Learning to teach games for understanding: Experiences from four pre-service PE teachers in the Hong Kong Institute of Education

Chung LI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The “teaching games for understanding” (TGfU) has been increasingly accepted as an alternative instructional model in PE in Hong Kong. The model conceives educational theories including cognitive, constructivist and situated learning. Accordingly, it has been incorporated as an important content in the PETE programme for pre-service PE teachers. However, empirical research concerning the outcome of the model has been limited. This paper reports a qualitative study of how 4 skilled final year Bed (Hons) degree students perceived their professional learning in the TGfU units. Pursued along the theoretical lines derived from Lawson’s occupational socialization perspective, data were collected through interviewing and critical incident techniques. Emerging themes concern participant’s understanding of the concepts of TGfU, the values and difficulties of implementing the approach. All four of them possessed positive attitude towards the model and perceived it as an alternative approach of instruction which could provide more fun for the pupils. They related their professional learning with pedagogical knowledge in the form of procedures of teaching games and an indirect teaching approach for promoting cognitive leaning of their pupils. However, half of them showed their unwillingness to the model in their future teaching due to a number of reasons. Apart from those partial difficulties, they worried about the adequacy of their “tactical knowledge” concerning individual physical activities. They experienced the dilemma of the interdependency among “cognitive thinking”, “skills”, “tactics” and “game play” as well as the sequence between tactic-to-skill and skill-to-tactic in games learning and teaching. The discussion relates the learning to teach TGfU to the mechanisms of knowledge acquisition and warrants the attention of teacher educators. Consequently, implications are drawn to facilitate learning and teaching PE in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


Hong Kong
occupational socialization
educational theory
knowledge acquisition
empirical research


Li, C. (2005, December). Learning to teach games for understanding: Experiences from four pre-service PE teachers in the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Paper presented at the III Teaching Games for Understanding International Conference 2005, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


  • Teacher Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning