discussion topic is Communication, Social Media and the Coach.

This blog post is the start of a conversation with the group in advance of the meeting.

I am keen to discuss:

  1. Coach and athlete communication.
  2. Opportunities provided by social media to share ideas and discuss performance.
  3. Augmented information.

This blog has a number of posts on these topics. I am hopeful that the students coming to the meeting have an opportunity to look at:

There are many more posts that might be of interest (and some SlideShare presentations) but I am keen to explore how students in the group engage with social media and cloud computing. I will be asking about slow reading too (Kingsley, 2010). I will recommend SIRC’s excellent social media resource and mention Wirearchy via Harold Jarche’s post Social Learning, Complexity and the Enterprise. I will point to Tom Slee’s post on social media (via Kent Anderson), Jason Kramer-Duffield’s discussion of communication ecologies and evidence about the Internet and civil society. Brian Solis posted about the social genome in his discussion of The Three C’s of Social Networking (consumption, curation, creation).

A recent report from Canada (2011) points out that:

Cloud computing is a loose and evolving term generally referring to the increasing use of computer applications that are web-based. A cloud-based application does not need to be downloaded to a user’s computer or institutional servers, and the data used by the application and inputted by the user is housed on servers elsewhere. The application works remotely: it’s not physically present, it could be anywhere in the world (hence the term “in the cloud”).

Social media applications are by definition cloud-based: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogging services like, Blogger, Tumblr or Posterous, or link sharing sites like StumbleUpon, Digg. Any individual may sign on and start using such services independent of their institutional affiliations.

The students in the group will graduate this year at a remarkable time. As coaches in a digital age they will become produsers of learning resources that can have profound impacts on personal learning environments.The scale of this age is indicated by Gary Hayes’ Social Media Counts (13 April 2011):

(For an alternative set of metrics see Is Social Media Ruining Students?)

I hope to end our discussions on with a consideration of leadership behaviours that will resonate with Robin’s discussion throughout the unit. I hope too that we can explore the role augmented information plays in short, medium and long-term coach-athlete relationships.

I will be suggesting that the students follow up on a great case study of the use of social media. Mark Upton and Robert Oatey have developed Mark and Robert are strong advocates of coach education and are “true believers in the potential of the online medium to deliver content that can enhance a wide variety of coaching methods and disciplines”. I think Mark’s post, Creating the ‘coachable moment’ with PlayerTube and online video, exemplifies excellent use of social media based upon profound understanding of the coaching process.

After all this discussion I will recommend reading Connectivism & The Relationship Era. The post includes this observation which seems a great place to end the day’s conversation:

In the connectivist learning model, the flow of knowledge is more important than the knowledge itself. In other words, the process is more important than the content. The main reason for this is that there is a constant need for quick adaptation. In this era, knowledge must be directed quickly to where it is needed to be applied. Once it has served its purpose, it is archived and momentarily forgotten. Notice that discarding information is now practically unheard of because once the connection has been made (i.e. something is learned), it will be stored somewhere. The additional task is mere retrieval or recollection.


In this post I am considering free social media. There are a variety of third part software services available too. A recent white paper on Becoming a Social Business (2011) observes that:

The rise in consumer-oriented social networking applications and platforms over recent years has drawn curiosity from enterprises both large and small. IDC believes that curiosity has turned into business opportunity as the lines between consumer and enterprise continue to blur. Unfortunately, adoption of social software in the enterprise has encountered some skepticism due to the hype surrounding the technology and the perception that it is the younger generations’ means for socializing with friends. It has also been criticized as being a waste of time. Yet there is evidence to suggest that this doubt is shifting and that enterprise social software is becoming the next generation of collaboration tools to enhance organizational productivity.

As an example IBM has a social software available (IBM Connections):

Photo Credits

Coaches watching the fight

Coach with the wrestler’s hat

Wrestler with his coach

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Insights for Coaches from Learning Design

I have just returned from Bradys Lake in Tasmania.

I was there for a canoe slalom race that was part of the selection process for the Australian canoe slalom team.

