Games in Education Assignment

The inclusion of games in the national curriculum for physical education, provide children with a wide range of benefits, which can lead to increased physical and mental development through sport. Team games have recently been emphasised in the national curriculum, with a privileged status for games establishing within the activity based framework of the national curriculum (Williams, 2000).

It is a common fact that sport can provide children with positive and enjoyable experiences, and through the appropriate teaching and learning of games, these experiences can be developed to provide children with the ability to realise his/her physical and mental potential. It is this realisation which will prepare a child for adulthood and life in the outside world. It is my intention to look at the many ways games contribute to children’s schooling and also to interpret the various programmes of study for games in the national curriculum for physical education.

One of the most prominent developments in physical education today is the growth in interest of health related fitness. A physically active lifestyle can promote many benefits to a human being, both healths related and performance related, including cardio respiratory fitness, muscular endurance, agility, reaction time and even stress management (Williams, 1989). During key stage 4 of the national curriculum, pupils are given the opportunity to appreciate the exercise effects and health benefits associated with their selected activities.

A lack of physical activity is known to be a primary risk factor of almost equal importance to smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (Gookooluck, 2003). Therefore, by introducing children to physical activity at a young age the more likely they are to continue physical activities into adulthood, leading therefore to a healthier society. Key stage 1 states that pupils should be taught that regular exercise improves health and how one feels. In order to encourage children to further participate in physical activity, the child’s experience must be an enjoyable one. It is no use taking a large group of children and have them running around a gym with no real aim or objective.

This is reflected in key stage 2 when it states that children should be taught that exercise can be fun and sociable. Williams (2000), states that P.E experiences need to be fun, exciting, challenging and rewarding. Games can provide children with a variety of enjoyable and challenging experiences, including working as a team member, appropriate competition and a variety of different game situations. There is the argument however that time allocation for physical education in schools is not enough to improve the physical fitness of a child. Siedentop (1994) states that time is always limited, and students should get as much successful experience as possible. Although time scale is restricted, if the experience is enjoyable, then it may lead to children seeking further opportunities in sport.

As well as developing and encouraging a physically active lifestyle, games is also important in developing in children their motor skills, and other skill developments which can be applied to a variety of games and sports. Games allow children to explore their own body, and express themselves through movement. Williams (1989) states that there is an enormous responsibility to provide children with activities which develop bodily and manipulative skills, which are an important expressive communication of feelings.

Key stage 1 of the national curriculum states that pupils should be taught elements of games play that promote spatial awareness and including running, chasing and dodging to avoid others. Thus, giving the pupil opportunity to develop their motor skills, and respond to control their bodies in the world around them. During a games lesson children are also given the opportunity to develop the acquisition of a variety of skills, such as passing, shooting and dribbling. Key stage 1 of the national curriculum highlights these areas, stating that pupils should develop areas such as throwing, striking, rolling and bouncing.

Key stage 2 emphasises on this, stating that common skills and principles should be learned. Children therefore learn and develop skills which can be adapted to a games situation. Almond (1997), states that the initial role of a games leader is to determine the skills of a game to teach, which will ensure a sound base from which children can view other games. Games are also effective in that it allows children to gradually develop their skills over a period of time. This is highlighted in key stage 1 of the national curriculum, which states children should work individually and, when ready, in pairs and small groups.

The use of “when ready”, suggests that children should not move forward too quickly. Lenal (1984) states that it is a great step forward when children learn to adjust their action to each other and it should not be pushed. Through games children are given the opportunity to place their newly developed skills into a games environment. In order for children to gain as much from these experiences, key stage 2 and 3 state that children should be taught to play small sided, modified versions of games. The use of small sided games gives children a better opportunity for involvement in the game.

Siedentop (1994) states that the demands of a large sided game are not matched to the developmental levels of the students, and the skills learned in isolation are seldom displayed appropriately in the game context. Therefore games give the child more involvement, and ensure a more varied and valued practice. Modification of games, allows the child to play a modified version of the adult game.

These modifications can include the nature and size of equipment, the size of the court or the reduction of more complicated rules. These small sided, modified version of games, provide children with a better chance to execute and develop there skills which leads to better enjoyment and understanding of the game. It can therefore be seen that games provides children with a wide variety of skills, which can be adapted to a variety of sports giving them a freedom of choice in later life.

Another key area games is effective in developing is knowledge and tactics. During a games situation, the knowledge and tactics of a game are vital components in order for success. Williams (1989), states that the success of a game depends upon the creative power of the children. Key stages 3 and 4 highlight the ability to develop techniques, tactics and strategies in a games situation. Games in the national curriculum therefore provide with the opportunity to be creative through sport.

Children apply the skills they have developed through the key stages, to finding solutions to different challenges such as beating the opposition in a sporting situation. Students are capable of devising simple strategies and tactics, which are placed into games practice (Almond, 1997). It is through this games practice that pupils in key stage 4 can develop their own strategies, which can be placed into their chosen competitive sport.

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