25-28 July 2018 | Edinburgh




AIESEP Special Interest Group: Teaching Games for Understanding

TGfU Symposium Program  

25 July, 2018 Edinburgh

(AIESEP 2018 Pre-Conference Seminar)

AIESEP is a globally representative group of associations and individuals committed to the promotion and sharing of their expertise around games centered approaches to knowing, learning and teaching sport.

This Special Interest Group is hosting a one-day symposium prior to the AIESEP World Congress in Edinburgh. At this symposium, there will be both practical (learning by doing) and discussion-based sessions. This opportunity is a great time to connect with this rich professional learning community!  

Register online here


Using TGfU to educate our students in inclusive and developmental ways

The symposium is open to all teachers, postgrad students, researchers, coaches, school sport coordinators.  The purpose of the day is to provide workshops and presentations on how enhance the quality of teaching and learning for all students through game centered approaches. As a community, our aim is to learn from each other and to share practice. 


Call for proposals

We invite interested participants to submit a presentation proposal for the symposium.  Presenters do not need to be also enrolled in the main World Congress. Proposals should outline the nature and title of the presentation. Proposals can be practical, conceptual, research-based, or panel discussions. We are also willing to support a poster session.  Sessions should fit into a 50-minute time slot.

Please submit proposals by Friday, April 6 2018 to Linda Griffin, email: lgriffin@educ.umass.edu 


TGfU Pre-Conference


Tgfu 1 

 Tgfu 2

Tgfu 3 



TGfU Pre-Conference Abstracts

Session 1


(2 concurrent sessions)



Session 1A

Game Balance Analysis within TGfU Invasion games to Foster PETE Students’ Teaching Skill

Presenters: Jeroen Koekoek, Jaap Kleinpaste, Wytse Walinga, & Ivo van Hilvoorde


Practical Presentation


Room: St Leonards Games Hall

There is an increasing attention within games based approaches (such as Teaching Games for Understanding [TGfU]) for innovative teaching methodologies that develop children’s tactical awareness (Harvey & Jarrett, 2014; Memmert et al., 2015; Koekoek, Van der Mars, Van der Kamp, Van Hilvoorde, 2018). For instance, the implementation of digital observation tools becomes emergent as it contributes to a robust game based pedagogy in physical education teacher education (PETE) settings (Koekoek, Walinga, & Van Hilvoorde, 2017). For a few years the PETE Faculty at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands has explored the opportunities for several observation tools that foster PETE students’ teaching methods in game based settings. During games courses with the faculty, these PETE students have learned to apply these digital tools (e.g. video tagging, game balance analysis) in teaching practice settings in order to be effectively prepared for their internships at schools.

An important goal for game based teaching is that pre-service students learn to design rich learning game situations. This implies that these students need to be creative in adjusting game constraints by modifying game structures that match the players’ tactical skill levels. Game Balance Analysis (GBA), which is fully consistent with a TGfU approach, is proposed as a pedagogical tool to achieve appropriate decision making in teaching (Koekoek, Van der Kamp, Walinga, & Van Hilvoorde, 2014). In GBA, the teacher modifies a game such that it (1) provides insights in game play, (2) is appropriate to adjust game constraints, and (3) supports in adapting games to the players’ tactical skill levels. GBA consists of four steps that enable teachers to adjust and design several varieties of the game (Koekoek et al., 2014). Moreover, GBA allow teachers to describe the process of implementation of small-modified games in the curriculum.  In this practical session, we will introduce the concept of Game Balance Analysis and we will explain the four steps in this teaching methodology by using the GBA app for the iPad. Participants will be invited to explore this observation methodology in practice by observing and modifying a small-sided invasion game. 


