Canada and COVID-19
Similar to other countries around the world, Canada continues to be deeply affected by the COVID-19 situation. As of September 2020, many children have now returned back to school with either face to face or online learning options. Schools and educators are struggling to figure their way through the challenges this new school year has brought, continually trying out new protocol and procedures for their students and classrooms. A majority of post-secondary classes in universities and colleges across Canada are delivering their courses online – myself included (I’ve just started teaching a Fall semester TGfU course online for the first time at Mount Royal University in Calgary, AB). National, provincial and local sport organizations across Canada have had to make many tough decisions over the past several months since the start of the pandemic. Some sports leagues and programming for communities have resumed in modified formats (i.e. offered online or through smaller cohorts), with many still struggling to figure out how they will now stay afloat. Numerous recreation facilities and fitness centres have re-opened with different health and physical distancing policies in place, while also facing significant operational and financial challenges.
As a post-secondary instructor who has had no choice but to jump in and find alternative ways to teach Teaching Games for Understanding to my students, I know I am not alone. Practitioners across the Canada are all facing a similar task whether they are back in the gym face to face with their learners or delivering content online. In Canada, we are lucky to have strong national organizing bodies, such as Physical and Health Education Canada and Active For Life, as well as provincial groups such as Alberta’s PLAY Networks who have helped practitioners come together, develop new resources and provide support as they navigate this new world.
TGfU in Canada
Although many Canadian physical education programs are making the shift toward adopting models based practice (Metzler, 2011) with TGfU being the most dominant (Baker, 2016), many programs still utilize a more traditional approach. Traditional approaches to physical education tend to focus on competition and performance, with an emphasis on learning the skills as opposed to understanding the tactics of a game (Baker, 2016). The majority of the TGfU resources developed in Canada have been for the physical education context to support administrators and teachers with integrating a more holistic approach to physical education, with the aim of developing physical literacy in students.
I am not a physical education teacher by training and my background stems from recreational sport and physical activity, thus I feel it’s important to note that the use of the TGfU model is minimal in the recreational sport sector. Although games-based approaches have been integrated to some degree through national and provincial sport organizations, there are no resources that I’m aware of developed for implementing TGfU in a recreational sports context. Supporting the development of resources that are usable for practitioners who are passionate about coaching and working with children and youth yet may not have knowledge about games-based approaches or TGfU is a goal of mine as a member of the TGfU IAB. It is also a key output from my PhD research, where I’ve been working together with one YMCA association in Canada to implement a training module where TGfU is a focus. I look forward to reporting back on our progress soon!
Canadian TGfU Resources/ Links