My practicum is at a private school, so they have specialist teachers that teach PE. Luckily, the PE teacher for my grade five class was happy to let me teach a class today. It was based on Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU). We started with a tail chase game, which was played in pairs. Students tucked a scarf into their shorts and the aim of the game was to remove their opponent’s scarf without losing theirs. We discussed the tactics they used to be successful in the game. Students said that being successful in this game involved constantly moving, moving backwards and placing their body between the scarf and the opponent. Then we talked about applying these skills to a game of soccer. The next game we played was four goal soccer. I have included a video below. We started with one ball and ended with four balls in play. I stopped the game so we could discuss the tactics again and the students talked about the same skills we talked about earlier. We also noticed that some students were not playing fairly, so we talked about being principled in PE by not cheating. We have been talking about being principled throughout this week because it is the IB Learner Profile of the month. We played another game and did a quick debrief at the end of the class.
Overall, I think it went well. The games allowed for maximum participation and students were active throughout the lesson. Having a small number of players on each team and adding more balls to the soccer game made it almost impossible to be inactive. Additionally, the students grasped the strategies that were required to be successful in playing soccer. However, I would have liked to see more students participating in the discussions about tactics. They were easily distracted in the gym and it was difficult to get them to sit still. They just wanted to get up and play another game. The PE teacher suggested adding an incentive to the discussion by saying that we would play the next game when we figured out what tactics we learned in the previous game. This is something I will implement in my next lesson. If anyone else has any other ideas, please let me know!
Friday’s PE class was, yet again, a super fun and engaging class! Thank you Vivian for being our choreographer that morning. It was such a fun way to begin the day, and it definitely got us way more energized than any cup of coffee would!
I really enjoyed exploring the Teaching Games For Understanding model (TGfU). By shining the light on critical understanding of the nature of a game, as opposed to focusing on technical skill development, students will also develop skills that they will be able to transfer outside of PE class, and will also be more likely to truly enjoy PE class. For instance, when learning how to play the game of basketball, the teacher would also emphasize that the abilities and skills used to participate in basketball can also be used in volleyball or soccer.
I thought that the group teach by Jenny, Zoe, and Vivian did a wonderful job of applying TGfU in their lesson plan. For example, in the Space Invader game, the group had us first play the game, then they had us think about why we would play a game like this. Once we discussed that the game was meant to create spatial awareness, we developed tactics to create space, and then played the game thinking about how to best create space and how to make the best decisions in the game.
Last class was my first exposure to the idea of TGFU: teaching games for understanding. I really appreciated the way in which Steve introduced this concept at the end of class and the games used were unique and creative! The whole class was active and having fun, however we were able to learn different physical literacy skills by means of these activities. With this concept in mind, I did more research after class to examine what TGFU consists of and how to approach it as a teacher.
Teach games through games.
Break games into their simplest format – then increase complexity.
Participants are intelligent performers in games.
Every learner is important and is involved.
Participants need to know the subject matter.
Need to match participants’ skill and challenge.
Originally, this program was designed to tap into children’s inherent desire to play. Children learn through curiosity and inspiration, however with so many activities taking place outside of school or parents busy with their own work, many children are not able to experience play in its natural form. Using TGFU, it is possible to break down a common game into smaller games which are still fun, but target the development of basic foundational movements. TGFU games usually follow in one of the following categories: target games, net/wall games, striking/field games and territory games. These games help to create activity appreciation, tactical awareness, decision-making, and develop performance strategy.
In my practicum at Maple Ridge, we will be expected to teach half hour PE units outdoors with minimal equipment, engaging three grade 5 classes. I hope to use the concept of TGFU games in order to help develop physical literacy, all the while keeping each child active and engaged. Thank you teaching lesson group for introducing this brilliant idea!
Ophea. “Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) Approach.” PlaySport. Ophea, 2014. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <http://www.playsport.net/about-playsport/teaching-games-understanding-tgfu>.
Having done the reading summary for last class, I was able to familiarize myself with the various models associated with teaching Physical Education. I myself liked the Teaching Games for Understanding the most as I really liked the aspect of skills learned in one game being carried over into other games and sports. I also liked how drills are not a part of this model since skills should be developed in context as opposed to in isolation. I remember doing drills in elementary school PE and being so bored as well as not understanding the important concepts and strategies behind the game. I feel like the initial modified game also takes some of the pressure off of students because the game feels less formal than the complex, actual game/sport that some students may already know and excel in.
