Teachers who use this approach see their students as active participants (mentally, physically, emotionally) in the process of learning games. As we all know, students and adults alike, learn in a variety of ways and progress at different rates. Knowing that students are always at different stages of understanding, teachers can use the TGfU model to focus in on individual, social and contextual processes.
Thematic Approach For Planning the Year
“Setting up units based on game categories rather than specific sport units (e.g. soccer unit, volleyball unit) can be an effective approach to developing games [awareness] across a number of formal games.” (Mandigo & Holt, 2004). TGfU advocates also state that rather than teach the rules, skills, and tactics of one sport, the thematic approach advocates teaching students games through the use of four game categories: target, net/wall, striking/fielding, and territorial/invasion games. This themed approach creates a framework to link the different sports within a category based on shared rules and tactical skills that transfer across similar games (Figure 1). These category specific technical and tactical skills are taught, developed and modified through games using the TGfU approach so that knowledge and understanding is created within each category. These can then be transferred to a less familiar game which the student will be able to participate in because understanding has been transfered (Figure 2).
Figure 1: Summary of games categories and the main intent of the game (Butler & Hopper, 2011)
Example of games
Main Intent of the game (Primary Rule)
bowling, bocce, golf, archery, croquet, curling
To send away an object and make contact with a specific, stationary target in fewer attempts than opponent.
badminton, table-tennis, tennis, handball (court), squash, paddleball, racquetball
To send back to opponent so that they are unable to return it or are forced to make an error. Serving is the only time the object is held.
Danish Longball, baseball, softball, cricket, kickball, rounders
To place the ball away from fielders in order to run the bases and score more runs than the opponents.
basketball, soccer, lacrosse, football, netball, rugby, Ultimate Frisbee, handball (team), hockey (ice, field, floor)
To invade the opponents defending area and to shoot or to take the object of play into a defined goal area.