VLOG 11: A models-based approach

You may of heard of models such as Cooperative Learning, Sport Education, Teaching Games for Understanding, and Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility. This VLOG considers the bigger idea surrounding these models, a models-based approach. A models-based approach is a curriculum or program of study organised around these models rather than, for example, activities. What a models-based approach does is it allows physical education to exist in a number of forms and meet the broad ranging learning outcomes of the subject: sport, competition, tactics, social development, etc etc.. My question to you after watching this VLOG is to consider, would you organise your curriculum or program of study around different models, why? and what models would you choose.

Information linked to this VLOG

Kirk, D. (2012). “What Is the Future for Physical Education in the 21st Century?.” In Debates in Physical Education, edited by S. Capel and M. Whitehead, 220–231. London: Routledge.

Metzler, M. (2011). Instructional models for physical education (3rd Edn). Arizona: Holcomb Hathway.

O’Donovan, T. (2011) ‘Models-based practice: structuring teaching and coaching to meet learners’ diverse needs’ In Armour, K. (ed.) Sport Pedagogy: an introduction to coaching and teaching. Essex, UK: Prentice Hall. 325- 337.




Thanks to @DrToniODonovan for letting me adapt some of her diagrams 🙂

11 thoughts on “VLOG 11: A models-based approach”

  1. Thanks for the VLOG Vicky!

    In response the questions above, I do format my PE program around different models. Funnily enough I use the models which Vicky refers to – Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR), Cooperative Learning (CL), Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and I’m starting to experiment with Sport Education (SE). I approach the teaching and learning of PE content in this way for many reasons: 1. I have been using TPSR since the late 90’s and have found that it helps foster a positive class community/environment/atmosphere with PA as the medium for learning to work towards becoming physically literate/educated/active, and it is also part of our PE curriculum documents..so a win-win-win; 2. More recently, in response to curriculum theorists/reformists such as David Kirk’s and Ashley Casey’s view that Models-Based Practice (MBP) is one path toward meaningful pedagogical and curricular change, I have ventured beyond implementing the one model and am currently using 3 with the intent next year to move into a 4th; 3. I am interested in seeking out potentially cutting edge perspectives on PE theory and practice. In other words, I want to know if MBP can offer an alternative to ineffective practices so I am using this pedagogy to find out.


    1. Hi Kellie

      Thanks for your comment. Your approach to using a models-based approach is great and certainly what the future of physical education is proposing. My perception was that there is a limited amount of this going on in practice and the use of models are rarely sustained beyond the honeymoon period (the initial point of excitement), maybe I have been naive or maybe this is just the UK. What do you think? Do you know others who are adopting this? Is there a disconnect between research and practice?

      I am sure that Ash and David would be thrilled that their ideas are having an impact on how you are designing your curriculum – they were both my PhD supervisors so my research and practice has also been influenced by them.

      So I suppose my biggest question is, how did you initially learn about models such as TPSR? and how did you end up engaging with Ash and David’s work to develop your curriculum?



      1. Hi Vicky,

        Some responses below and if you want to continue the conversation here, or in another format, we can.

        First of all I don’t think you are naive. See below for Canadian publication information. However, what would be great to know is what is actually being used and with what level of fidelity b/c often there are pedagogies used at the k-12 level which are not studied/researched/published so we don’t know they are being applied/implemented. In this way there may be research-practice disconnect, but we don’t know. I would suspect that there are parts of the world who are beginning to engage in MBP in the years since the 2008 GSU studies and since it is being forwarded by researcher and theorists such as yourself, Casey, Fletcher, and Kirk.

        With respect to Canada: TGfU is popular b/c of champions like Joy Butler and Tim Hopper. TPSR is part of a few PE curriculum documents across the country. SE and CL are also two models that are known to be used (i.e., there is published research). This doesn’t mean that other models are not used, but what has been published is overwhelmingly on singular models with TGfU coming way out ahead in number and scope of research, TPSR, SE, and CL come in a very distant 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Ash Casey and Tim Fletcher have a 2014 article (see below) on the challenges of MBP in PETE. Since 2013 there may be others, but the lit. review I did was up to 2013.