I think the majority of my high school PE classes followed the Multi-Activity Model with the seasonal sport aspect. I never really liked the seasonal sports except for volleyball and we were stuck doing the same sport for a long chunk of time. I feel like the net sports that involved a net in the middle of the gym, like badminton and volleyball were done out of convenience since our teacher did not want to dismantle and then re set up the net, but the other seasonal ball sports could have easily been swapped for something else given that our amount of time with each sport was long and repetitive over the years.
Playing the three games at the end of the last class really solidified my understanding of Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU). My biggest take away from that experience was how much fun I had. I thoroughly enjoyed and was equally engaged in all three of the games, even though I knew that the first two were played to prepare us for the third game. I will definitely incorporate this model into my teaching practice because it is fun, it helps to develop skills for a more complex game, and the skills developed can be transferred to other games in the same category. In the TGfU model, I found step five to be very interesting. Some sources call this Skill Execution and others call it Application of Skills. In this step, students identify and practice the skills they need to improve their performance (Ophea, 2014). The Teacher Candidates that taught the striking and invasion games made sure to follow this step. They stopped us in the middle of our games to ask us what we needed to do in order to be more successful in our objective. I found that this really helped me to refocus and play more strategically.
On the Ophea website, Individual Pursuits was included as a category of TGfU. I am curious to know more about how TGfU can be incorporated in a yoga or gymnastics lesson. I also wondered whether TGfU could be a useful model for a dance lesson. Hopefully we will learn more about this in upcoming classes.
Ophea. (2014). Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) Approach. Retrieved from http://www.playsport.net/about-playsport/teaching-games-understanding-tgfu
In the reading summary and discussion this week, we reviewed the different pedagogies for teaching physical education. The pedagogy I found to be most effective and the one in which I hope to implement when teaching my Physical Education class was the TGfU or in other words, Teaching Games for Understanding. This pedagogy focuses on learning and performing sports skills in a variety of settings. The end result is athletes who acquire a strong knowledge and recognition of the game and their own abilities. I found the six-step process that TGfU activities follow to be most helpful in understanding this pedagogy in greater detail. Step 1, the game, was the step I found to be most interesting and unfamiliar to me. Step 1 involves having the teacher introduce a modified version of the game that has clear objectives and follows the basic rules and concepts of the formal game. I was unfamiliar with this step because in my previous experiences in physical education, my teachers would often have us students jump straight into the game without learning the fundamental movements and rules. My teachers assumed that we would learn these basic rules, movements and tactics through continuous playing and practice. However, this in turn caused me to lack the game appreciation and tactical awareness (steps 2 & 3), I needed to gain, in order to apply in playing the game. I will continue to review and familiarize myself with this six-step process and apply it when teaching physical education.
On another note, I wish to highlight an experience I witnessed during my first day of practicum in my Grade 1 and Grade 2 classroom. The teacher of this class starts every morning with a thirty-minute walk in the forest next to the school. I think this is a great way to start the day as it keeps the students active and is a great source of energy for the day ahead. Moreover, I noticed that the students were able to focus better and were more energetic once they returned from the walk. The teacher tries her best to implement physical education throughout the day such as taking breaks from sitting and listening in order to stretch and move around. I look forward to learning more about her physical education techniques and to see if she is incorporating the strategies and knowledge we have learned in class thus far. I now know that I must always have my running shoes nearby, ready to be slipped on as required!
Picture: Natural artefacts Grade 1 and Grade 2 students collected from their nature walk
It has been said once, but it deserves to be said again: this week the group did a great job at showing us how to teach invasion games. TGfU was a great edition to this class as well, because it will help us in the future with breaking down lessons in a way that helps our students understand the ultimate goal.
We also gained a lot of great knowledge when discussing curriculum and different theories we can apply to our teaching styles. I believe that is necessary to combine different curricular approaches that will assist teachers is modelling a healthy and active lifestyle for our students. Students need the encouragement to find what works best for them in regards to fitness. As I said in our group discussion this week, I don’t particularly like volleyball, but the fact that I was able to get a chance to try running, basketball, badminton, as well as a variety of other games and sports in elementary and high school encouraged me to pursue the fitness lifestyle that works best for me in adulthood. As well, I cannot emphasize enough how important I believe it is that we encourage our students to eat healthy when in school. From someone who came from a home where eating healthy was not even a consideration, I think it is essential that children are given opportunities to see what a healthy diet looks like and how they can achieve a moderately healthy lifestyle at home or at school. At the very least this given students more opportunities and ideas about how they might eat healthy in their adult lives.
