Curriculum models

Health-related physical activity

Health-related physical activity (HRPA) aims to develop learners’ understanding of health-related physical activity. HRPA is a concepts-based model which aims to build on learners’ knowledge, skills and understanding of this area from junior cycle physical education. Through participation in a range of physical activities, students learn how to develop their health-related physical fitness and about the related concepts. HRPA also aims to build an appreciation of the importance of participation in lifelong physical activity. 

The essential elements of Health-related physical activity are as follows:

  • Study of concepts—students learn about fitness and health and wellness concepts and practices.
  • Lifetime physical activities—learners participate in lifetime physical activities.
  • Physical activity and wellness appreciation—learners consider the importance of developing and maintaining adequate levels of physical activity and good nutritional practices.
  • Personal activity programme planning—learners develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to plan and execute personal activity programmes.

The objectives of senior cycle physical education addressed in HRPA are to support learners in
understanding and committing to physical activity which develops health-related physical fitness
participating in physical activity both inside and beyond the school
acting as informed participants in physical activity
examining the value of physical activity in different contexts.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Health-related physical activity. Learners in consultation with their teachers can select the learning outcomes that they wish to focus on in this model, with due regard to the resources available in the school.
 

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Health-related and performance-related physical fitness
  1. 1

    evaluate their own health-related physical fitness 

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  2. 2

    compare the components of health-related and performance-related physical fitness

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  3. 3

    monitor their participation in activities designed to enhance one or more health-related fitness components using the FITT formula (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type)

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2. Physical activity participation
  1. 4

    discuss the benefits of regular physical activity that they have experienced as a result of their participation

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  2. 5

    identify different supports that helped them begin and/or continue to be physically active

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  3. 6

    create a personal activity profile identifying abilities, attitudes, motivations and barriers to their own participation following a self-assessment 

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  4. 7

    use a range of strategies to overcome barriers to regular participation in physical activity

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  5. 8

    identify physical activity opportunities in school and in their communities  

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3. Designing a physical activity programme
  1. 9

    identify reliable resources to support their planning of a health-related and/or performance-related physical fitness programme

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  2. 10

    use their personal physical fitness results to plan and implement an effective, enjoyable and balanced fitness programme which aims to improve health-related/ performance-related physical fitness

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  3. 11

    plan a physical activity programme designed to enhance health-related physical fitness for an individual with an activity profile different to their own

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4. Organising a physical activity event
  1. 12

    organise a health-related physical activity event 

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  2. 13

    participate in and reflect on the health-related physical activity event 

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5. Evaluation of physical activity facilities, services and products
  1. 14

    evaluate a local health club/gym or physical activity facility or fitness service from a number of perspectives including that of a participant 

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6. Safety concerns pertaining to a variety of lifetime and fitness activities
  1. 15

    provide advice about appropriate clothing, hydration, safe practice and suitable equipment for health-related physical activities based on their experience

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  2. 16

    document the uses and misuse of supplements/drugs in physical activity and sport

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7. Wellbeing/Wellness
  1. 17

    include physical activity in their stress management plan

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  2. 18

    practise relaxation techniques 

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  3. 19

    evaluate personal diet and nutrition habits  

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  4. 20

    commit to a healthy, balanced eating plan which they have designed to meet the energy and nutritional demands of their physical activity levels 

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Sport education

Sport education aims to contribute to the development of learners as competent, literate and enthusiastic players and participants in a range of physical activities. This is achieved by providing learners with an authentic experience of sport and organised physical activity where they learn to perform playing and non-playing roles such as participant/player, referee, coach, choreographer, and statistician. By focusing teaching and learning on a more complete experience of the activity, each learner is more likely to develop a broad set of skills and to become familiar with the strategies necessary to participate in sport and organised physical activity successfully now and in adulthood.

In Sport education, sport is understood as being
all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels. (Council of Europe, 2001)

The essential elements of Sport education are as follows:
Seasons—learners experience the activity in a season in which they practise the skills, techniques and/or compositional elements of the selected activity and participate in formal competition or performance. 
Affiliation—learners are affiliated to teams/troupes/squads/groups working toward a common goal.  
Formal competition—each season includes opportunities for participation in formal competition or performance.
Keeping records—learners engage in record-keeping about different aspects of their participation and performance.
Culminating event—at the end of each season, an event is organised to mark the end of the season and recognise excellence and effort.
Festivity—Sport education aims to include the festivity, colour and excitement associated with the chosen activity (team colours, chants, flags, costumes and pictures).