Jeroen Koekoek, Jaap Kleinpaste, Wytse Walinga, & Ivo van Hilvoorde

Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle, The Netherlands

Corresponding author, Jeroen Koekoek: JH.Koekoek@windesheim.nl

Senior Lecturer Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy

Windesheim University of Applied Sciences │ Human Movement and Education Research Centre │

(088) 469 7882 │ Kamer A-1.55 │Campus 2-6 │P.O. Box 10090 │ 8000 GB Zwolle │ The Netherlands



Session 1B

Games Concept Approach: Making it Work

Presenter: Teng Tse Sheng


Lecture & Discussion Presentation

Room: St Leonards 3.24

The Games Concept Approach (GCA), if well-delivered, develops thinking players, and engages students through the use of games as the learning focus. However, GCA, like other games centred approaches (i.e. TGfU, Tactical Games Approach, Game Sense) are complex. Many teachers find it challenging to use such approaches in their lessons.  A group of teachers passionate about the GCA formed a GCA Communities of Practice (CoP) in 2016.  They aimed to support fellow teachers who are keen to use GCA in their lessons. Members of the CoP started teaching using the GCA, and experimented with the approach to learn via practice what works and what did not work. I will be sharing the learning of this GCA CoP. I will focus on some of the important questions that teachers need to ask when using the GCA. These questions include:

• Do I have deep understanding of GCA?

• What are the pre-requisites that need to be in place before a GCA lesson can be effective?

• How should I design the situational games and skills development?

• How can I increase success, and thus, motivation to learn, during skills practice and game play?

• What is the best way to engage students cognitively and develop understanding?


Teng Tse Sheng Tse_Sheng@moe.gov.sg
Master Teacher / Physical Education

T +65 66641509 , F +65 62739049

2 Malan Road (Blk P) Singapore 109433   www.pesta.moe.edu.sg


Session 2


(2 concurrent sessions)


Session 2A

Teaching Badminton in a Game-Centered Learning (GCL) Format to Promote Kinesthetic Awareness to Enhance Decision Making: Novice to Advanced Players

Presenter Dennis Slade


Practical Presentation


Room : St Leonards Games Hall

A practical workshop that employs a GCL format to develop novice to advanced badminton player’s kinaesthetic awareness of their shot making. This awareness is an important part of all racquet sports as it provides the awareness necessary to anticipate the opponents response and the player’s next shot. The workshop covers basic tactical understanding, inter player doubles movements before employing different feedback strategies to facilitate kinaesthetic awareness of shot making in badminton.

Dennis Slade, M. Phil | Senior Lecturer |

Massey University|School of Sport, Exercise & Nutrition

College of Health – Te Kura Hauora Tangata (PN621)

Private Bag 11-222 | Palmerston North 4442 | New Zealand

d.g.slade@massey.ac.nz| T: +64 6 356 9099 ext. 83818 | F: +64 6 350 5781

Author: Transforming Play: Teaching tactics and game-sense. Human Kinetics

New Zealand representative, TGfU International Advisory Board. 


Session 2B

Augmenting cognitive, social and affective implication of students for learning sport: the case of hybridised models-based physical education (lecture and discussion)

Presenter: Cláudio Farias


Lecture & Discussion Presentation


Room: St Leonards 3.24

This intervention highlights the on-going work developed by a specific field in sports pedagogy and physical education teacher education that is centred in the coalesced implementation of Sport Education (Siedentop, 1994) and Tactical approaches to instruction such as the Tactical Games model (TGM) (Mitchell et al., 2013) and the Invasion Games Competence model (IGCM) (Tallir et al., 2007). 

The advocacy for hybrid approaches to teaching/learning of physical education (e.g. Farias et al., 2015) is based on the basic premise that learning contexts based on the specialized teaching/learning of sports tactics and the sport-related features of Sport Education, have the potential to encourage student development of a wider range of learning outcomes. However, in practical terms, when aiming at effective teaching/learning, there is very little information available on the specific organizational structures, instructional strategies and dynamics of content development teachers may use in such pedagogical frameworks. Therefore, this session sheds light on a series of dilemmas faced by teachers: ‘how does one keep a tactical focus of instruction when students are required to conduct many of the learning activities?’;  ‘If cognition is to be developed, who conducts the tactical questioning, the teacher or the peer-tutors?’; ‘When and how does that occur?’;  ‘Who takes the lead in identifying and selecting the tactical problems and respective solutions to be worked in the lessons?’;  How and when can students be progressively empowered to actively participate and conduct key problem-solving processes?’.

This presentation includes three main topics: (i) conceptual progression for content development in hybrid teaching units; (ii) scaffolding progression for the development of peer-teaching, cooperative dynamics and student ownership of the learning experience in hybrid teaching units; (iii) dynamic unfolding of the main game form-practice tasks interjection in hybrid teaching units.

