18 SES 10 A, Innovative Pedagogical Approaches in Physical Education and Sport
Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) is a student-centred and game-centred pedagogical model that focuses on teaching games within a constructivist perspective, i.e. students are encountered with game-play as much as possible and they are encouraged to evaluate their practice and create a hypothesis about their tactical decisions (Griffin & Butler, 2005). As a pedagogical model, the teaching and learning process was designed in stages (game, game appreciation, tactical awareness, making appropriate decisions, skill development and performance) in order to facilitate its implementation. In addition, four teaching principles (game sampling, representation, exaggeration and tactical complexity) were also introduced in order to promote constructivist principles.
While comparing to the so-called traditional model (Rink, 1993), TGfU was innovative in the sense that reoriented the teaching and learning process by introducing the learner with the main subject matter, i.e. the game by modifying the original game with simpler rules that would enable students to play the game in the beginning stages of the unit (i.e. using constructivist concepts such as Vygostky’s (1987) zone of proximal development). This approach aimed to promote students’ motivation as well as develop students’ game appreciation (appreciate the relationship between rules and strategies) which would promote their understanding of the game (hence, explaining the name of the model).
Despite the growing number of studies in TGfU, the implementation of the model still appears to be a challenge to many school teachers, i.e. TGfU has become a world movement academically, but little has been done in the school implementations (Butler, 2005; Harvey & Jarrett, 2014; Harvey, Cushion, & Sammon, 2015). Vollmer and Curtner-Smith (2016) have called attention to the fact that pre-service teachers have reported difficulty in implementing TGfU in schools as it required breaking a number of established traditional pedagogies. Gutiérrez (2016) also calls attention that despite worldwide recognition, there is a dearth of books written in other languages other than English, hence, its wide proliferation has also been majorly limited to English speaking countries. As a result, there is much need for a greater understanding on how to prepare pre-service teachers to use TGfU in school contexts (Kirk, 2016).
The present study was developed while considering TGfU’s need to gain understanding on how to better prepare pre-service teachers to teach using the model, mindful of Gutiérrez’s (2016) concern on promoting the model in non-English speaking countries. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of a group of physical education majors as they experienced the TGfU pedagogical approach for the first time while receiving the limited number of TGfU materials that were written in Portuguese (mother-tongue). More specifically, the study sought to identify: 1) how did students perceive their experience and what were their learning outcomes; 2) identifying how could this experience could be improved.
Therefore, the present study seeks to deepen the understanding on two areas of the TGfU model literature that presents a lack of research: i) how to teach TGfU in higher education; ii) how to overcome the lack of non-English resources while teaching TGfU in universities of non-English speaking countries. Although the research was not conducted in Europe, the findings produced in this study are relevant both in a European context as well as in an international context as many European and non-European countries need to teach relevant content areas that do not provide written resources in their mother-tongue language.
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