The objectives of senior cycle physical education addressed in Sport education are to support learners in

  • developing confidence, competence and creativity in a range of physical activities
  • undertaking different roles in physical activity
  • participating in physical activity both inside and beyond the school
  • demonstrating responsible social and personal behaviour in physical activity, including respect for self and others
  • acting as informed participants in physical activity.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Sport education. Learners in consultation with their teachers can select the learning outcomes that they wish to focus on in this model, with due regard to the resources available in the school.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Roles and responsibilities
  1. 1

    undertake different playing and non-playing roles in the selected physical activity 

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2. Being an effective team member
  1. 2

    participate as an effective member of a team working towards a common goal—for example, a culminating event, display, or performance

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  2. 3

    demonstrate effective leadership in playing and non-playing roles

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3. Effective personal performance
  1. 4

    demonstrate the effective use of the skills, techniques and strategies of the activity

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  2. 5

    observe the rituals and conventions of the activity

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  3. 6

    adhere to the safety requirements of the activity

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  4. 7

    develop the fitness requirements for the selected physical activity

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  5. 8

    incorporate a variety of techniques, choreographic principles and approaches to group work in their dance/gymnastic performance 

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  6. 9

    demonstrate an understanding of aesthetic and artistic considerations in their performance

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  7. 10

    work creatively with props in dance and small and large apparatus in gymnastics 

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4. Culminating physical activity event
  1. 11

    organise a culminating event for the selected physical activity 

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  2. 12

    reflect on their own experience of organising and participating in a culminating event from an individual and/or group perspective 

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5. Physical activity opportunities beyond the physical education class
  1. 13

    participate in related physical activity opportunities beyond the physical education class 

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6. Common sport injuries and their rehabilitation, first aid procedures including concussion and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  1. 14

    show knowledge and understanding of common injuries in the chosen activity by including ways in which they can be avoided as they participate in the activity

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Contemporary issues in physical activity

Contemporary issues in physical activity aims to develop learners as informed and critical participants in physical activity and sport. Students learn not only to critically reflect on their personal experiences in physical activity and sport but also on the broader local, national and international influences on participation and provision. Learners are encouraged to consider physical activity and sport from personal, social and cultural perspectives.
The essential elements of Contemporary issues in physical activity are as follows:

  • Practical activity—students learn about and participate in a specific activity, selected by the learners in consultation with the teacher.
  • Critical reflection—the selected physical activity provides the lens through which students learn about:
  • Social issues—discussion and critique of contemporary issues in sport, health, and physical activity
  • Personal connections to physical activity, school, and society—the role and meaning of sport in their lives, and in the wider community in which they live.

The objectives of senior cycle physical education addressed in Contemporary issues in physical activity are to support learners in

  • examining the value of physical activity in different contexts
  • demonstrating responsible social and personal behaviour in physical activity, including respect for self and others
  • acting as informed participants in physical activity
  • developing confidence, competence and creativity in a range of physical activities
  • participating in physical activity both inside and beyond the school.


The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Contemporary issues in physical activity. Learners in consultation with their teachers can select the learning outcomes that they wish to focus on in this model, with due regard to the resources available in the school. These learning outcomes are more likely to be achieved when they are specifically applied to the sport or physical activity in which the learners are engaged during physical education.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Different experiences of physical activity
  1. 1

    review two or more physical activity biographies of individuals, including their own

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  2. 2

    explain the role of family, friends, school and community in enhancing or inhibiting participation in physical activity 

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2. Physical activity opportunities in and beyond school
  1. 3

    critique opportunities for physical activity for students within and beyond the school 

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  2. 4

    show evidence of participating in a physical activity other than physical education class

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  3. 5

    encourage others to participate in a physical activity of their choice 

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  4. 6

    highlight physical activity opportunities including mass participation events in their locality

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3. Barriers and supports in sport and physical activity
  1. 7

    evaluate the supports and barriers, both actual and perceived, to different groups’ participation in physical activity 

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  2. 8

    identify occasions and/or practices where sport and physical activity are used to either support or oppress different groups of males and females

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  3. 9

    analyse the role of national and local policies in the promotion of physical activity and health

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  4. 10

    explain the role of the Local Sports Partnership including how it supports young peoples’ ongoing participation in physical activity

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  5. 11

    develop a resource which highlights the work of a National Governing Body of Sport and/or other groups whose aim it is to promote physical activity participation  

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  6. 12

    critique facilities for physical activity in and beyond school from a number of perspectives, including safety, attractiveness, gender, age, and special needs

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  7. 13

    advocate with the relevant bodies for the improvement of physical activity facilities/opportunities in their local community 

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4. Inclusive physical activity opportunities
  1. 14

    organise a physical activity event in their school/local community that is designed to be inclusive 

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  2. 15

    design a promotional campaign to highlight opportunities for inclusive physical activity in their community

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5. The influence of the media in physical activity and sport
  1. 16

    critically analyse the role of the media in relation to physical activity participation for both males and females and/or minority groups

