Enskilment: an Ecological-Anthropological Worldview of Skill, Learning and Education in Sport

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Woods, Carl ORCID: 0000-0002-7129-8938, Rudd, James ORCID: 0000-0003-1546-576X, Gray, Rob and Davids, Keith (2021) Enskilment: an Ecological-Anthropological Worldview of Skill, Learning and Education in Sport. Sports Medicine - Open, 7 (1). ISSN 2199-1170


The aim of this paper is to explore a different, more relational worldview of skill, learning and education in sport. To do this, we turn to the work of social anthropologist, Tim Ingold, leaning on the notion of enskilment, which proposes that learning is inseparable from doing and place. From this worldview, what is learned is not an established body of knowledge, transmitted into the mind of a passive recipient from an authorised being, but is a progressively deepening embodied-embedded attentiveness, where an individual learns to self-regulate by becoming more responsive to people and environmental features by ‘looking, listening and feeling’. As we discuss, Ingold’s perspectives on enskilment are rooted in the etymological connotations of education—ex-ducere, which roughly means ‘to lead out’. In applying this notion to sport, we unpack three of its entangled components, taskscapes, guided attention, and wayfinding, detailing the implications of each for the growth of enskilled sports performers. To promote the translation of these ideas, in addition to encouraging their inquiry beyond the scope of what is discussed here, sporting examples are threaded throughout the paper.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/42104
DOI 10.1186/s40798-021-00326-6
Official URL https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/artic...
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords motor skill learning, metaphoric comparisons, computational processes, movement capabilities, taskscape, wayfinding
Citations in Scopus 9 - View on Scopus
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