Effects of games centred professional development on teaching quality and student outcomes in primary physical education: pilot randomised controlled trial of the professional learning for understanding games education (PLUNGE) intervention.

Year: 2013

Author: Miller, Andrew, Lubans, David, Christensen, Erin, Eather, Narelle, Miller, Wendy

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Objective: The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the preliminary efficacy of a school-based teacher professional development program for generalist primary school teachers which focused on the quality and productivity of teaching using a game centred pedagogical approach. Further to this objective was evaluation of the efficacy of a Games Centred Approach (GCA) for development of student outcomes, including fundamental movement skills (FMS), game play abilities and enjoyment of physical activity. The novel aspect of this investigation lies in the implementation of a GCA for development of teacher and student outcomes.Methods: A group-randomised controlled trial with a 6-week wait-list control group was conducted in one primary school in the Hunter Region, NSW, Australia. Participants from the classes of four teachers (n = 107 students; mean age = 10.7 ± 0.9 years) were randomized by class group into the Professional Learning for Understanding Games Education (PLUNGE) intervention (n = 52 students) or the control (n = 55) conditions. PLUNGE was a 6-week programme for the development of practical PE teaching skills using researcher designed GCA curriculum. PLUNGE included: one teacher professional learning session and four in-class mentoring sessions for the teacher, and 6 × 60 min GCA physical education (PE) lessons for the students. The control group participated in their usual weekly 60 min PE lessons. Baseline and post intervention (8-week) assessment measured teacher variables of Teaching quality (Intellectual Quality, Quality Learning Environment & Significance) using Quality Teaching scales, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and time management using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time observations. Student variables were throw and catch skills (TGMD-2), invasion game decision making, support and skill performance (GPAI), and enjoyment of PE. Intervention effects were assessed using linear mixed models and Cohen's d effect sizes were calculated.Results: For teacher variables, significant group-by-time effects were observed for Intellectual Quality (p < 0.01), Quality Learning Environment (p = 0.01) and MVPA (p = 0.01), with no effect observed for the Significance dimension (p = 0.90) or time management (p = 0.49). For student variables, significant group-by-time effects were observed among the intervention group for the throw (p < 0.01) and catch (p = 0.03), and game play outcomes of decision making (p = 0.04) and support (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Results indicate that professional development using education and mentoring with a focus on the development of student FMS and game play skills using a game centred pedagogical approach was a feasible and efficacious approach for improving teaching quality and student outcomes.