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Teaching Games for Understanding: Teachers’ Socialisation, Perceptions and Interpretations

Gambles, Ellen-Alyssa (2024) Teaching Games for Understanding: Teachers’ Socialisation, Perceptions and Interpretations. Doctoral thesis, The University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


The aim of this thesis was to provide evidence that can inform the future approaches of PE teachers when using a Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach (Bunker and Thorpe, 1982). Three studies were conducted with in-service and pre-service teachers in England and investigated the teachers’ perspectives on barriers and facilitators to implementing TGfU. Study 1 utilised semi-structured interviews to explore the perceptions of in-service teachers through each phase of Occupational Socialisation Theory; acculturation (childhood), professional socialisation (university/teacher training) and organisational socialisation (on-the-job) (Lawson, 1983a, 1983b). Organisational socialisation was identified as the most dominant phase that affects current practice, with the teachers offering five main barriers to the implementation of TGfU; (1) lack of knowledge, (2) lack of understanding, (3) lack of time, (4) lack of support and (5) reluctance to change. Study 2 aimed to evaluate the impact of teacher training professional development on in-service PE teachers’ implementation of TGfU. A pre-post evaluation study was designed incorporating facilitators provided from Study 1 and which resulted in a reduction in three of the main barriers, namely lack of knowledge, lack of understanding and lack of time. Although the teachers found that the 2-hour Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshop and 6-week teaching practice addressed barriers to varying extents, none were fully eliminated. Study 3 examined the socialising influences and beliefs about pre-service teachers’ implementation of TGfU in PE through the lens of Occupational Socialisation Theory. Semi-structured interviews highlighted the school environment and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic as impacting significantly on teaching practice. The subsequent discussion chapter compared the principal Occupational Socialisation findings from the Study 1 in-service and Study 3 pre-service teachers and discussed the TGfU barriers and facilitators from across all three studies. The research found that the socialising influences, TGfU barriers and TGfU facilitators were similar throughout all participant groups. Evidence is presented which shows that the key differences that emerged between in-service and pre-service teachers may be attributable to a number of factors. These aspects include changes in the United Kingdom (UK) education system, their career stage and their teaching experiences, such as, early work experiences, prior knowledge of TGfU and ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. A significant finding from the thesis was that a CPD programme can reduce the barriers to TGfU and that there may be further benefits with a longer period of support and instruction. The conclusions of Study 2 and Study 3 indicated additional barriers beyond the five identified in Study 1, namely lack of confidence and fear of loss of control, both of which were shown to improve with time and guidance during Study 2. For the successful implementation of innovative pedagogies such as TGfU, a consideration of all phases of Occupational Socialisation is required. This thesis found that the greatest impact on the teaching practice of PE teachers is by targeting the organisational socialisation phase. Recommended facilitators for supporting the implementation of TGfU include an initial CPD with a facilitating expert and provision of teaching resources, early exposure to the Model, a higher focus on Game-Based Approaches (GBAs) in primary and secondary teacher training, and coaching awards from National Governing Bodies (NGBs) incorporating GBAs.

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Depositing User: Delphine Doucet


Item ID: 17614

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ORCID for Ellen-Alyssa Gambles: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 07 May 2024 10:53
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 11:00


Author: Ellen-Alyssa Gambles ORCID iD

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