Cláudio Farias: claudiofariasef@gmail.com

PhD in Sports Sciences, MRes (Sport for children and youngsters), MEd (Teaching PE in Secondary Education) (QTS), Degree of licenciate (Teaching PE in Elementary Education) (QTS)

I level UEFA C, II level UEFA B (football coaching)

Lecturer in the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport

University Lusófona

Campo Grande, 376, 1749-024



Session 3


(2 concurrent sessions)


Session 3A

What do the pedagogical principles for a “Digital Video Games Approach” look like in action? 

Presenter: Amy Price

Practical Presentation

Room : St Leonards Games Hall

Over the past decade, there has been ongoing debate relating to the use of suitable pedagogical approaches for designing learning environments to develop skillful games players. There has been little consideration of the “digital age of learning” and the global success of the digital video game industry. Using the educational work of James Gee, this article attempts to rationalize how a “digital video games approach” differs from other learner-centered pedagogies currently employed for teaching and coaching games. Examination of the literature suggests that the learning gains from Teaching Games for Understanding and the Constraints Led Approach ignore the meta-cognitive dimension of learning how to play games—surely an important consideration for long-term development. Accordingly, by drawing on experiences from digital video game design, we examine how games practitioners might utilize such an approach for meta-cognition in coaching or teaching practice to stimulate player learning. In this presentation will cover the following pedagogical principles

  • What’s the mission?
  • Level-up
  • Earning a super power
  • Using the pause button
  • Saving progress (Price, Collins, Stoszkowski & Pill, 2017)

Amy Price, Lecturer: amy.price@stmarys.ac.uk

St Mary’s University in Twickenham, London, UK


Session 3B

The Educational Value of TGfU Questioning: Pedagogical Issues

Presenter: Aspasia Dania

Lecture & Discussion Presentation

Room: St Leonards 3.24


Research on the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) model highlights the use of questioning as one of its most important instructional features. However, in cases when questioning is not designed in an open-ended and guided-discovery manner, only factual knowledge is communicated (concepts, procedures, subject matter), which cannot support students’ thinking to scaffold progressively to more complex levels of learning by understanding (analyze, evaluate, create). Based on the above, the intent of the present panel is threefold: a) to provide theoretical evidence supporting the educational value of TGfU questioning within Physical Education (PE) teaching, b) to investigate the relationship between questioning and executive function, the latter perceived as a predictor of proficient game and learning performance, and c) to provide empirical data concerning the kind of TGfU questioning used within Greek PE settings, in an attempt to demonstrate issues that have to be addressed when planning guided-discovery instruction.


The Educational Value of TGfU Questioning: Pedagogical issues

Presenter: Aspasia Dania

Throughout the process of TGfU questioning, PE students develop their critical thinking, decision-making and social functioning skills, which are needed to regulate their thought to the demands of the game and adjust behavioral aspects of their action accordingly. Such skills are important components of executive function and are often characterized as predictors of effective learning across a variety of educational domains. Therefore, the focus of the first presentation is to theoretically support basic principles associated with the use of questioning in TGfU teaching and outline pedagogical concepts that have to be applied during the design of instruction.

Aspasia Dania: adania@phed.uoa.gr

School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece


Can Questioning Promote Metacognition and Executive Function?

Presenter: Kostantinos Karteroliotis

The focus of the second presentation is on the operationalization of the executive function construct within the inquiry-based learning climate of TGfU, in an attempt to demonstrate the strong connections between general cognitive traits and game performance. As a multi-component construct, executive function refers to abilities such as response inhibition, creativity, information updating, attention and high order planning, which, in the case of PE teaching, can probe intelligent performance and bring gains to students’ motor competence and physical activity levels.

Kostantinos Karteroliotis: ckarter@phed.uoa.gr

School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece


A Practical Example from the Use of TGfU Questioning within Physical Education Settings

Presenter: Manolis Adamakis

Up to date data from TGfU practice show that PE teachers encounter multiple dilemmas that either prevent them from designing questioning learning environments or restrict their use of questioning to the enactment of low-order thinking responses. Therefore, the aim of the third presentation is to provide an empirical example for shaping the discussion around techniques, structures and frameworks that can be used as resources for designing TGfU questions for high cognitive rigor within PE settings.

