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Why the Constraints-Led Approach is not Teaching Games for Understanding: A Clarification

Renshaw, Duarte Arajo, Chris Button, Jia Yi Chow, Keith Davids, and Brendan Moy

The Big Idea

First off, let’s set the context for this commentary paper.  As is the norm in most any profession, there are both historical and continuing aspects to its practice.  In the profession of teaching physical education, such is the case.  Two of the more popular approaches are Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and the Constraints-Led Approach (CLA).

Of the two, TGfU is older, having its origins in the 1960s.  TGfU is a learner-centered approach to teaching games.  The teacher’s role is to design modified games with the goal of developing the student’s understanding and appreciation of tactical strategies.

CLA, on the other hand, evolved out of the more recent 21st Century practices of nonlinear pedagogy (NLP), itself arising out of the ecological dynamics movement.  It, too, is learner-based.  But in designing a learning environment, CLA is much broader in scope.  By way of it, practitioners are invited to identify and modify interacting constraints, such as task, environment, and learner.  This approach has been adapted for re-learning...

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