So much good systems thinking in this discussion of physical literacy!
Part 2: Considering the Individual -Environment Fit at the Core of Physical Literacy.
January 20, 2020 footblogball-Mark O Sullivan Uncategorized
In part 2 of this blog, I will introduce a conceptual realignment of physical literacy that is different from the ‘business-as-usual’ concepts (see part 1), that seemingly underpin the construct in both policy and practice and even as a finally packaged product.
“Skillful interactions” refers to how a mover coordinates his/her behaviour within the performance context in relation to that environment, on the basis of not only the immediate physical and informational (i.e., situational) demands, but also on the basis of historical and cultural factors. Thus, following from Newell (1986), skillful interactions are sufficiently optimal solutions to the movement problem faced in terms of safety, efficiency and/or effectiveness for that individual at that moment in time – Phil Kierney (Footblogball,May 2018).
Such an emphasis shifts the narrative away from fundamental to functional, towards developing an adaptive ‘interactor’; considering the individual-environment fit.
Current literature contains different representations of the concept of physical literacy (Edwards et al., 2016). Due to lacking a clear theoretical foundation, it can be argued that the construct has progressively evolved into something it originally was not (Young, O’Connor and Alfrey, 2019).This adaption of numerous definitions and interpretations across different countries, disciplines and organisation (Shearer et al., 2018), has arguably led to a lack of consensus as to how to employ it in practice (Hyndman & Pill, 2018; Jurbala, 2015).
This vagueness associated with the construct reveals aneed for a comprehensive theoretical rationale to underpin how to apply the concepts and ideas from physical literacy research. One such framework that can support the physical literacy journey is the theoretical framework of ecological dynamics. It has been previously argued by Roberts, Newcombe and Davids (2018) that ecological dynamics can inform how we can evolve the concept of physical literacy, both in policy and physical education curriculum, away from the dominant traditional approaches. I argue, from this perspective, the concept of physical literacy can be enriched and extended within and beyond organised sports and physical education, through the reconceptualisation of the nature of an individual’s relationship with the specific environments they interact with over a lifespan. The establishment of an individual -environment fit across varied movement contexts over a lifespan, should therefore be a central tenet of the concept of physical literacy.