Every time I go to a sport event I think about the relationships that athletes and coaches build to develop performances. In Donald Schon tradition I reflect in action and on action. I believe that I bring an educational approach to my own coaching and relationships with athletes and hope that I try to improve my coaching continuously.

At present I have a voracious appetite to learn more about the technical aspects of canoe slalom. I have never paddled a kayak and so my coaching of the sport is based entirely upon my real-time observation and an unequivocal commitment to athlete flourishing. Sometimes I fail miserably in both regards but I do have a philosophy that guides me, helps me to get back on track and bounceback.

I was thinking about this philosophy this morning when I received a link from Stephen Downes to Abhijit Kadle’s post on Learning Design Philosophy. In the post Abhijit suggests that:

Learning design is not just a science, it is an art. When the team works and generates effective learning designs, they are a result of a deep rooted instructional design philosophy.

Abhijit adds that:

We (Upside Learning) like to look at instructional design in two clear veins, the first is the philosophy of learning design – the beliefs and faith in models that underly everything we do in design. The second is the methodology, the method and process based on these models that allow us to consistently generate good designs for all our clients and their unique situation. The philosophy is what we imbibe, methodology is what we practice.

Abhijit discusses the influence of three instructional design theoreticians in forming this philosophy: Benjamin Bloom, David Merrill, and Robert Mager. Upside draw upon:

I enjoyed the serendipity of receiving Stephen’s link to Abhijit’s post and the relevance of Stephen’s comment in a discussion of best and worst learning experiences that:

The best learning I’ve ever done has been on my own, working through a hard problem, by reading and then writing, either text, or software, or derivations. This is also the hardest learning I’ve done; most of the people I could talk to don’t understand it well enough to explain it, and attempting to work it through leads to more confusion than clarity.

I think there are some great insights here for coaches. I am intrigued by how coaches develop insights into performance and have a sense of long-term progression. I am particularly interested in guided discovery as the foundation of athlete development and realise that in my own coaching this involves an interplay between philosophy and method.

Without the philosophy there is no compass for learning. Abjihit’s post has reminded me that I need to be very clear about the theoretical guides for my work.

It is marvelous that this opportunity arose because of the efforts of a resident of Moncton, New Brunswick to share a daily news feed!

Photo Credit

Bradys Lake, Central Tasmania

Lifted Up

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Emotional Touchpoints

I sat in today on a talk given by Catriona Kennedy.

Catriona is Reader and School Director for Research

and Knowledge Transfer in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Care

at Edinburgh Napier University.

Catriona presented a summary of work undertaken at the Edinburgh Napier University in nursing. I was very interested in her discussion of the Cochrane Review process and outputs. I liked the diversity of methods she and her team had used and are using. I noted in particular her use of emotional touchpoints in qualitative research.

I was intrigued by the possibilities of emotional touchpoints for my growing interest in deliberation and conversation. I think too these touchpoints might help in exploring learning biographies and coaches’ stories.

Paul Bate and Glenn Robert (2007) provided the stimulus for Catriona and her colleagues’ use of emotional touchpoints. The 2007 paper reports on an original experience-based design (EBD) intervention methodology “designed and tested by the authors and colleagues in a cancer clinic within the National Health Service”. Joanna Goodrich and Jocelyn Cornwell (2008) report that:

