College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Here we offer our final reflections as a tribute to Len and Joy. Our tribute is a sign of respect and admiration for their accomplishments. After careful and thoughtful review of their scholarly work and knowing Len and Joy personally, we offer three themes that connected them.
First, they both found their passion and became champions who advocated for a cause(s). Early in a scholar’s career, we are encouraged to pursue an area of interest that gives you passion. Len’s passion early in his career was reflected in his work with Rod Thorpe and David Bunker related to Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU), which brought to the forefront an alternative games pedagogy. Len was also involved in the primary physical education movement and championed its usefulness in supporting the value of physical literacy. Joy’s passion was centered on inclusiveness and fair play in games education through TGfU and games inventing. Through this passion she even took on the oppressiveness of the game of dodgeball.
Second, Len and Joy championed their passions through grass roots efforts. They used their collective action to affect change at the local, regional, national, and international levels. They believed that praxis mattered. Through TGfU, Len was involved with teachers’ action research projects in the original TGfU workshops. He promoted the healthy school initiative, managed the Health Education Authority project at Loughborough, and was influential in the Jump Rope for Heart Fund development. Joy’s grass roots efforts started with the formation of a TGfU Club at her first academic position at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Her undergraduate student members started spreading the TGfU word all over the New England in the local public schools. She worked tirelessly to spread the TGfU word through teacher workshops and practical presentations locally and beyond. Joy’s inventing games work was developed with teachers and for teachers through grant support. These grass roots efforts remind us that they never forgot where they came from.
Third, Len and Joy engaged with the scholarly community through research, scholarly publications and presentations. They both produced a range of publications articulating their passion, sharing their ideas, and challenging the scholarly community through the debate of ideas. As you read the chapters in this edited book, you can hear them being the champion of their ideas and making the case for us to listen. Both were consummate and collaborative professionals, as evidenced by their many co-authored works, and both engaged with a wide range of professionals around the world.
Finally, Len and Joy left their marks as leaders. They were not afraid to stand up for their beliefs and neither was willing to just go along to get along. Through their actions, both saw leadership to the profession as a highly valued part of their work. Len and Joy were stewards. Len’s work with Physical Literacy and the Early Years lead to him becoming an initial member that helped establish the AIESEP Early Years Special Interest Group (SIG). Joy had a vision and enacted it on an international level. The organization and development of the AIESEP TGfU SIG was hers and began at the Conference Town Hall Meeting at the first International TGfU Conference. Although Joy had her vision and goals for that meeting, she listened and was inclusive in a process that helped create this TGfU community.
One final word: The AIESEP International Teaching Games for Understanding Special Interest Group (TGfU SIG) Executive Committee, both past and present officers, want to recognize Len for his leadership and service to the SIG and the TGfU movement ,and Joy for her distinguished service, leadership and determination to make the SIG an influential international community. We truly hope this international community will continue to thrive and we can learn from the past, live in the present, and build for the future.