Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Webb, P and Pearson, P, An Integrated Approach to Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU), 1st Asia Pacific Sport in Education Conference: Ngunyawaiendi Yerthoappendi Play to Educate, Adelaide, 21 January 2008. Original conference information available here


The Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach developed by Bunker and Thorpe (1982) places a whole different approach to the teaching of games. The focus of the model is placing the student or athlete in a game situation where tactics, decision-making and problem solving is critical. Other variations and terminology include ; ‘game sense’, ‘play practice’, and ‘game centred approach’. This paper will review the literature of TGfU. There are four categories of games: net/court, invasion, striking/fielding and target games. Teachers need to have a good understanding of the categories and sports and activities to be able to analyse them. In addition, they need to understand the questioning technique. One of the many advantages of TGfU is that it enables teachers to integrate their approach within a category and across categories. One way this is achieved is to analyse activities within categories and across to look at similarities and differences between the activities and sports. This can be specifically be achieved by analysing similarities and differences in techniques, strategies and tactics, rules and psychological variables. From here it is possible to program using as a basis the common variables before branching into specific differences. One of the advantages is that it enables students or athletes to experience different activities and sports. For example, with invasion games an integrated unit of Touch (Football), Oztag and Walla Rugby could be taught. This paper will conclude with the process of unit planning.

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