Overall, the focus of this small-group discussion is to critically re-examine the use of TGfU questioning within PE teaching, and suggest standards that can upward it to a highly rewarding teaching and learning experience.

Manolis Adamakis:manosadam@phed.uoa.gr        

School of Education, University College, Cork, Ireland


Session 4


(2 concurrent sessions)


Session 4A

Progressive assessment based gameplay 1:  Reading tactical contextual adaptation and off-the-ball movements

Presenters: Tim Hopper & David Gutierrez Diaz del Campo


Practical Presentation

Room : St Leonards Games Hall

This first of two practical sessions will focus on players and assessors in games that form a complex self-organizing system.  The two progressive assessment sessions are designed to build on a peer assessment process that goes from hand scoring assessment, paper and pencil with contextual constraints, to finally, end point assessment with iPad using the video catch app. The intent of this first session is to teach the key off-the-ball movements in net games based on the application of “time, space and force” strategic control factors that then lead to strategic use of “risk”. Drawing on the game performance assessment inventory (GPAI) developed by Oslin, Mitchell and Griffin (1998), the movements associated with recovery (base movement), read (anticipatory decision movement), respond (cover movement) and react (adapt movement) will be taught (Hopper, 2003). Participants will systematically learn through guided questioning in a bounce/catch “line game” and then “box-to-box” modified net game. Targeting these games delegates will learn through a progressive set of tasks that are (1) co-operative, (2) challenging, and then (3) competitive scoring with a modification-by-adaptation game structure (Hopper, 2011).

Through peer assessment participants will explore García-López, & Gutiérrez, (in press) idea of tactical contextual adaptation (TCA) as extension of GPAI. TCA describes the decision making process, rather than the result, from gameplay focusing on how the player is learning to read the opponent and the game situation to make competent tactical decisions. Using a peer assessment process focused on TCA, assessors will reinforce efficient movement patterns as players transfer tactical decision making in game structures that adjust to the players’ gameplay performances. Using a “Focused GPAI component assessment form” assessors will guide players’ transfer of GPAI movements from the context of the line game to a box-to-box game with players choosing to use a a sending skill after a bounce such as (1) catch-throw, (2) catch-strike, (3) touch-to-control-strike, or (4) strike. In reflection with delegates, the session will consider how TCA decision making, based on the application of the strategic factors, can precipitate the emergence of foundational motor patterns for net games based on: (1) player choice on how to send the ball, (2) shifting context of the game, (3) peer-to-peer assessment, and (4) purposeful grouping of players based on contrasting playing abilities.

Tim Hopper, Associate Professor: thopper@uvic.ca

University of Victoria, CA

David Gutierrez Diaz del Campo: David.Gutierrez@uclm.es

Profesor Titular de Universidad

Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
FACULTAD DE EDUCACIÓN DE CIUDAD REAL | Ronda de Calatrava 3, 13071 | Ciudad Real

Tfno: 926 295 300 | Ext: 3231



Session 4B

Research Presentations

Room: St Leonards 3.24


Presentation 1

The Effects of TGfU as Non-Linear Pedagogy Towards Badminton Game Play Among Students in Malaysia

Presenters: Sanmuga Nathan , Ahamd Hashim, Norkhalid Salimin, Jafri Zakaria& Mohd Iswan Sharil

Background: The introduction of TGfU among Malaysian schools seems to be challenging teachers from motor learning background as they are comfortable with technical-skill driven approach or the linear pedagogy (LP). This problematic nature compelled to comparative investigation between the effectiveness TGfU merged with Constraints Led Theory (CLT) as Non Linear Pedagogy (NP) compared to LP as a control group

Methodology: This quasi experimental pre-post test research design utilised n = 56 students aged 13 years old selected randomly and assigned equally into two groups. The effectiveness of these two approaches were measured via skill execution of forehand underhand and overhead  shot, drop shot, smash,  tactical decision making of when to apply long or short shot and players recovery  to base, in badminton doubles  game play before and after intervention.

