There are four muscles that compose the rotator cuff in a human shoulder – four muscles that collectively extend arms toward hanging paper, that make palms sandwich-smush paper amid their force, that twirl and tug and tear through space. Moving shoulder muscles are a collectivity, a communal performance. What if, when we stretch arms outward, we do not simply do ‘a movement’ as a shoulder moves from here to there, but participate in a process of moving that is not so easily quantifiable, controllable, or located in ‘one’ body? What, threaded through and beyond shoulder muscles, participates in moving – how might paper, the energy from the snack just eaten, rules of safety, hair ties, guidelines that suggest children should move at a ‘vigorous’ intensity, and the shoulders of the educator crouched alongside, participate in movement?
Muscling pedagogies think moving as always shared, expansive, and relational – not a muscle doing a movement, but muscles (in) moving. What happens if we shift our pedagogical concern from what movements children do or what muscles we have, to wondering how moving muscles “open up a possibility for the children to be part of a body” (Lenz Taguchi, Palmer, & Gustafsson, 2016, p. 710)? How can we cultivate pedagogies with/in moving muscles, pedagogies capable of noticing shoulder muscles as a collective and moving shoulders as an ongoing, complex, unfolding process of motion?