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Ways of knowing in ways of moving: A study of the meaning of capability to move
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies. Dalarna University, Sweden. (CeHum)
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis has been to investigate the meaning of the capability to move in order to identify and describe this capability from the perspective of the one who moves in relation to specific movements. It has been my ambition to develop ways to explicate, and thereby open up for discussion, what might form an educational goal in the context of movements and movement activities in the school subject of physical education and health (PEH).

In this study I have used a practical epistemological perspective on capability to move, a perspective that challenges the traditional distinction between mental and physical skills as well as between theoretical and practical knowledge. Movement actions, or ways of moving, are seen as expressions of knowing.

In order to explore an understanding of the knowing involved in specific ways of moving, observations of  actors’ ways of moving and their own experiences of moving were brought together. Informants from three different arenas took part: from PEH in upper secondary school, from athletics and from free-skiing.

The results of the analyses suggest it is possible to describe practitioners’ developed knowing as a number of specific ways of knowing that are in turn related to specific ways of moving. Examples of such specific ways of moving may be discerning and modifying one’s own rotational velocity and navigating one’s (bodily) awareness. Additionally, exploring learners’ pre-knowing of a movement ‘as something’ may be fruitful when planning the teaching and learning of capability to move. I have suggested that these specific ways of knowing might be regarded as educational goals in PEH.

In conducting this study, I have also had the ambition to contribute to the ongoing discussion of what ‘ability’ in the PEH context might mean. In considering specific ways of knowing in moving, the implicit and taken-for-granted meaning of ‘standards of excellence’ and ‘sports ability’can be discussed, and challenged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Stockholm Univeristy , 2014. , 159 p.
Keyword [en]
Physical Education, capability to move, ways of knowing, knowing how, tacit knowing, Ryle, Polanyi, Schön
National Category
Learning
Research subject
Educational Sciences in Arts and Professions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102527ISBN: 978-91-7447-843-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-102527DiVA: diva2:710678
Public defence
2014-05-09, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: In press. Paper 4: Epub ahead of print. 

Available from: 2014-04-14 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2015-02-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exploring ‘what’ to learn in physical education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring ‘what’ to learn in physical education
2014 (English)In: Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, ISSN 1740-8989, E-ISSN 1742-5786, Vol. 19, no 2, 123-135 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The aim of this article is to show a need for explicating ‘what’ there is to learn in physical education (PE) with a particular focus on learning to move with the meaning potential seen as integral to moving. Further, the aim is to provide an example of exploring ‘bodily knowing’ from the perspective of practical epistemology as outlined by researchers such as Michael Polanyi, Allan Janik and Gilbert Ryle.

Background : Learning has been a prominent issue within the PE research for quite some time. Overviews of research show that the object of learning, the ‘what-aspect’ within the didactic triangle, has been taken into account, though the obvious focus is the ‘how-aspect’, as in how learning occurs. In PE, the ‘what-aspect’, according to teachers as well as pupils, is vague, and the aim of the subject is expressed in terms of ‘fun-aspects’ rather than ‘what-aspects’. Taking a standpoint from research concerning aims, content and important knowledge in PE in Sweden, with reference to international research, this article will shed light upon physical activity as a takenfor-granted content, conceptualized either as an instrument for fulfilling the demands of the contemporary health-discourse or an instrument for performing well in sports. In doing this, the article will argue for the urgent need of explicating what capabilities students are supposed to develop in PE.

Key concepts: The concept of knowledge in relation to PE will be discussed. Drawing on Janik’s discussion of the epistemological structure of practical professional knowledge, emphasizing the importance of making the base of knowledge explicit, capability to move will be regarded as an object of learning, a possible ‘what-aspect’, in PE. To overcome the boundaries between practical and theoretical knowledge, Polanyi’s concept knowing will be used. Conceiving knowings as embracing several aspects of knowledge as well as comprising both mental and physical processes, knowings in human movement will be elaborated.

Conclusion: As our initial overview of research about ways of reasoning about knowledge and learning in PE suggested, there is an imminent need to systematically develop a language for learning in PE where what to learn, the specific knowings that PE is nurturing, is paramount, and where this ‘what’ is not reduced to superficial knowledge about health issues or physical skills. We believe that exploring the ‘knowing how’ aspect of learning will highlight potential ‘knowings’ in human movement. Following the concept ‘knowing’ as in line with Ryle’s ‘knowing how’, not separating mental and physical skills, can serve as an analytical tool and a starting point for articulating examples of ‘knowings’ as objects of learning and thus providing opportunities to conceptualize human movement in terms of knowing and learning.

