Publication Details

Webb, P. I. & Pearson, P. J. (2012). Creative unit and lesson planning through a thematic/integrated approach to Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU). New Zealand Physical Educator, 45 (3), 17-22.


The Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach developed by Bunker and Thorpe (1982) involves a different approach to the traditional/technical model of 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. The purpose of this paper is to explore a model for unit and lesson planning used for pre-service Physical and Health Education students at an Australian University as part of the movement studies subjects. These subjects included invasion, striking/ fielding, target and net/court games. This paper extends Webb and Pearson's (2008) previous work focused on an integrated approach that referred to teachers having the ability to create units across sports and categories of games. The current research now also includes a thematic approach that according to Meldrum and Peters (2012) adopts themes that are suggestive of a range of teaching ideas and often integrate several topics. For example, a theme for invasion games could be 'space invaders'where the whole focus in the unit is on creating and closing down space. TGfU identifies four categories of games: net/court, invasion, striking/fielding and target games. In-service teachers need to have an understanding of the categories and have the ability to create innovative units of work and lessons using the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) framework as well as including other curriculum models such as Creating and Designing Games (CDG) and Sport Education. The approach requires the pre-service teachers to acquire an understanding of games within and across categories. For this a four-phase model for pre-service teachers is utilised (Forrest, Webb and Pearson, 2006). They determine what makes for an effective player in these activities based on strategy/ tactics, skills, rules and psychological factors. Similarities and differences are explored before deciding on a theme for the unit. A unit overview can then take place. The paper provides a practical example of the subcategory crossing the line games where three sports: Touch Football, Walla Rugby (modified game of Rugby Union involving a 2 handed touch, noncontested lineouts and scrums and a ball take) and Ultimate Frisbee will illustrate the approach with models such as Sport Education and Creating and Designing Games.