Game-based approaches (GBAs) are popularised because of the emphasis on teaching games for understanding. GBAs bring a focus to the explicit teaching of game understanding and, thus, meaningful game participation. However, GBAs focus on understanding as the technical-tactical nexus does not necessarily assist learners to make the meaning of movement in the context of their personal story, which is an affective state that inspires people to see the movement as desirable, and as a freely chosen contribution to their daily life. Addressing the affective domain of learning, Len Almond suggested a pedagogy of engagement using the notion of “game sense” that would both enhance players understanding of games and their ability to appreciate their own potential to be excited and be challenged. In this presentation, I will explore GBAs and meaningful engagement as the focus on players’ knowledge development of the principles of play from which movement responses are derived and extend meaningful engagement to meaning-making of the individual who operationalises what is learned in the context of their preferred life (i.e., the understanding is “usable”). The assumption is that skills and knowledge are only meaningful to the lived reality of an individual if connected to how the person understands and feels about self in a way that actually makes a difference to their lived reality. I will suggest the games learner is a “novelist” creating a story of skill (both tactical and technical) learning creatively written and continuously edited through their interaction with movement experiences and ask participants to consider then the meaning-making (story) constructed by students in their PE. I will propose and show thematic-concept based PE curricula as an assemblage for meaningful PE.
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