Greg Spencer Profile picture
Guiding, Coaching, Mentoring - Coach Education, Leadership Training - Tripping & River Canoes - Photography, Video, Website Development - Experiential Learning
19 Feb
"Like a musical instrument that has been crafted through the experiences of several generations, the events of our lives find expression through the articulation that our bodies, minds, hearts, & language can find. Prior experience informs future expression" - a @NoraBateson gem!
"What does it sound like, taste like, to be in discovery of the world with kids? Not *for* them, but *with* them [...] in these sessions, the knee-jerk repetition of parental instruction that is so submerged lost their invisibility because we started from another landscape" The programming of children’s relationship to authority, i
"No […] everything is NOT going to be ok… unless we get out of this matrix; It is forged between the generations, & there it must be unforged. Like the ring that Frodo has to take to Mordor […] so too the generations must set each other free of the double binds of the past" 👇 The most profound way to provide one’s children with an un
Read 7 tweets
25 Jan
Again, idealistic gurus coalesce around a narrative in which the role of professionals is to "save" children & families from real-world entanglements. Why work *with* parents & families when we can do things FOR children & engineer a brave new world 🤯…
Yes, we should "grasp the current crisis’s upending of accepted wisdom" - because as @Jendaffin notes elsewhere, well intentioned staff are "paralysed in that system [&] overwhelmed by the shame associated with being stuck & contributing" - @NewSystemAlly…
We genuinely do need radical critique. E.g. challenge around the dominant, health-based discourse that frames so much around Early Years & PE teachers - but "our" (professional) frustration with "their" (neoliberal) meddling is actually avoiding critique!
Read 7 tweets
23 Jan
1/n How come we still have academics sustaining narratives of #obesity rather than of how real people find value & meaning in everyday lives? Revisit @whatsthepont on @tobyjlowe / @snowded & accept criticising "neoliberal" does not make things progressive!…
New out 🤯 A review which says lots about the academic context in which it was written - with its embedded behaviorist fixations on just implementing *better* - with complete disregard for the unintended consequences of treating "agency" as a dirty word 👇…
In all #becausehuman fields, we see justifiable professional kick-back at reductionist agendas driven by a focus on #obesity & nonsensical CMO guidance of 60 min of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day for healthy growth and development 👇
Read 10 tweets
18 Jan
What does it take to sustain screwiness in the way the world works? Mostly, it's just good people, trying their best to get us to a better place... within constraints which pretty much preclude us actually getting anywhere! A case in point with @JamesRRudd…
These authors come across as hugely committed to something we might all agree upon: improving young people's experiences of physical education through better school-based-interventions. Sounds great? Agreed, & pretty much everything about their study models best practice 🥳 Article: "Effect of Linear and Nonlinear Pedagogy Physi
Sadly, established "best practice" involves further embedding the medicalisation of PE as if it should be about the potential contribution of physical activity to everything from quality of life, self-perception & cognition to the likelyhood of becoming healthy & active adults 🤯 Increased physical activity (PA) in children is associated w
Read 18 tweets
15 Jan
"Riding bikes give you a way of seeing & acting in our environment in creative ways. Always looking to progress and push skills & boundaries. Skateboarders will know this feeling too. You never see a city the same again" - perception @michaelthaber blog 👇
"In BMX there is a ever moving boundary of things that have been done. Not only by you, but by anyone. Once you know something has been done it opens possibilities [...] Just knowing someone has done something similar changes what you think can be done 👇
"...people employing security guards to do their job are thinking they are setting up governing constraints. But often these become enabling constraints, creating the pressure & opportunity to get things done" & "stuff gets done when security turn up" 👇
Read 6 tweets
4 Jan
"What follows [is] a protest against psychologistic approaches to ‘grounded cognition’ [that] effectively put the ground inside the brain, leaving individuals stranded in an unspecified ‘environment’ which is invoked
merely for the purposes of [the body]"… It has been conventional in...
"What distinguishes the expert from the novice, then, is not that the mind of the former is more richly furnished with content [but] a greater sensitivity to cues in the environment & a greater capacity to respond to these cues with judgement and precision" - not representatons! Image
"For the ground of knowing – or, if we must use the term, of cognition – is not an internal neural substrate that resembles the ground outside but the very ground we walk, where earth & sky are tempered in the ongoing production of life" - the walker is "thinking in movement" 👇 For the ground of knowing –...
Read 17 tweets
31 Dec 20
This matters 👇 It starts with worries about talk of pre-pubescent children "using the quasi-mythopoetic terms" ‘elite’ and ‘international’ & addresses growing tendencies to view youth athletes as "commodities" - well done @andykirkland71 & @markstkhlm 👀… The authors may well be studying phenomena within an environ
Argument: "There Is No Such Thing as an International Elite Under-9 Soccer Player" 💪

