Gestalt Psychological Principles in Developing Meaningful Understanding of Games and Sport in Physical Education

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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In a games-based approach, the idea of understanding is located within the concept of games as decision-laden, problem-solving contexts. However, the concept of “understanding” is largely implicit in much of the germane literature. We are arguing for a more deliberate framework to approach the concept of understanding. We propose that the game-based approach to teaching physical education can be underpinned by the Gestalt psychological theoretical principles to provide students with more meaningful engagement in the process of learning to play games. The Gestalt psychological principles underpin the learning of games and sport through the Principle of Totality and the Principle of Psychological Isomorphism (Reproductive Thinking). The Gestalt psychological principles are underpinned by meaning-making, which is proposed as much “deeper” knowledge, developed over time, involving reflection, and agency. Although game-based approaches provide an alternative to technical and mechanical (progressive part) notions of what players need to know and do to be “skilled players,” in this paper, we question whether game-based approaches also encompass how students in physical education are learning with understanding.

Pill is with the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. Hyndman is with the Faculty of Arts and Education, Charles Sturt University, Albury-Wodonga, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Shane Pill at shane.pill@flinders.edu.au.
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