Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 10, Iss. 1, January, 2006, pp. 71-103
@2006 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Nonlinear Pedagogy: A Constraints-Led Framework for Understanding Emergence of Game Play and Movement Skills

Jia Yi Chow, University of Otago, New Zealand
Keith Davids, University of Otago, New Zealand
Chris Button, University of Otago, New Zealand
Rick Shuttleworth, University of Otago, New Zealand
Ian Renshaw, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Duarte Ara˙jo, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract: Team sport competition can be characterized as a complex adaptive system in which concepts from nonlinear dynamics can provide a sound theoretical framework to understand emergent behavior such as movement coordination and decision making in game play. Nonlinear Pedagogy is presented as a methodology for games teaching, capturing how phenomena such as movement variability, self-organization, emergent decision making, and symmetry-breaking occur as a consequence of interactions between agent-agent and agent-environment constraints. Empirical data from studies of basketball free-throw shooting and dribbling are used as task vehicles to exemplify how nonlinear phenomena characterize game play in sport. In this paper we survey the implications of these data for Nonlinear Pedagogy, focusing particularly on the manipulation of constraints in team game settings. The data and theoretical modeling presented in this paper provide a rationale in nonlinear dynamics for the efficacy of a prominent model of game play teaching, Teaching Games for Understanding approach.

Keywords: nonlinear pedagogy, constraints, movement coordination, decision-making dynamics, teaching games for understanding