        I initially heard about TPSR during a MPE methods course in the mid 1990’s at Memorial University of Newfoundland. When I started an Interdisciplinary Ph. D. in 2013 I intended to focus on TPSR within PE, Recreation and Education but eventually, with the guidance of one of my supervisors, Tim Fletcher, MBP has become the focus. I was teaching at a university for 3 years and now I’m back in the K-12 system. Research that I am working on right now involves interviews and focus groups with PETE students who were involved in practical courses based in MBP (TPSR, CL, Peer Teaching, TGfU).

        Fletcher, T. & Casey, A. (2014). The challenges of models-based practice in physical education teacher education: A collaborative self-study. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 33(3): 403-421.


      2. Hi Kellie

        Thanks for the comment again, this is very interesting. I agree with you about fidelity – we don’t know how they are being implemented and how they are being adapted in different ways to suit the needs of schools, students and teachers. I also agree with your comment around singular models. I wonder if there has been too much of a focus on using singular models without the thinking behind developing a coherent curriculum approach i.e. MBP. The challenge then is how do we introduce PETE students and teachers to multiple models. Some work by Zach and Cohen (2012) suggests that teachers should only really be introduced to three models during PETE to allow for in-depth understandings of how to use models. In my work with @BucksCLBuddy they focussed on one model, Cooperative Learning, for three years and are now beginning to embed a models-based approach using SE and TGfU as well. However, this is challenging and returning to the point of fidelity, they are lots of different components to each model (either benchmarks, elements, non-negotiables) that make learning how to use multiple models a complex undertaking.

        I suppose the key is now to move from theorising about MBP and begin to explore how it is enacted and the methodologies (like self-study of Fletcher and Casey) that inform its use. The work that you are doing at the moment with PETE students certainly sounds interesting and I look forward to hearing more about this.



  2. Hi Vicky

    I really enjoyed your Vlog. I found that it left me reflecting on my current practice to see what models I am including. For example, I realized that I utilize the Cooperative Learning, TGfU and Experiential Learning models on a stand alone basis however I may have been trying to integrate aspects of the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility and Sport Education models with those mentioned above.
    The video made me once again realize how critical initial lesson planning is from a perspective of beginning with your success criteria in mind.
    Thanks again


    1. Hi John
      Thanks for your comment and I am glad the VLOG was useful. Its great that you are using models and must be great for the students that they are experiencing different forms of PE. I suppose it is a challenge beginning with the success criteria first and it is difficult at times to shift ourselves from this. I suppose the key is what do we want students to learn and what models can help achieve this and when? Interested to learn more about your approach, how did you come to learn about the models you mentioned above? and why have you chosen these?



  3. Hi Vicky

    Many thanks for your VLOG regarding a models based curriculum and the example of cooperative learning.. I’ve shred these with my department this afternoon and we have discussed the concept in some detail. Up to now, we have delivered an activities based curriculum but we believe that moving to a models based curriculum will have a greater impact on allowing us to meet a range of outcomes in PE and provide a more rounded curriculum to develop the physically educated person.

    Some of the barriers we came up against in our discussions were knowing what a specific model might look like in practice as we have limited experience. We also discussed how a specific model might work well for one group but not necessarily another. This is also difficult to plan for in the long term until the teacher has met the group and knows which model might work best for them.

    I’m really interested in the concept and welcome any suggestions, ideas or literature that might help us to get started.

    Many thanks.



    1. Hi Chris
      It is great that you are interested in developing a models-based curriculum and you have discussed this with your department. In response to some of the barriers, my advice would be to start small. Perhaps consider firstly the model that interests you and your department the most: what model fits with your goals for the curriculum, your school, your department, yourselves and your students. Then begin to take some of the key non-negotiable ideas from this and begin using one or two at a time. For example if you chose Cooperative Learning you could refer to these VLOGs (see below) and begin considering using one or two of the non-negotiables building up. In the resources section there is also a paper on top tips for using Cooperative Learning with some key ideas of how to begin developing this.

      Once you become confident with one, you can then begin building up to using more models – although this is not the only way to do it, my advice is start small

      I’d be happy to share ideas further and further material, but if you haven’t seen these already they could be a good start




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s