Game -centered approaches (GCAs) such as Teaching Games for Understanding (Bunker & Thorpe, 1982) and Game Sense (den Duyn, 1997) have been promoted as learner-centered and inquiry-orientated approaches to teaching and coaching. Consequently, these approaches provide a context within which to ensure learning is positive. The features of GCAs that provide the context for this positive learning experience are, a) designing and managing the learning environment/experience, b) asking questions to generate dialogue and thinking, and c) providing opportunities for formulating, testing and evaluating solutions.
To ensure learning is positive, the teacher/coach designs learning experiences that have the appropriate amount of 'stretch' (Coyle, 2009) or what pedagogues might term scaffolding. Once this learning experience is designed and in place, the teacher/coach focuses on using questioning and providing opportunities of formulating, testing and evaluating solutions. This collaborative problem-solving nature of GCAs can encourage a solutions-focused approach through the teachers/coaches judicious use of questioning to encourage dialogue, discussion and debate (Light, Evans, Harvey, & Hassanin, 2015; Pill, 2013). Thus, the teacher/coach is repositioned, and rather than tell their pupils or players what do do to 'fix' their mistakes, the coach works with and alongside their learners to promote a positive environment, using negotiation skills to arrive at potential solutions which can then be tested and reviewed via further reflection.
The process outlined above seems pretty straightforward, but building this kind of learning environment can be challenging, particularly when the focus is on winning rather than long-term development and where the teacher/coach has a history of using a 'banking' approach to learning (Friere, 1993). However, through a greater focus on a 'problem posing' approach the teacher/coach generate dialogue and reflection to encouraging deep learning through a positive pedagogy such as a GCA.
Read more about using a GCA as a positive pedagogy:
Light, R. L., & Harvey, S. (2015). Positive Pedagogy for sport coaching. Sport, Education and Society, 1–17. doi:10.1080/13573322.2015.1015977
Selected Additional References:
Coyle, D. The talent code: Greatness isn't born. It's grown. here's how. New York: Bantam Books.
Pill, S. (2013). Using Appreciative Inquiry to explore Australian football coaches' experience with game sense coaching. Sport, Education and Society. doi: 10.1080/13573322.2013.831343.