Experience-based design (EBD) is a methodology for working with groups of patients and staff to improve services developed for health care settings by Paul Bate and Glenn Robert. Drawing on the knowledge and ideas of the design sciences and design professions, where the aim of making products or buildings better for the user is achieved by making the users integral to the design process itself, the focus is on how patients and staff move (or are moved) through the service and interact with its various parts. Patients work with staff to ‘co-design’ improvements in the experience of using the service (mapping the subjective as well as the objective pathway of care). The involvement of patients and staff on an equal footing is much deeper than that in ‘patient involvement’ projects where patients are often treated as objects for study, rather than partners. How the service ‘feels’ or is experienced is seen as equally important as how fit for purpose it is (functionality) and how safe it is. Bate and Robert have given a step-by-step guide to the methodology and illustrated it with the case of a 12-month pilot, funded by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, in head and neck cancer services at Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust.
Joanna Goodrich and Jocelyn Cornwell (2008) observe that the “act of bringing patients and staff together to hear the others’
stories about how they experience the service works as a dynamic catalyst for change and improvement.” They summarise Paul Bate and Glenn Robert (2007) thus:
During the pilot, patients and staff worked together to identify the key ‘touch points’ (or ‘moments of truth’) which had shaped their personal experiences of the head and neck service. This then enabled them to work together to prioritise and then implement – through 70 separate actions – a total of 43 improvements. Two of these improvements have directly increased the efficiency of the head and neck service (for example, the throughput of patients at the outpatients clinic), four have improved patient safety (eg, expanding staff competencies on the post-surgical ward), while the remainder – the majority (37 improvements) – have improved the experience of the service (eg, giving patients a choice as to when their feeding tube should be fitted). Of these, 12 related to better information provision at various points of the patient journey, 11 related to changes in the physical environments experienced by the patients, 9 related to changes in staff behaviour and 4 related to a desire for greater support mechanisms (particularly involving other patients).

Belinda Dewar and Richard Mackay (2009) used an emotional touchpoint approach to their work to learn more about the experience of compassionate care. They report that using emotional touchpoints:

has been a powerful experience. They are easy to use and it’s really hard not to be driven to action from the story. Hearing the positive things about practice has been a real insight – we often don’t know the small things that matter so much to the patient and perhaps we take for granted. One example: “My mum needed the loo and I told somebody – they said it wasn’t a problem and asked me to wait outside. I could hear them outside the room and they were chatting away to mum at her level – they were having a laugh together and sharing things. I felt proud as the staff had probably heard what she was saying so many times already but they reacted as if they had heard what she was saying for the first time. This felt good.”

Belinda and Richard suggest that this approach has improved practice in the following ways:

  • Seeking feedback based on the person’s emotional response to a situation cannot be disputed and it has helped us challenge assumptions about what we think the patient/family feels and wants.
  • Staff are more at ease about hearing negative aspects of a patient/family experience as the method doesn’t directly focus on blaming the service.
  • Better relationships have been developed with patient and family members especially if they have been involved in shaping the service.
  • Actions taken forward are based on real and meaningful evidence and staff feel moved and motivated to have another look at what we do.

I think this approach has a great deal to offer a range of qualitative research approaches. I do want to explore these touchpoints in the context of deliberation and conversation. I think they will become powerful connections in inter-professional learning and practice.

Photo Credits

Floating Hospital Nurses


Helping Grandmother Walk



I am fascinated by the way we characterise an occupation. Recently I wrote in this blog about the work of an affineur. This week I have discovered another French role that I thought might help discuss coaching and coach development.

The role is that of an échanson. The French Wikipedia says that an échanson:

était un officier chargé de servir à boire à un roi, un prince ou à tout autre personnage de haut rang. En raison de la crainte permanente d’intrigues et de complots, la charge revenait à une personne en qui le souverain plaçait une confiance totale. L’échanson devait en particulier veiller à écarter tout risque d’empoisonnement et parfois même goûter le vin avant de le servir.

In summary, the échanson was “a high ranking official of the court, totally trusted, because his job included making sure that the King did not get poisoned”.

The Conseil des Echansons de France , owner of the Wine Museum of Paris, was created in 1954 for the advocacy and promotion of the best wines coming from French soil.

Among the founders of the Conseil figured famous art restorers and Parisian wine merchants. According to an ancient tradition, the echanson , or cupbearer, is he who pours the beverage. At the king court, this the position of echanson was deemed one of the highest honours from very early on. This position was reserved only for trustworthy men of the nobility. The Grand Echanson de France , or simply, Echanson de France , served the king personally at four annual celebrations: Spring, Whitsunday, All Saints’ Day, and Christmas. With the help of his assistants, the grand echanson managed the king’s wine cellars in addition to overseeing more ordinary services. Caretakers of the tradition, the members of the Conseil des Echansons embody the knowledge and experience of their illustrious predecessors. Its mission is to maintain a certain savoir-faire and to preserve the quality that accounts for the universal renown of French wines.