Results: Findings indicated there were  no significant difference between  NP  and  LP   in terms  of forehand underhand and overhead  shot. As for drop shot, smash, decision making and recovery to base in doubles game play  indicated significant improvement performance via NP compared LP.

Conclusion: Implementing of TGfU in Malaysian school would further strengthen via CLT partnership in the form NP. The NP suits teachers and weaker players as teacher can adjust the tasks accordingly to the situated learning environments.

Sanmuga Nathan, Ahamd Hashim, Norkhalid Salimin, Jafri Zakaria& Mohd Iswan Sharil

SultanIdris Education University of Malaysia

Corresponding Author, Sanmuga Nathan: sanmuga@fsskj.upsi.edu.my


Presentation 2

Understanding the Dynamics of Play in Games

Presenter: Jonas Holst

The presentation offers a conceptual study of play as an on‐going movement to and fro which entails vitality, display and testing. The purpose of the study is to identify and understand this dynamic movement in games, as it has proven to be one of the principal and preferred ways in which children and youngsters learn (Gopnik 2016). Understanding and putting the dynamics of play into practice holds great pedagogical potential which many theorists and practitioners have often hinted at (Huizinga 1980; Launder 2001; Almond 2015). Yet, very few have developed a detailed account of its inherent qualities.

In play, at its most basic level, the players are caught up in an alternating dynamics of moving hither and thither or round and round, which allows them to explore and test a wide range of possibilities, while seized by what is going on or played out in the game. Ideally, play opens up a space within which the players are unconcerned about anything else than to keep playing and learning from what is at stake (Holst 2017). Seen from a pedagogical perspective, applying well this ludic approach may result in real life‐long learning through the players’ sustained attention and self‐promoted motivation

It is true that not all play movements are games, and not every game contains the described dynamics of play, but physical activities and games can be designed so as to give the players a sense of the play flow. Through practical examples of the dynamics of play, which the participants in the conference will also be invited to come up with, the study argues that understanding and finding meaning in the dynamics of play may promote self‐confidence, deep learning and a practical understanding of rules, tactics and technical skills in games.

Jonas Holst, Ph.D: jholst@usj.es

Assistant Professor

Institute of Humanism and Society

San Jorge University




Presentation 3

TGfU: A Pathway to Becoming Educationally Wise

Presenter: Gerald Tembrevilla

When Max Planck started his Ph.D. at Munich University in 1874, he was advised against studying physics. His professor said to him, “in this field, almost everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few holes” (Nature Physics, 2008, p.257). Undeterred, Planck’s desire to understand the very basic aspects of nature led him to uncover the mystery of black-body radiation that launched the expansion of quantum physics.

Planck’s example tells us that a basic understanding can warp the existing fabric of knowledge. It can fill up more holes for creativity and exploration. Planck’s example echoes the crucial foundations of Almond’s (2001) TGfU “as a critical framework where games present problems that need solving and players can make intelligent decisions to solve them” as well as “any subject can be taught …if it is put into the simplest terms” (as cited by Butler, 2010, para 4).

As a Ph.D. student working as graduate research assistant for physical education master’s degree program at the University of British Columbia, I found significant observations on how classes in this program are run and should run that might ‘fill up more holes’ in our continuing effort to make TGfU as a pedagogically inclusive and developmental pathway of teaching and learning in physical education. These observations which I put under the themes: physical education teachers’ explanations and learning how to explain, and understanding how to scaffold games and how games scaffold learning will be discussed in this 50-minute conceptual presentation. I will attempt to link these themes according to the benchmarks of TGfU (Thorpe et al., 1986) and argue that this linkage might inform how we ‘fill up more holes’ to promote physical education teachers as ‘the phronimos’– educationally wise teachers (Biesta, 2013).

Gerald Tembrevilla: tembrevillagerald@gmail.com

Ph.D. Student

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, CA


Session 5


(1 session)


Progressive assessment based gameplay 2:Tactical context adaptation from styles of strategic play

Presenters: David Gutierrez Diaz del Campo and Tim Hopper


Practical Presentation

Room : St Leonards Games Hall

This practical session will build on the peer assessment process developed in session one and extend the idea of tactical context adaptation with different styles of gameplay. These styles will be enabled by animal characteristics associated by the rabbit (consistency and scamper around to cover court) and the bear (attacking and move forward to dominate the court). This session will develop the peer assessment process from session one combining paper and pencil assessments to end point assessment with iPad/iphone using the video catch app.

