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Stephen Harvey and Shane Pill

Research commentary suggests the utilization of Tactical Games Models (TGMs) only exists in isolated instances, particularly where teachers demonstrate true fidelity to these models. In contrast, many academics have adopted TGMs into their courses. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to investigate reasons for this disparity. Participants were 44 academics and 80 physical education teachers. Results showed that academics provided a myriad of reasons why teachers may not use TGMs, although all agreed on the need for increased teacher professional development in TGMs. Physical education teachers’ outlined that numerous competing versions of TGMs was confusing and they required more hands-on examples of TGMs. Results further highlighted disparities between academics and teachers’ conceptual understanding and pedagogical applications of TGMs. There is a critical need to create improved connections between academics and physical education teachers, which could be achieved through the extended examination of the micropedagogies of teachers practice in TGMs.

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Shane Pill and Brendon Hyndman

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.

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John Williams and Shane Pill

Purpose: To explore a teacher educator professional learning opportunity within the context of a taught unit of work at a government primary school in Canberra, Australia’s national capital. The unit of work focus was a traditional Australian Aboriginal game taught using a Game Sense Approach to deliver a socially just version of quality physical education. Method: A qualitative self-study methodology was adopted where the participants were Author 1 and 49 Year 5 students (aged 10–11 years). Results: Game Sense Approach was found to be an effective professional learning opportunity for Author 1, while Author 2’s knowledge about Indigenous perspectives in physical education was extended. In addition, student participants valued the taught lessons, which highlighted issues of social justice. Discussion/Conclusion: It is possible for the self-study approach described here and seemingly incompatible epistemological approaches to work together to realize a socially just version of quality physical education that can inform physical education teaching beyond this study.

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Amy Price, Dave Collins, John Stoszkowski and Shane Pill

A key feature of any coach’s role is to decide on the most appropriate approach to develop player learning and performance at any given time. When coaching games, these decisions are even more challenging due to the interactive nature of games themselves and, in team games, this interactivity is heightened. Therefore, proponents of various approaches to coaching games could do well to demonstrate how different approaches may compliment rather than oppose each other, to avoid a one-size-fits-all process of coaching. In this insights paper, we summarise some of the fundamental approaches used for coaching games, whilst clarifying and contrasting their theoretical and practical differences. In doing so, we propose that there is a space in the coach’s toolbox for a games approach that hones the metacognitive skills of players. We also suggest reasons why coaches might use metacognitive game design as a tool to develop players’ deep understanding of game play to support player learning and performance.