In these days of coaching teams it would be fascinating to think of the role of assistant coaches as échansons. Each of them bringing a very special care to the support of the head coach, each with knowledge of particular domains. It interests me too how each generation of coaching teams creates a savoir-faire linked to the history of a club or team.

I am not sure that the coach recruitment process is at the point where adverts are placed for a coach with affineur qualities or an assistant coach with experience as an échanson. But I imagine the job description might allude to the kinds of knowledge and experience these roles (affineur and échanson) imply.

I wonder what might happen if a sommelier applies for an échanson position … would it help me clarify roles?

Photo Credits

The Secret Stash


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Creating Environments: Ecology Insights for Coaches

Many years ago (late 1970s) I had an opportunity to coach my first student rugby team. I remember asking one of the coaches I admired for his advice about establishing the values and behaviours in a team. He suggested that I should give myself a minimum of five years to create an environment over which I had some measure of control.

I was thinking about the advice James Thomson Greenwood gave me this week thirty-two years on when I was exploring the insights coaches might gain from ecologists. It did take me five years to build a ‘tradition’ and even then it was a fragile eco system.

The ecology ideas that prompted my reflection were highlighted by Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry in their documentary about New Zealand’s black robin and kakapo.

When I followed up on the work of Don Merton and explored the planning for recovery and the delivery of recovery in island habitats I realised what some of the connections might be for building coaching environments. Whilst a report by Ben Bell and Don Merton (2002) may not be standard literature for coaches it does contain great insights into the establishment and management of a self-contained system.

The common factor for ecologists and coaches is passion! I liked the description of the Kakapo Recovery Team and its commitment to the development, management and protection of habitat. My reading of the work in New Zealand leaves me in awe of the achievements of a small number of dedicated people with a vision for what is possible and the resilience to make it happen on minimal funding and voluntary effort.

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Coaches Watching the Fight


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Last month I wrote about pressures on sport coaches. I have been thinking about ways to support coaches as they develop and negotiate the competing demands that they face. Yesterday a documentary about the study of baboons in Kenya gave me a great lead.

Given that I have an interest in ecology and ethology (not to mention sociobiology) I am surprised that I have not come across Robert Sapolsky‘s work before now. I should have picked up on his Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers when I wrote about evolutionary biology and social connections.

Robert Saplosky and Lisa Share’s (2004) paper notes that :

Reports exist of transmission of culture in nonhuman primates. We examine this in a troop of savanna baboons studied since 1978. During the mid-1980s, half of the males died from tuberculosis; because of circumstances of the outbreak, it was more aggressive males who died, leaving a cohort of atypically unaggressive survivors. A decade later, these behavioral patterns persisted. Males leave their natal troops at adolescence; by the mid-1990s, no males remained who had resided in the troop a decade before. Thus, critically, the troop’s unique culture was being adopted by new males joining the troop. We describe (a) features of this culture in the behavior of males, including high rates of grooming and affiliation with females and a “relaxed” dominance hierarchy; (b) physiological measures suggesting less stress among low-ranking males; (c) models explaining transmission of this culture; and (d) data testing these models, centered around treatment of transfer males by resident females.

In his Primate’s Memoir, Robert provides rich detail about his work and his study of stress. An article on him in The Edge notes that:

ROBERT SAPOLSKY is a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University and of neurology at Stanford’s School of Medicine. He is also a research associate at the National Museums of Kenya. While his primary research, on stress and neurological disease, is in the laboratory, for twenty-three years he has made annual trips to the Serengeti of East Africa to study a population of wild baboons and the relationship between personality and patterns of stress-related disease in these animals.

Robert’s work underscores for me the importance of closely observed behaviour over extended periods of time. The conjunction of his field work with neuroscience is fascinating. It is a great heuristic to explore coach development in the sport world where alpha male behaviour abounds. It is an insight too into how we might mitigate stress through social contact.

Photo Credits

Serengeti in the Mist