This week, from practicum, I had a chance to observe how TGFU concept is implemented in a PE class. In grade 2 PE class, students were divided into four groups, and the teacher gave each corner of the gym as “home station” to each group. The game itself was very simple, but it was fun and a very good example of TGFU. There were 30 balls in the middle of the gym, and students had to bounce the ball to their home station. When there were no balls left in the middle of the gym, students were allowed to take balls from other groups’ home stations. The group who has the biggest number of balls win the game. In my opinion, this game was the perfect example of TGFU to introduce basic skills of basketball. All students actively participated in the game. By the time when the game was finished, most students were able to bounce the ball pretty well. I wish I had an opportunity to play the game like this in PE class before practicing basketball. In Korea, most PE classes were always about playing sports. We play basketball for a while then move on to badminton, and then soccer. Like this, we always learned sports in PE class, so I never knew TGFU. I think TGFU is a very effective method to introduce fundamental movement skills of sports such as basketball or soccer.
Even though I did not experience TGFU in my PE classes in Korea, I realized that I have learned about “PE for life” concept. There is something called “National Health Gymnastics (NHG)” in Korea, and every student has to learn this in a PE class. If I remember correctly, students practice “National Health Gymnastics” at least once a week at school. I heard that a lot of companies try to practice NHG before they start working. Some people practice NHG every morning as their morning exercise. I think this is one of the examples of “PE for life” so wanted to share. Please enjoy the video!
Once upon a time there was a little elephant. Little elephant had a trunk that was a little too long, and so little elephant was teased often. Little elephant was called pinocchio, long nose, and weirdo. Little elephant wished on every star and blade of grass that he would wake up one day with a normal sized trunk and so all of the other little elephants would be his friend. Little elephant’s long trunk often made him unbalanced, and so he often fell over, because none of the adult elephants ever took the time to teach him how to walk with a slightly longer trunk. One day ‘Old Gray’ walked up to little elephant and told him about all of the wonderful things that his longer trunk can do, such as throwing objects. Little elephant created games where he learned to shift his weight while he threw, and really project objects using his trunk. He started small, sticks and stones, and ended up tall, with fallen trees and boulders. Every game he played helped increase his trunk strength, his aim, this distance and so his confidence.
Little elephant grew, and as he grew, his trunk grew with him. Fortunately the other elephants realized little elephants potential, and started to appreciate his talents. The other elephants wished that they had such a mentor that helped them realize what they could do. One day, a hunter was creeping towards the elephants, wanting ‘Old Baboo’s’ tusks. Little elephant was by the watering hole, and so was too far away to help the other elephants attack. However, there was a giant rock by Little Elephant, and he picked it up. Because he had practised and played so diligently as a little elephant, he aimed and threw. He killed the hunter!!! Little elephant became a hero, and all of the other elephants decided to never tease the ‘different’ elephants again. They also learned that starting with easy games helped realize each elephant’s potential for strength and fitness later on in life, to help kill greedy horrible tusk hunters. And elephants were never poached again.
This week I enjoyed learning more about Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU). I like the idea of breaking down fundamental skills and categorizing them into types of sports. Until recently I would have thought of Capture the Flag when someone was talking about invasion games. It has been interesting to learn about the break down of sports into fundamental movement categories. I have always played a lot of invasion games such as soccer, basketball, field hockey and ultimate and never thought to break down the skills this way. I like the idea of slowly building up to the skill to perform a sport, the way we did in PE this week with both the team teach and after with Steve. However, I think it could be challenging as a PE teacher, because many kids just want to play the sport right away without any breakdown of skill. It would be helpful to get some resources on how to break down different types of sports into games that slowly build up the skills required for the sport. I think the discovery approach is useful because it allows students to understand why they are learning what they are learning and to be in control of their own learning. What we learn stays with us longer if we were in charge of our learning. One condition for including all learners in game playing, would be breaking down skills enough that everyone is able to perform them at first. Everyone should at least be able to accomplish the first level of the skill. Like in the game with Steve, we were all able to perform the first task of getting through the people on the line but still gaining the basic fundamental principles of dodging opponents.