"Please Sir, can we play a game?" : transforming games teaching and coaching: a practitioner's perspective : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Over the last 30 years, traditional skill-based game teaching models have gradually
been supplemented by instruction under an inclusive banner of Game Centred
Learning (GCL) but more specifically, Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU).
This thesis uniquely examines from a practitioner’s perspective how the
development of GCL and its dissemination occurred in New Zealand (NZ) 1945-
2015. The multi-method approach establishes through a triangulation of data
sources utilising a bricolage approach that the development was not mandated by
educational policy but evolved through various combinations of insights from early
luminaries in the field and visits to NZ by a key figure in the field (Rod Thorpe).
Additionally, a new guard of Physical Educators in pre-service teacher education
colleges in NZ were also significantly influential in the dissemination of GCL
strategies as was a new socio-ecological perspective in PE syllabi (1999; 2007). An
emergent autoethnographic documentation of the author’s role further informs this
evolution of GCL and TGfU practices in NZ. Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus,
practice and field are used as markers to signal change and record tensions that
ultimately led to adoption of GCL practice in PE teaching and sport coaching in
NZ. The thesis findings present implications for PE practitioners through innovative
GCL approaches, associated with play, mastery learning and TGfU, that involves
transforming play. It is concluded that at a practical and theoretical level, TGfU
should be seen in a holistic experiential sense and integrated into PE programmes
acknowledging its potential to contribute to and enhance citizenship. The final
contribution to knowledge of this research is the presentation of a model of GCL
designed to transform play.