Their reference to "commodification" links to the biggest of all for me: talk of "producing" athletes / players 😡

Language matters.

We never (ever) "make" (anything) out of young people! How Elite Athletes Are Made
We need to see this through to its logical conclusion... which is that "talent pathways" are NOT production lines.

What/how we write reflects convention... so let's get beyond criticism of individual contributors - it's CONVENTIONAL to write like this 👇…
Read 4 tweets
31 Dec 20
"Where old-school conspiracists amassed what looked a lot like evidence; the new school’s calling cards are repetition and weaponized equivocation [...] if you don’t even pretend to have evidence, there’s nothing for your opponent to debunk" @rachelefraser…
"Michael Gove’s infamous remark that ‘the British people have had enough of experts’ [...] has been a boon for reactionary technocrats eager to pathologise an ignorant public and impose elite gatekeeping on social media.

C.f. "the spectre of rule by experts" - a serious concern?             The new conspiraicism’s attitude to expertise
Cassam's prescription sounds depressingly familiar:

1. Arguments & evidence;

2. Critical thinking skills & intellectual virtues;

3. Unmasking the propagandistic nature of conspiracy theories;

Reminiscent of this paper from coach development world...…
Read 6 tweets
28 Dec 20
How do we connect sense-makers around:

1. A common respect for the voices of young people;

2. The diverse experiences of those who have spent their lives helping others find meaning in movement?

As @ImSporticus notes, this CSJ paper is not the answer!…
Does school-based sport have a place? Of course! For some, school sport will be a way of becoming entangled in the lives of others in ways which will lead to a pastime becoming a valued, stabilising influence throughout life. That's awesome! #becausehuman
But as @ImSporticus notes, it's not "sport" that has the impact. That's down to "good people intentionally designing positive experiences through sport" - which is not the same thing!

Ideal: those involved co-creating the positive experiences! #ownership

Sports charity Made by Sports found that children and young
Read 15 tweets
18 Dec 20
OK - I don't doubt this is well-intentioned & in good faith... but fundamentally, it embeds talent-pathway / elite sport "exceptionalism" in ways which justify sustaining norms of elite-athlete-transfer & reliance on lots of "-ologies" (declarative professional knowledge).
Keith Davids is cited... but aside from a token reference to non-linearity, the report reads as if his lifetime's work (& the contributions of his colleagues around the world) has no relevance & poses no major challenges to a "business-as-usual" approach.…
Crucially, the "new" position statement doesn't even register challenges from the likes of @markstkhlm - who has called into question the ethics of sustaining established priorities & asks if we should even have a social license to continue with them...…
Read 6 tweets
6 Dec 20
"A proliferation of competing narratives is characteristic of the phase Thomas Kuhn calls ‘proto-science’ [...] This is where learning/training/education is today: proto-science. A mixed bag of popular stories about how people learn" - @shackletonjones 👀…
"I write this having recently read a number of comments/posts to the effect that learning ‘is just too complicated’ that there are always ‘many right answers’ or ‘everything depends on context’. This is the pre-evolutionary position: it’s all too complicated for a simple answer.
"One of the tell-tale signs is the sheer number of learning theories which are ‘creationist’ in nature – by which I mean that they are stories one can only tell about humans. Any time a learning theory can only meaningfully be applied to humans [...] we should take care" 👏
Read 5 tweets
4 Dec 20
"Please, don't make systems work for people, because this is [...] everything that's wrong with the sector. Making stuff work for others. Help people discover & steer and own their own pathways for a change" 😍

Well said, @ChristianSeelos & @NewSystemAlly
What's brought me here? "the realisation that the disadvantage, the injustice, the unfairness we see around us is actually in part caused by the systems that we have seeking to address those issues" - @BethWatts494 - respecting that people sustain systems with good intentions!
"[..] the difficulty we face is the professionalisation of our sector [fueling] obsession with solutions rather than problems. And [...] the more we are driving on the solution side, the more pressure we relieve from the systems that give rise to the problems to change them" - CS
Read 34 tweets
10 Nov 20
@snowded blog of the year & 3 keys 👇🏽

1. "any map needs to be subject to continuous feedback [...]

"imagine a sort of war room with attitudinal & constraint maps visible and shifting to allow complexity to be navigated rather than contained or avoided"… We have to shift from the engineering-driven concept of defi
2. Key 2 may be familiar -

"Soil fertility is heavily impacted by a type of fungus known as mycorrhizae which has a symbiotic relationship with the plant [...]

"The equivalent in an organisation and the informal networks and associations that keep the formal systems working.
Likewise, key 3 - which links familiar themes of scaffolding
"organisation units, identities, and other objects and their points of coherence" to the design of interactions in situations where "you can’t fully know what you need to know until you need to know it" #BecauseHuman
Read 4 tweets
1 Nov 20
Do our expectations of sport in schools reflect "folk wisdom" where we think "students will eventually engage with something they like, hopefully sufficiently to pursue it now or in their future"? 

If so, shouldn't we working to get sport OUT of schools?… [...] to help girls [...] fall in love with our game at a yo[...] 90% of schools (primary/secondary) in England to be pa[...] 90% of schools (primary/secondary) in England to be pa
Backing up: some on the outside of schools & education might still anticipate finding engagement with a "Multi Activity Curriculum" that gives pupils a "bit-of-this" & a "bit-of-that"... perhaps because that's what so many of us genuinely experienced ourselves so very long ago! Multi-activity curriculum model (Image from Alexander, K. (2
Of course, if that had worked well back-in-the-day... we'd be a nation of sporting nuts, having each found our own way of making some sporting-pastime or another a major stabilising influence on our life - & the world would never have needed "Towards An Active Nation" & the rest. Sport England's 2016-2021 #ActiveNation strategy "in a
Read 12 tweets
31 Oct 20
A series of related gems today - starting off with a truly outstanding scene-setter from @CarlWoods25, @JamesRRudd & @Robertson_SJ - asking (en-route) "what are the properties of specific affordances that invite their realisation by certain individuals?"…
Supporting wayfinding "is an embodied and embedded process, in which support practitioners work with [xxxx] to deepen his/her knowledge of the environment by guiding his/her attention toward its critical features used to inform intentions, perceptual exploration and action" [...] a musician exemplifies wayfinding by emotionally engagThe authors contend that supporting wayfinding "is an eIn sport, practitioners (e.g. trainers, teachers, coaches, s
Then a podcast which does an awesome job of showing what all of this can look like in a high-performance coaching context - with an exemplary, inspiring coach who is "really thankful" he "never had stable access to a coach" - c/o @MorrisCraig_ & @stu_arm…
Read 11 tweets
2 Sep 20
@EMERGENTMVMT Real world example: at some point, racing kayakers who are going to really kick-on need to discover that the water affords support (can take our weight) at the start of each stroke. Athletes need to be looking to climb out of the kayak with each stroke.
@EMERGENTMVMT Novice kayakers tend to perceive only the two dimensional surface of the water & typically expect to balance on their backsides with the kayak supporting their weight - seeing only the (limited & limiting) affordance for horizontal force through the blade.
@EMERGENTMVMT Ultimately, our kayakers need a "feel" for the support offered by the water... but we cannot "download" what that is like into them. We have to content ourselves with a little of "where to look, not what to see" & then be ready to help them interpret what they sense in practice.
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