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6. Sport and drug use
  1. 17

    document the uses and misuse of supplements/drugs in the sport

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  2. 18

    design a charter for safe participation in sporting activities

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Adventure education

Adventure education aims to encourage learners to challenge themselves as they learn to co-operate with others, take appropriate risks, develop trust in themselves and in others, have due regard for their safety and solve physical activity challenges with others’ help and guidance. Building on learning about adventure activities in junior cycle physical education, Adventure education includes a wide range of activities, including co-operative activities, trust activities and problem-solving initiatives. It also includes activities that occur in the outdoor environment such as hill-walking and orienteering. Each of the activities is based on one or more of the following concepts: challenge, co-operation, risk, trust and problem-solving. 
Reflection is a central part of each activity, where learners not only reflect on the adventure activity experience but also consider how they might apply what they have learned in other authentic contexts in the future. The emphasis is on students learning about themselves and each other whilst engaging in the adventure activity rather than on the outcome of the activity. 

The essential elements of Adventure education are as follows:

  • Experiential learning—learners participate in the adventure activity, reflect on the experience, generalise their learning and apply it to new situations.
  • Shared commitment—briathar is the word used to describe how learners agree to be bound by a set of negotiated rules designed to encourage respectful and responsible personal and group behaviour.
  • Challenge with choice—learners choose how they participate in different adventure activities designed to challenge their physical, mental and emotional comfort levels.
  • Opportunities to reflect on and process the experience—this is necessary to support learners in making sense of what they have learnt.
  • Outdoor element–learners experience different adventure activities in the outdoors.
  • Skill development—learners develop the skills and techniques pertinent to a specific outdoor activity.
  • Personal challenge—learners view physical and mental challenges as an adventure to be experienced.
  • Team challenge—group members communicate effectively, cooperate and compromise with each other through trial and error participation in a graduated series of problem-solving activities.
  • Element of risk—students learn to trust their physical and emotional safety to others as they attempt activities that involve some physical or emotional risks.

The objectives of senior cycle physical education addressed in Adventure education are to support learners in

  • demonstrating responsible social and personal behaviour in physical activity, including respect for self and others
  • developing confidence, competence and creativity in a range of physical activities
  • undertaking different roles in physical activity
  • acting as informed participants in physical activity
  • participating in physical activity both inside and beyond the school.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Adventure education. Learners in consultation with their teachers can select the learning outcomes that they wish to focus on in this model, with due regard to the resources available in the school.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Challenging individual and group adventure activities
  1. 1

    participate in individual and group adventure activities which challenge them physically, mentally and/or emotionally 

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2. Setting goals
  1. 2

    set realistic personal goals for challenges which include opportunities for co-operation, appropriate risk-taking, building trust and/or problem-solving 

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3. Co-operation in adventure tasks
  1. 3

    contribute to problem-solving in group adventure activities

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  2. 4

    demonstrate an ability and willingness to adhere to an agreed protocol regarding their personal behaviour and their interactions with other group members

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4. Reflection on learning experiences
  1. 5

    reflect on the different adventure challenges, including consideration of how their learning might be applied in future challenges

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5. Creating adventure activity challenges
  1. 6

    develop their own adventure activity task(s) including organising them for another individual or group 

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6. Safety in adventure activities
  1. 7

    adhere to the necessary safety precautions in adventure activity challenges 

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  2. 8

    demonstrate basic emergency first aid for outdoor adventure settings

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7. Environmental features
  1. 9

    consider different environmental features when participating in adventure activities including landscape features, tide and weather variations 

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8. Undertaking an adventure activity expedition
  1. 10

    undertake a short expedition combining independent planning, navigation and adventure pursuit   

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9. Roles and responsibilities in Adventure education
  1. 11

    take responsibility for one or more roles in an adventure activity challenge 

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  2. 12

    model the individual and team behaviours which contribute to team morale and effectiveness when participating in adventure activities

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10. Benefits of adventure activity
  1. 13

    discuss the benefits of adventure activities for health and wellbeing

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Personal and social responsibility

Personal and social responsibility aims to teach life skills through the medium of physical education. Developing personal and social responsibility is a central part of the education process and this model recognises the unique contribution that physical education can make in this area. 
In physical education class, young people experience the challenges encountered in victory and defeat, success and failure, interpersonal conflict and intra-personal challenges. However, learners’ personal and social development is not necessarily an automatic outcome of these experiences. In Personal and social responsibility, the specific goals of respect, effort, self-direction, helping others, leadership and applying learning beyond the physical education class are made explicit. These goals are pursued in an incremental fashion, starting with respect and effort and they may be the focus of the physical activity being experienced in physical education.

