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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Barriers to Teaching Games for Understanding: Teachers’ Engagement and Implementation in England

Gambles, Ellen-Alyssa, Anderson, Steven, Leyland, Sandra and Ling, Jonathan (2022) Barriers to Teaching Games for Understanding: Teachers’ Engagement and Implementation in England. In: TGfU SIG 40th Anniversary Conference, TGfU SIG, 2023, Online. (Submitted)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)


Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU; Bunker & Thorpe, 1982) has 40 years of research and practice but has continued to meet resistance in its full integration in schools (Almond, 2010; Harvey & Pill, 2016). This study aimed to evaluate the impact of a teacher training session to address five perceived barriers (11- sub barriers) to the implementation of TGfU. The five barriers were highlighted in a previous study as lack of time, lack of understanding, lack of knowledge, lack of support and reluctance to change. A pre-post design study was used to examine and evaluate the success of 17 PE teachers across five high schools in the North of England delivering TGfU as a part of a 6-week scheme of work. A 2-hour continuing professional development (CPD) session was conducted with PE departments which included information on TGfU, theoretical and practical lesson plan examples and an opportunity to reflect and change their existing schemes of work to be TGfU-centred. The teachers practiced the TGfU approach for a minimum of 1-hour per week for 6 weeks. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using questionnaires and focus groups.

The inferential statistics showed five sub-barriers were reduced in the post test results. This included lack of time (planning TGfU lessons; within lessons to teach TGfU), lack of understanding (needing to teach skills first before teaching TGfU; unsurety in how to apply TGfU in practice) and their lack of knowledge (lack of training in how to apply TGfU). The teachers expanded upon these findings during the focus groups, discussing the three main barriers that were reduced and the reluctance to change barriers. The focus groups revealed that while some barriers were significantly reduced, all barriers remained in place, to varying degrees. Recommendations for overcoming the barriers included an initial CPD event, the availability of a facilitating expert to assist with implementation, and continued support after the CPD event with time available to plan and practice. Teachers suggested TGfU resources were needed in a central location for ease of access allied with support and endorsement for the approach by their senior leadership team.

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More Information

Depositing User: Steven Anderson


Item ID: 15743

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Ellen-Alyssa Gambles: ORCID iD
ORCID for Steven Anderson: ORCID iD
ORCID for Sandra Leyland: ORCID iD
ORCID for Jonathan Ling: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2023 10:21
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 11:15