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The Game Sense approach as explicit teaching and deliberate practice

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The Game Sense approach (Australian Sports Commission, 1996) was proposed in the mid-1990’s as a game-based approach different to the dominant transmission pedagogy and practice style instruction. This ambitious approach to coaching/teaching sought to enhance sport participation and retention by aligning practice sessions/lessons with the reasons young people like sport and games– to be able to play. It now forms the pedagogical basis of the Australian Sports Commission Playing for Life Philosophy and programs like Sporting Schools (ASC, 2016). The player-centred narrative of the Game Sense approach has provided a serious challenge to the sport-as-sport techniques (Kirk, 2010) ‘drill and test’ mode of sport pedagogy. However, the Game Sense approach is sometimes perceived by teachers to imply a diminished role of the teacher/coach as facilitator. In this paper I propose an expanded explanation of the Game Sense approach equation based on the explanations of ‘game intelligence’ provided by den Duyn (1997), Maho (1974) and Hopper (2003). I argue that the game-centred/teacher-centred polarisation presented in scholarly work about game-based approaches like Game Sense can lead practitioners to a false premise of implicit teaching realized as “the game as teacher”. In this conceptual paper, I present the case that the Game Sense approach is explicit and deliberate teaching in the form of guided participation. The act of teaching becomes the tasks of clearly articulating learning intentions and the associated forms of ‘doing’ that promote the learning of these intentions. This paper will use the concept of ‘understanding by design’ to inform the theory into practice demonstration of sport and games teaching as explicit, strongly guided and deliberate. In the context of game based pedagogies like the Game Sense approach this means intentional learning design creating play with purpose in a flexible and adaptive way to meet the learning needs of students and players.
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Chapter
Drawing on the concept of the sport coach as educator (Jones, 2006) and the idea of an ‘everyday’ philosophy of teaching developed by Green (1998, 2000, 2002) we create a dialogue between two coach educators who are also practicing coaches to explore the idea that game-based coaching has been better accepted in coach education, policy and academic settings than in the ‘natural’ setting of coaching. We intentionally provoke an assumed acceptance of game-based coaching as it is emphasised in coach education material such as coaching manuals, and suggest that it is a conceptualised instructional approach, while coaches operate from an ‘everyday’ philosophy and pragmatic interpretation of approaches and ‘what works’ for them. This is because coaches do not need to see the boundaries between instructional approaches that coach educators and academics do as theory generators and explainers of theory (Green, 2000; Stolz & Pill, 2014).
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Chapter
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... Using the term "guided" does not imply an implicit "game as teacher" learning environment. Instead, it is a purposeful environment deliberately constructed and shaped by the pedagogical actions of the teacher (Pill, 2017). This purposefully constructed learning context engages the pedagogical application of game modifications to: ...
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