Introduction to Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU)


We are excited about your interest in taking our Introduction to Teaching Games for Understanding Course from PE Central. Below you will find a brief course description, the instructor's biography, and course FAQ's. We estimate that this course will take 6 hours to complete. Once you have completed it, you may request the 6 hours towards your teacher licensure recertification.

We know you will find this course valuable and enjoyable. If you have any questions please email us at [email protected]

Best of Luck!
Mark Manross, Executive Director, PE Central

Target Audience:

This course was designed primarily for secondary physical education teachers, specifically grades 6-12. Our instructor is here to help you throughout the course with any questions you may have.

Course Purpose:

The purpose of this course is to introduce learners to the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) model of instruction, and to provide practical applications for implementing the teaching strategies into physical education classes.

Course Description:

In order to truly enjoy participation in games, students need to feel competent and confident with the skills involved as well as with the strategies involved. The TGfU model, developed by Bunker and Thorpe in 1982, places students in game situations where tactics, decision-making, problem-solving and skills are developed at the same time. This course will provide valuable strategies and ideas for various small-sided games specifically designed to teach your students how to recognize and solve game specific problems during game play. Because TGfU uses four game categories, teaching strategies discussed can be taught with all games within a certain category (i.e., net/wall games, invasion games, target games and fielding/striking games). Taking this course will allow you to increase your repertoire of teaching strategies.

Course Goals:

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the concept of the TGfU model.
  • Understand and explain how the TGfU model allows students to problem solve and come to the desired learning outcomes.
  • Explain the difference between the traditional, technical approaches to teaching vs. the TGfU model.
  • Understand and explain the four categories of games as well as three different teaching approaches.
  • Design and potentially implement lessons implementing the TGfU model, incorporating the guided discovery style of teaching.


This course addresses the following standards:

Source: SHAPE America National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education (2014).

Standard #2: - The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.

Standard #3: - The physically literate individual demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.

Need to get your Professional Development Credits approved by administration? Download the course description to provide them here.

Your Instructor

Jennifer Houston
Jennifer Houston

Jennifer has taught K-12 physical education for 12 years, including 5 years in adapted physical education. Earned NBCT in 2006. After earning her PhD in curriculum and instruction in physical education in 2014 from Arizona State University (ASU), she taught higher ed PETE and other kinesiology courses for six years at ASU, Texas A&M San Antonio, and Northern Arizona University (NAU). She is currently working as an adapted physical education specialist, preK-12, for Mesa Public Schools in Mesa, AZ. She has presented at SHAPE, Southwest district as well as our AZHPE state organization several years in a row.

Email: [email protected]

PE Teacher

Middle & High School

"The TGFU is a valuable tool that provides to us as teachers an opportunity to open our mind which can improve our knowledge in a variety learning areas; also it provide a new structure to develop creative lessons for our pupils. In my opinion this kind of approach should be encouraged by the schools as part of professional development."

PE Teacher

Elementary & Middle School

"As professionals, we wear many hats in the teaching community. It's easy to lose sight of what's most important because we're so busy. However, students deserve to know more, be involved more and have a greater understanding of their own learning. TGFU creates a platform for this."

PE Teacher


"IThis was way beyond what I expected. I finally found an online course that was well explained and it can truly be called a professional development! Loved it."

Check out Frequently Asked Questions Here!

(You will be prompted to enroll for free in the S&S Online School)

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