Teaching physical education – PEdagogical Model: Games-based approaches

Teaching games

Applying effective teaching approaches to the ‘how’ of Physical Education (PE)

In this series, we present six one-page summaries of key Pedagogical Models that should form part of the diet of rich and varied PE delivery.

Each of these models provides a structured framework to guide the teaching and learning process, enhancing the overall effectiveness of physical education programmes.

The benefits of applying PE pedagogical models

Organised and purposeful lesson plans

Pedagogical models help PE educators create learning material and carefully planned lessons designed to address key learning objectives. They also promote a systematic progression of skills and knowledge to meet intended learning outcomes, facilitating a logical and effective learning journey for students.

Lesson content

Differentiated instruction

Moreover, these models contribute to differentiated instruction, allowing teachers to tailor their approach to meet the diverse needs and abilities of students. By incorporating various and effective teaching strategies and styles, pedagogical models enhance engagement and understanding among students with different learning preferences. Variety is the spice of life and all that!

Effective teaching strategies

Incorporation of critical life skills

Additionally, the use of pedagogical models in PE delivery supports the development of critical life skills such as teamwork, communication, creativity and problem-solving. Structured lesson plans enable educators to integrate these skills seamlessly into physical activities, promoting holistic student growth.

Greater responsibility with specific skills

Holistic development

It is widely accepted that PE has the potential to develop physical, cognitive, social and affective domains of learning. By using a rich variety of ‘models’ in your practice it can pave the way to move ‘beyond the physical’ to recognise, develop and celebrate wider skill development that is essential to success in PE, in sport, and in life.

Assessment and evaluation

Furthermore, employing pedagogical models assists in the assessment and evaluation of student progress. The models prompt the incorporation of measurable criteria for evaluating individual and collective achievements in PE, aiding in the identification of areas for improvement and adjustment of instructional strategies.

Assessment evaluation and feedback

Today’s PEdagogical model: games-based approaches

Unlike traditional skill-drill teaching methods that focus on isolated practices and mastering component parts of a game before their application in a game scenario, game-based approaches highlight the significance of games understanding, decision-making, and tactical awareness. Notable game-based approaches include Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU), Game Sense (GS), and Constraints-based Approach (CBA). These learner-centred approaches prioritise the simultaneous development of students’ own learning of cognitive skills and physical skills, while emphasising a holistic understanding of the game rather than a segmented approach to skill acquisition.

games-based approaches in physical education lessons


  • Learning is contextualised
  • Holistic understanding promotes transfer
  • Problem solving skills are developed
  • Long-term retention is often better
  • Modified games develop thoughtful, creative, intelligent & skilful players
  • Tactics and technique developed in an integrated way
  • Students are more motivated


  • It takes time to incorporate
  • Some basic skills are required in order to play a modified game
  • Difficulty assessing individual progress
  • Need strong subject knowledge to implement
  • Learners can adopt poor technique
  • Lacks structure

One-page summary – games-based approaches

Download the attached one-page summary for further information on games-based approaches

Curriculum development: Why not use it to guide a PE department meeting followed by a period of testing and instructional coaching to help develop your repertoire of approaches to teaching.

It includes a short video available via the QR code to bring it to life along with:

Implementation ideas

Top tips

Common misconceptions

Models based practice - games

Coming soon! Next in the series

Look out for the next in our PEdagogical models series:

Sport education

Health-based PE (HbPE)

Teaching personal and social responsibility (TPSR)

Previous PEdagogical models in the series

You can also access previous posts and one page summaries on:

Direct instruction by clicking here

Cooperative learning by clicking here

Further information


PE Scholar has numerous resources for physical educators on games-based approaches


Teaching games for understanding and situated practice

Book review

Perspectives on games-based coaching




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