The essential elements of Personal and social responsibility are as follows:

  • Inclusion of all learners—learners are engaged at a level appropriate to their interests, skills, and ability.
  • Listening to learner voice—learners have voices that should be heard leading to a greater sense of ownership of class activities and interactions.
  • Letting learners practise making choices—learners are provided with opportunities to make choices.
  • Allowing for reflection on choices made—learners reflect on the consequence of decisions taken, both positive and negative.
  • Learner-centred approach—learners feel valued and cared for regardless of the physical activity being taught. 

When using this model, the physical education teacher has as their primary focus the gradual empowerment of learners to take appropriate levels of personal and social responsibility, including respecting the rights and feelings of others. 

The objectives of senior cycle physical education addressed in Personal and social responsibility are to support learners in

  • demonstrating responsible social and personal behaviour in physical activity, and demonstrating respect for self and others
  • developing confidence, competence and creativity in a range of physical activities
  • undertaking different roles in physical activity
  • acting as informed participants in physical activity.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Personal and social responsibility. Learners in consultation with their teachers can select the learning outcomes that they wish to focus on in this model, with due regard to the resources available in the school.
 

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Making and keeping agreements
  1. 1

    negotiate the goals for physical education class

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  2. 2

    express their opinions and suggestions clearly and respectfully

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  3. 3

    resolve differences in a peaceful and respectful manner

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2. Effort and participation
  1. 4

    progress individual and group goals for effort and participation in the selected physical activities

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3. Self-control
  1. 5

    demonstrate the ability to take responsibility for their behaviour, commitment and progress in physical education class 

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4. Self-direction
  1. 6

    set realistic and challenging goals for achievement in physical activity

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  2. 7

    lead different classroom activities such as warm-ups, practices and small-sided games/performances

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  3. 8

    reflect on their progress, including planning next steps 

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5. Respecting the rights and feelings of others
  1. 9

    participate in physical activity in an inclusive way, being mindful of the needs and feelings of others 

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6. Leadership
  1. 10

    demonstrate qualities of effective leadership as they undertake leadership roles in the organisation of, and participation in, physical activity 

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  2. 11

    demonstrate an ability to act responsibly when unsupervised

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7. Applying what has been learnt to the wider context
  1. 12

    plan to participate in physical activity outside of physical education class

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  2. 13

    apply their learning about taking personal and social responsibility beyond physical education class

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Teaching games for understanding

Teaching games for understanding (TGfU) is a problem-based approach to the teaching of games. The main aim of this curriculum model is to develop learners’ tactical awareness and decision-making skills in a variety of games. 
In TGfU, games are classified into four main categories:

  • invasion games, such as gaelic football, soccer and hockey
  • net/wall games, such as badminton and squash
  • striking/fielding games, such as rounders and cricket
  • target games, such as golf and bowling.

In TgfU, students learn that the principles of play involved in a game are directly comparable to other games within that same category. For example, the general principles of attack and defence appropriate to gaelic football also apply in soccer and basketball. 
The essential elements of Teaching games for understanding are as follows:

  • Game play—learners participate in a game modified to focus on a particular game problem.
  • Game appreciation—learners appreciate the game form as shaped by rules, game play modifications, and number of players.
  • Tactical awareness—learners develop the awareness of tactics needed to solve game problems.
  • Making appropriate decisions—learners decide what to do, when to do it, why to do it and how to do it.
  • Skill practice—learners practise to improve on-the-ball skills and off-the-ball movements.
  • Performance—students learn to perform using tactical awareness and assess their improvement.

Games-making is an important element of teaching and learning in TGfU. Learners have an opportunity to work with their peers in the design and refinement of a new game based on their knowledge and understanding of the tactics and principles of play that are effective in the game/games category being played in class. 

The objectives of senior cycle physical education addressed in TGfU are to support learners in

  • developing confidence, competence and creativity in a range of physical activities
  • participating in physical activity both inside and beyond the school
  • undertaking different roles in physical activity.

The following table sets out the content and the learning outcomes for Teaching games for understanding. Learners in consultation with their teachers can select the learning outcomes that they wish to focus on in this model, with due regard to the resources available in the school.
 

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Game appreciation
  1. 1

    outline the elements that give form to the selected game including rules, boundaries and scoring 

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  2. 2

    critique if and how the rules contribute to making a game enjoyable and challenging

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  3. 3

    agree the ‘important rules’ that will be observed as they participate in the selected sport

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2. Tactics and principles of play in • striking and fielding games • net/wall games • invasion games (Offensive and defensive play)
  1. 4

    set up an appropriate attacking play, either themselves or as a supporting player in different attacking scenarios 

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  2. 5

    defend space on their play area when under attack in a variety of scenarios

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  3. 6

    participate effectively as part of a team, including communicating effectively 

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3. Games-making
  1. 7

    create a new game with their peers which demonstrates an understanding of the main tactics and principles of the games category being studied

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  2. 8

    refine the game through a series of practices

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  3. 9

    teach the new game to their peers, including refining it as necessary

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