Keyword
physical education, learning, movement, knowledge, knowing how
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Sciences in Arts and Professions
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-84506 (URN)10.1080/17408989.2012.726982 (DOI)000332197400001 ()
Note

AuthorCount: 2;

Available from: 2012-12-25 Created: 2012-12-25 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Exploring capability to move – somatic grasping of house-hopping
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring capability to move – somatic grasping of house-hopping
2015 (English)In: Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, ISSN 1740-8989, E-ISSN 1742-5786, Vol. 20, no 6, 612-628 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The aim of this study is to explore what it means to be able to move in different ways. What does it mean, from the perspective of the learners, to know how to carry out a specific movement? What is there to know and how could this insight contribute to the planning of developing learners' capability to move in different ways? As an example of a ‘new’ way of moving to be learnt, a movement called ‘house-hop’ (i.e. a 360-degree rotation initiated on the ground and completed in the air) was introduced as an object of learning in a physical education (PE) class in a secondary high school in Sweden. The paper explores learners' different ways of moving as expressing different ways of knowing how to ‘house-hop’ comprising also certain aspects of the movement being discerned simultaneously by the learners. In this way, an attempt will be made to explicate what there is to know when knowing a movement.

Background: Evans initiated a discussion about what ‘ability’ means and how it is recognized and valued within the context of PE which has been further discussed in a growing body of critical research. He also raised the question of which ‘abilities’ the PE subject is supposed to develop while at the same time stating that ‘talk of physically educating the body’ in terms of ‘practical knowledge,' ‘physical literacy’ or ‘kinesthetic intelligence’ has ‘almost disappeared from the discourse of PE'. Rather, physical education in terms of the theme of this paper, capability to move, is reduced to implicit and taken-for-granted ‘standards of excellence,' only reluctantly discussed by PE teachers. There is a need for conceiving capability to move as an educational aim so that it can be explicitly discussed and dealt with in physical education.

Theoretical framework and method: The study takes as its starting point an epistemological perspective on capability to move corresponding with Ryle's ‘knowing how,' challenging the distinction between mental and physical skills in regarding the knowing involved in capability to move as comprising interwoven mental and physical processes. Additionally, phenomenography and Variation Theory are used as analytical framework integrated in a Learning Study. Learning Study is a kind of design experiment inspired by the Japanese Lesson Study, where the main aim is to explore an object of learning.

Findings and discussion: The findings show different ways of knowing house-hop as well as several aspects to discern in order to know the movement in a powerful way. The knowing involved in house-hopping can be seen as somatic grasping comprising mental and physical skills as an integrated whole. The paper discusses how this approach to investigating learners' different ways of knowing a new way of moving to be learnt can contribute to the planning of teaching and learning capability to move.

Keyword
Physical Education, Knowing, Movement, Phenomenography, Learning Study
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Sciences in Arts and Professions
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-98924 (URN)10.1080/17408989.2014.882893 (DOI)000361486500003 ()
Available from: 2014-01-09 Created: 2014-01-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Exploring ''knowings'' in human movement: The practical knowledge of pole-vaulters
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring ''knowings'' in human movement: The practical knowledge of pole-vaulters
2014 (English)In: European Physical Education Review, ISSN 1356-336X, E-ISSN 1741-2749, Vol. 20, no 1, 72-89 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to explore and develop ways to describe what there is to know, from the perspective of the one who knows, when knowing how to carry out a complex movement. The paper will challenge the distinction between mental and physical skills, drawing on theories of tacit knowing (Polanyi, 1969), knowing how (Ryle, 1949) and knowing-in-action (Schon, 1991), together with empirical data from the context of elite sport. One assumption is that exploring knowing in movement, in this context, can contribute to developing students' movement education in physical education (PE). Pole-vaulting provides examples of what there is to know, in terms of embodied capabilities possible to explicate and develop as an educational objective in PE, irrespective of the context of competitive sports. Explicating the knowing (or capabilities) involved in the capability to move, as exemplified in this study, could emphasize an educational aim concerning practical knowledge, such as knowing in movement, and not necessarily specific skills related to competitive sport activities.

Keyword
Practical knowledge, knowing, movements, education
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Sciences in Arts and Professions
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-98921 (URN)10.1177/1356336X13496002 (DOI)000330845800004 ()
Note

AuthoCount: 1;

Available from: 2014-01-09 Created: 2014-01-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. Developing a ‘somatic velocimeter’ – the practical knowledge of freeskiers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing a ‘somatic velocimeter’ – the practical knowledge of freeskiers
2014 (English)In: Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, ISSN 2159-676X, E-ISSN 2159-6778, Vol. 7, no 1, 109-124 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to explore what it means to know complex movements, from the perspective of the mover. The paper discusses the potential of the findings for providing ideas for both teaching and learning capability to move in the context of physical education. The knowing involved in moving is explored in the practice of freeskiing, characterised by a tradition of learning movements where practitioners have a strong commitment to learning how to move in complex, different and new ways. In this study, knowing how to move is seen in line with Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowing where knowing is always rooted in personal experience and comprising what Ryle (2009) calls ’knowing how’ as well as ’knowing that’. The findings show that the freeskiers have developed specific kinds of knowing comprising a tacit component which is possible to articulate to a certain extent. Their capability to move can be conceived as complex knowing, comprising theoretical as well as practical aspects. If the educational objective in physical education is expressed as developing ways of knowing such as those exemplified in this study, the subject content, or at least part of it, could be described as movement education in which the intrinsic value of knowing movements could be recognised.

Keyword
tacit knowing, capability to move, ways of knowing, physical education, Michael Polanyi
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Sciences in Arts and Professions
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-98922 (URN)10.1080/2159676X.2013.857709 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-01-09 Created: 2014-01-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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