In the past few decades linguists found out and published a lot about how good writers became good writers and also how they stay good writers. In this context science revealed that it’s very unlikely to become good at writing merely through writing. Maybe that’s similar to movement learning: nobody ever learned to walk by walking. Or at least… horses maybe did, humans certainly did not. Human babies need to learn orientation first, how to engage the back extensors, how to roll, how to get ownership on the limbs, how to balance the head, a plethora of mini-lessons and mini-achievements add up to the first – and brief – free standing experience. 100 years of research in the field of infant locomotion, researchers have described developmental antecedents of walking, improvements in the kinematics of walking gait, the changes in the neurophysiological correlates of walking, the laborious skill acquisition and mastery (for example of crawling) and the subsequent abandoning thereof to move on to higher skills, and new challenges, and yet it seems like researchers have barely touched on the field. While we already know a lot about language acquisition, there’s still a lot to be discovered for movement acquisition. I’m not sure how many researchers are strong on the topic already. Superficially browsing over the general literature it seems like many professors of biomechanics are not focusing enough on the fundamentals of learning but are busy feeling up weight lifters with their electrodes and charting out electromyograms.
To stay with what we know about language acquisition and writing: people become better at writing through reading. In several research publications Stephen Krashen has shown that writing itself does not contribute to language or literacy development. His findings are these:
- those who write more do not write better;
- increasing student writing does not increase writing quality or any other aspect of literacy; and
- we do not write enough to account for the complexity of the written language.
Nevertheless, he has ravish reviews, a lot to say for writing. He states, with scientific backing, that writing makes us smarter. When we write, our mind automatically helps us solve problems, and in doing so, stimulates intellectual growth. The claim has been made, in fact, that writing is the primary means by which we get new ideas: inspiration is the result of writing, not the cause.
Stephen Krashen writes on: „The Language Arts profession, in the last few decades, has made tremendous progress in describing how writers do this, how they use writing to solve problems and make themselves smarter. The strategies they use are called »the composing process«.”
Now, the composing process. That’s a big topic. Highly relevant to me and my work as a teacher of movement. I just learned about it today through the paper „The Composing Process” by Stephen Krashen. It will take a while until I see myself through it. I wonder: What is the equivalent to reading in terms of physical movement? What is the equivalent of writing in terms of physical movement? How can „The Composing Process” help me shine a light into the dark abyss of movement acquisition? Can Learning Movement become as relevant and as popular as Learning Reading and Learning Writing?