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Teaching Games by Playing Games: A Quick Look at TGfU

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Osama Abujafar

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Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) is a pedagogical concept that has only recently been formally introduced to elementary teachers in Ontario through the revised 2010 health and physical education (h&pe) curriculum. However, it is not a new concept. Teaching Games for Understanding was pioneered at Loughborough University in the early 1980s by researchers Rod Thorpe and David Bunker. The pair acknowledged that students were often leaving schools with little knowledge of how to play games effectively, they were relying on the knowledge of the coaches and teachers rather than their own, and they had limited capacity to apply the skills they did learn in different contexts. Through TGfU, students develop physical and games literacy, as well as critical and creative thinking skills.

In Ontario TGfU had been present in the secondary school h&pe curriculum, but with the 2010 revision was scoped and sequenced down into the elementary document as well…

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