Extending on the use of key off-the-ball movements in net games from session one and the the application of time, space, force and risk strategic control factor, this session will explore the concepts of tactical context adaptation (TCA) and game behaviour proposed by García-López, González-Villora, Gutiérrez, & Serra (2013). TCA describes the decision making process, rather than the result, from gameplay. Game behaviour refers to what Gutiérrez & García-López (2012) call tactical quality of participation. When game behaviour becomes consistent over time it becomes a strategic style of play.

To trigger TCA the animal characteristics of the rabbit and the bear will be used to stimulate styles of gameplay, that when associated with the rules of with and without the ball bouncing and appropriate court area exaggeration, lead to learning tactical context adaptation for more effective game behaviour. Repeating the assessment process from session one, assessors will observe and then record on the Tactical Adaptation Form the last two or three exchanges between the players as they use different game strategies (bear and rabbit) that lead to the achievement of the point. Based on classifying points won as appropriate or inappropriate tactical decision making, and efficient or inefficient skill execution assessors will record player game behaviour. With the application of strategic control factors guided by the teacher participants will develop an awareness of which techniques correspond to the resolution of each of the tactical contexts they face. This creates the context for players to refine their skills in order to have the capacity to solve these tactical challenges.

Using the modification-by-adaptation scoring process from session one, assessors will use the video catch app to develop a rich understanding of how to play the game leading to engaging dialogues with their players. The session will wrap-up with a discussion on how the understanding of the TCA concepts promoted by the modified games and assessment process, enabled players to transfer their emerging game behaviour into adult net games such as tennis, volleyball and badminton.

David Gutierrez Diaz del Campo: David.Gutierrez@uclm.es

Profesor Titular de Universidad

Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
FACULTAD DE EDUCACIÓN DE CIUDAD REAL | Ronda de Calatrava 3, 13071 | Ciudad Real

Tfno: 926 295 300 | Ext: 3231


Tim Hopper, Associate Professor: thopper@uvic.ca

University of Victoria, CA


Session 6


(1 session)


Democracy in Action: Inventing Games as a process for learning democratic principles

Presenters: Joy Butler & Linda L. Griffin


Practice Presentation

Room : St Leonards Games Hall

The Inventing Games (IG) process provides an environment in which students invent games based on the four TGfU games categories (target, striking, net/wall and invasion games). Because students invent their own games, they are able to design them in a way that makes them accessible to their particular developmental level of cognitive, psychomotor and affective ability. Students can experience the principles of democratic decision-making through ongoing discussion, both during and following game play, through discussions of game rules, dimensions of play, purpose, equipment and number of players. Any of these game features can be adapted in order to make playing more inclusive and enjoyable for all, so invented games evolve as students explore them through play and reflection.

In this practical session we will explore the learning of democratic principles, group roles, and environmental constraints that can be used in IG to facilitate the application of democratic processes to student learning. IG fosters participation by working in small groups, with an emphasis on cooperation to create the optimum conditions for all players through trial, review, negotiation and redesign. Emphasis is placed on inventing games to create a shared experience where all have the opportunity for success and where games are adapted by consensus in circumstances where success opportunities are not shared equally.

All players start with more or less of an advantage in game situations, but rarely do we examine how we can create equal opportunity for success within the learning situation, within a democratic structure. Doing so can encourage learners to invent their own games in which teachers help learners to develop respect for equal justice and for free and open inquiry.  In this way students come to understand that within any class setting they share a responsibility to protect individual and collective rights and freedoms within their community.   

Joy Butler, Ed.D: joy.butler@ubc.ca

Professor | Curriculum & Pedagogy
The University of British Columbia
Faculty of Education
2125 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4


Linda L. Griffin, PhD: lgriffin@educ.umass.edu

Professor, Sport Pedagogy

College of Education

University of Massachusetts Amherst

813 North Pleasant Street

W225 Furcolo Hall

Amherst, MA 01003

Phone: (413) 545-6985

For more information on the TGfU SIG, please visit our website.