PE Insights Episode 2: Gary Standinger – Enhancing Physical Education Through Student-Centric Pedagogy and Feedback Literacy


In a recent PE Insight podcast, Gary, an experienced physical education (PE) teacher and PhD researcher, shared insights into his teaching practices and his ground-breaking research on Key Stage Three (KS3) learners’ views on feedback and assessment. In this blog, we will explore the two key aspects discussed by Gary: student-centric teaching practices in PE and the outcomes of his PhD research on feedback literacy.

Teaching Physical Education: A Student-Centric Approach

Gary emphasises a student-led approach in teaching PE, influenced by models like Teaching Games for Understanding and sport education. His teaching philosophy involves well-structured, inclusive, and differentiated lessons that prioritise student ownership and control of their learning. Gary embraces a flipped learning model, where students engage in activities at home to enhance their understanding, fostering better connections to learning. This approach, according to Gary, helps maintain an active and engaged learning environment within PE lessons, preventing a shift from active to passive participation.

Games Based Approaches

For more information please of games based approaches click here

Flipped Learning in Key Stage Three

Discussing the underutilisation of flipped learning in Key Stage Three, Gary suggests its potential to enhance student engagement and understanding. By incorporating transferable skills into independent study, such as practicing specific techniques or skills, students can better connect with the content. Gary argues that this approach, especially in the context of Teaching Game for Understanding (TGFU) Framework, can make learning more meaningful and continuous, breaking away from the common theme of starting anew each year.

Student Ownership and Feedback Literacy

One notable aspect Gary discusses is the challenge of relinquishing control to students, particularly for early career teachers. He emphasises the importance of gradually letting go, allowing students to take ownership and responsibility for their learning. Gary sees this as a leap of faith that becomes easier with time and experimentation. By fostering democratic practices and reflective pedagogy, Gary encourages a classroom culture where students actively participate in decision-making processes.

PhD Research on Feedback Literacy

Gary’s PhD research, titled “Achieving Mastery: An Evolved Grounded Theory of KS3 Lead Learners’ Views on Feedback and Assessment,” focuses on how students self-manage their responses to feedback over a three-year period in KS3. The study involves lead learners as co-researchers, ensuring their voices shape the research process. The central theme is achieving mastery, with self-management processes identified through five interconnected sub-processes: mastery networking, challenging feedback, making use of resources, carrying out mastery research, and assessing how to respond to feedback.

Implications for PE Teachers

Gary’s research findings highlight the importance of feedback literacy in PE. He encourages PE teachers to consider daily practices that involve students as valuable stakeholders. By adapting curriculum and extracurricular activities, teachers can make assessment and feedback more student-friendly, fostering better connections between criteria and outcomes. Gary urges teachers to create space for student co-researchers, allowing them to contribute ideas and potentially influence positive changes in PE departments.


In summary, Gary’s teaching practices and research underscore the significance of student-centric approaches and feedback literacy in PE. Teachers can empower students by gradually letting go of control, fostering a culture of feedback literacy, and actively involving students in decision-making processes. By doing so, PE educators can create more meaningful and engaging learning experiences that contribute to students’ overall development.

About the Guest

Today’s guest is Dr Gary Standinger. Gary is a teaching fellow in physical education at the University of Edinburgh. With twelve years of experience teaching PE at a secondary

academy in south-west England, he has recently completed his doctoral thesis titled: ‘Achieving Mastery: an evolved grounded theory of Lead Learners’ views on feedback and assessment’ at Loughborough University. Gary’s research interests span ‘youth voice,’ ‘feedback literacy,’ and ‘student agency’ within secondary education. Get ready for an insightful conversation!

You can connect with Gary directly via X at @DrGJStandinger

Listen and Connect

To listen to the full episode please follow these links to Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

If you would like to be a guest on the PE Insights Podcast please reach out by contacting us here or reach out to Nathan Walker via X at @NWalkerPE

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