PE Teacher at Howard B. Thomas Grade School in Burlington, IL
I first came across Teaching Games for Understanding at a Physical Education workshop in St. Charles, Illinois, USA. I was intrigued by the speaker as he introduced a territorial/Invasion game involving offensive and defensive strategies. Upon further gameplay at the workshop and then researching the Teaching Games for Understanding website, I was able to incorporate the 6 basic pillars of TGfU. They include: Game form, game appreciation, tactical awareness, decision making, skill execution and performance.
TGfU Lesson Sequence
Below is a typical lesson sequence I present in a game involving offensive and defensive strategies. This game I named, INVASION (see video below):
- After viewing INVASION video, I will have a brief talk with class going over as little rules as possible. This allows students (Ss) to jump right into TGfU gameplay and learn within the game itself. Ss are told we will meet at ‘Halftime’ to discuss the game further in detail and answer any questions.
- Ss will now be instructed to go to an assigned court with their team OR choose an Ability level Court - Beginning, Developing or Secure.
- After Ss put colored jerseys on, they now match up with a player on the other team. These 2 players from opposite teams will guard or ‘shadow’ each other.
- INVASION gameplay begins after both teams have matched up.
- I allow about 5 minutes of gameplay as I observe and take notes. When I call out ‘Halftime,’ all Ss sit together and we discuss what I observed and how to improve your quality of game. Some of my observations: What pass is more successful, a long pass or a short pass?, I noticed several Ss standing around and not moving (statues) on offense, what can you say to those teammates?, I noticed several Ss not shadowing their person, I saw Ss knocking the ball out of another player’s hands, is that allowed?, I noticed Ss shadowing other players, is that allowed?. I like to add the Turn And Talk method during these discussions as it engages & empowers the learner. Ss will talk to each other about various observations as stated above. I add a few more rules that were not covered in the beginning. Students may ask questions during this time.
- Once the game resumes I notice a big improvement in the games. Ss are engaged, working together and improving their own independent gameplay. Now these strategies can be applied to other PE units as Ss understand INVASION terms.
Pedagogical Principles of TGfU
I will touch on some Pedagogical Principles that I incorporate into my PE curriculum below:
Exaggeration - Involves changing the rules of the official game to emphasize a particular tactical objective. In our game INVASION, we introduce a defensive strategy called, Shadowing. This involves one player from each team of similar ability level to guard or play defence on each other. These two players can only shadow/guard each other. They cannot shadow/guard any other player.
Representation – Since modified games are derived from the official full sided game and tactics can be transferred between games within the same category, similar tactics can be taught once for entire game categories than teaching them in each game. This allows for quick progression within units with references made to previous units of the same category. In our game INVASION, I will introduce Ss to these basic offensive/defensive strategies in the beginning of the year so that these strategies can be applied to future units such as basketball, football, soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, etc….Ss for example, will understand the importance of moving to open space when their team has the ball and trying to score points for their team. Ss will also understand the basic concepts of playing defence and guarding your person, making it difficult for the other team to score. As the teacher, I can reference several key terms when presenting multiple Physical Education units involving offensive and defensive strategies. Some terms include: Guarding/Shadowing your person, Wall Up (putting your arms up on defence to make it difficult for the offensive player to pass the ball), Moving without the ball on offense, pass to open player, etc….
In closing, Teaching Games for Understanding can be beneficial to students of all ages. If students are given time to learn through lesson sequence, discuss observations and allowed time to play then student ability levels will increase, boosting student confidence as game enjoyment will skyrocket.
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