Influence of Acculturation and Professional Socialization on Preservice Teachers’ Interpretation and Implementation of the Teaching Games for Understanding Model


  • Catherine E. Vollmer University of Alabama
  • Matthew D. Curtner-Smith University of Alabama



occupational socialization, preservice teachers, Teaching Games for Understanding


Research on how preservice teachers (PTs) learn to employ the teaching games for understanding (TGfU) model is in its infancy. The purpose of this study was to examine the combined effects of a package of university-based methods and the employment of the model during an early field experience (EFE) on PTs’ delivery of TGfU during the teaching internship. The theoretical framework employed was occupational socialization. Participants were 2 PTs. Data were collected with 7 qualitative techniques and analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Although the PTs understood elements of TGfU, a combination of their pedagogical struggles with and misconceptions of TGfU and their prior and concurrent socialization served to mediate and reduce the effects of their initial training. Consequently, neither PT was able to deliver the full version of TGfU during the internship. We suggest that faculty who are training PTs focus on a number of areas including recruiting teaching-oriented PTs, emphasizing the origins of the model in sport, contrasting TGfU and traditional pedagogies, debunking the idea that TGfU and foundational pedagogies are oppositional, providing a graded series of EFEs, teaching within small-sided games, and identifying tactical problems. 

Author Biographies

Catherine E. Vollmer, University of Alabama

Catherine Vollmer is physical education teacher and doctoral student in sport pedagogy at the University of Alabama.

Matthew D. Curtner-Smith, University of Alabama

Matthew Curtner-Smith is professor and Department Head of Kinesiology at the University of Alabama. He conducts research on physical education teaching, teachers, teacher educaion, and curriculum.