Teaching How to Play Well and Be Well : Reflections from a Novice on Using the Curricular Innovation of Teaching Games for Understanding Abed Rabbo, Richard
Most Physical and Health Education teachers still use a traditional activity-based style of teaching, instead of a concept-based style of teaching (Gerdin & Pringle, 2015; Metzler, 2011). Traditional forms of Physical and Health Education place a large emphasis on completing repetitive tasks that are designed to develop skills which are limited to specific sports. In contrast, current concept-based forms of teaching foster an environment in which students learn about various types of games, and help students to transfer tactics and game sense from one game to another. For this project, I completed a self-study with a constructivist worldview to see how my teaching praxis changed while using the concept-based curricular innovation of Teaching Games for Understanding. While working as an elementary school generalist teacher for a combined grade 6/7 class in the Surrey School District, I recorded journal entries based on my reflections as a novice using the curricular innovation of Teaching Games for Understanding. I also collaborated with two other teachers, via email, about the reflections that I documented after each day that I used Teaching Games for Understanding with my class. These two colleagues shared ideas, offered feedback, and encouraged me to try new strategies with my students. Even though it felt overwhelming at times to use a concept-based curricular innovation as a novice, I experienced favourable affordances with my class. While using Teaching Games for Understanding, I was able to foster an environment that allowed my students and I to collaborate together every class. Moreover, the collaboration that occurred while the students invented their own games encouraged students to include ideas and suggestions from their peers. This type of guided learning is different than the learning that occurred when I used a traditional activity-based program in my previous years of teaching Physical and Health Education, since I did not regularly provide opportunities for all students to offer their input. From this self-study, my teaching praxis has become more inclusive to the different ideas that my students have, since I now ensure that each student is part of the planning process before they begin playing games with each other. I also demonstrate the type of conversations that I want my students to engage in, by sharing my own thoughts and feelings about various games during class time. Furthermore, I now encourage my students to ask each other questions and offer feedback to one another, so that they can help each other to feel included within our Physical and Health Education classes.
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