Identifying Teaching Strategies Using The Gca: a Case Study Of a Singapore Pe Teacher

Por: Anthony Leow, Joan Fry e Michael Koh.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Education in Singapore is experiencing a reformative stage, shifting from rote learning to critical thinking in accordance with the government’s directive of Thinking Schools, Learning Nation. A national search is on for new ways to promote innovation in teaching and learning in order to produce thinking citizens to brace them for the future challenges. This shift in ideology led to a major revamp in physical education (PE) undergoing a paradigm shift, as manifest in the 1999 revised PE syllabus in Singapore’s schools. Prominently featured in the revised syllabus is the introduction of the pedagogical mode of games concept approach (GCA), a localized adaptation of the tactical approach to teaching games proposed by [1], which has its roots grounded in the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGFU) framework, originally developed by [2]. Despite the importance of decision making and pedagogical knowledge in effective teaching practices, there appeared to be little research into the instructional strategies of proficient teachers using the GCA, particularly with regard to stimulating pupils’ thinking and enhancing their understanding of games’ concepts through questioning, which forms the crux of the GCA. Therefore, this study was undertaken to investigate the teaching strategies employed by a proficient teacher in using GCA to teach a games unit (volleyball) to an upper primary PE class. The findings target three groups namely PETE educators, in-service teachers and PETE students.


This research employed the interpretive framework, specifically that of a bellwether case study of a proficient PE teacher to address the following research questions: (a) What teaching behaviours does the teacher exhibit during his GCA teaching? (b) What features in his talk during teaching, in particular his questioning? and (c) What is his rationale for what he does? Across the 8-lesson unit, data was collected through ongoing videography and audio recording in order to document the teacher’s observable pedagogical strategies during curriculum time. Two personal interviews were conducted, one at mid-unit and one at end-unit, to solicit the teacher’s reflections on his lessons and to clarify the researcher’s perceptions of the teaching strategies. A lesson-by-lesson analysis of the videotapes of the 8 lessons depicting the talk and classroom happenings was conducted to sieve out the instructional strategies. An exemplary lesson was analysed through video-replay stimulated-recall, in order to understand the teacher’s intentional strategies. An interview was conducted with 6 learners to acquire their viewpoints on the GCA experience. Teaching benchmarks for the tactical games model [3] and taxonomy of the cognitive domain [4] formed the basis for data analysis.


Three key behaviours were identified among the repertoire of teaching strategies of the teacher as observed during the lessons. They were (a) Effective management and organizational efficiency, (b) Precise identification of tactical problems and (b) Proactive reflections and flexibility. Interestingly, it was noticed that most of the teacher’s questions fell under the category of lower-order questions, with a large proportion dedicated to knowledge questions. Direct instruction featured predominantly as the teacher’s preferred teaching style during the GCA unit. It was found that the teacher’s biography formed the foundation of how he used the GCA. With his own experiences dominated by the "traditional" PE approach, he was bound in the expectancy that skill was the basis of game play. Therefore, skill acquisition was a major focus of his lessons albeit in a GCA structure.

Discussion/ Conclusions

Effective management and high organizational efficiency are essential in increasing PE learning time. A proficient GCA teacher should be able to identify the key tactical problems in any given sport and from the results; it coincides with task presentation identified in [4]. According to the teacher, lesson reflections should be ongoing and this probably explains why he frequently diverted from his lesson plans and changed things along the way. A good teacher is able to pinpoint the cause for the breakdown during the lesson and rectifies it quickly to get it going again, implementing the necessary changes. Though questions were mostly from the lower-order rank, it does not mean that the quality of the questions is in any way inferior to higher-order ones because the compatibility of a question is ascertained by the extent it matches the teacher’s intended objective and the expectant student learning [4]. The findings also add fuel to the contemporary feeling amongst the Singapore PE fraternity that a rudimentary level of skills should exist prior to the introduction of games concepts. This provides food for thought to the next curriculum revision and for the teacher educators as well as the current PE teachers adopting the GCA in their teaching.


  1. Bunker,D.; Thorpe, R. (1982). Bulletin of PE, 10:9-16.
  2. Griffin, L.L.; Mitchell, S.A.,; Oslin, J.L. (1997). Teaching Sport Concepts and Skills: A Tactical Games Approach Champaign, IL.
  3. Metzler, M. (2000). Instructional models for physical education. Needham Heights, MA.
  4. Bloom, B.; Englehart, M.; Furst, E.; Hill, W.; Krathwohl, D. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives. Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York.



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