Social representations of physical education teachers concerning the game: a qualitative study in Chile

Keywords: game, playfulness, physical education classroom, learning


Background and Study Aim. The objective of this research was to determine the social representations of the game in physical education teachers belonging to the Chilean educational system, searching for the sense and meaning given by the educators to the game aspect. Material and Methods. The study sample consisted of 14 physical education teachers, who were chosen by the convenience sampling method. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from the participants, maintaining gender equity. The analysis of the data obtained was by means of content analysis and the NVivo 11 program was used to process the data. Results. Our research indicates that of the categories analyzed, the highest was the role of the game (22.29%), demonstrating the relevance given by teachers to the game in the development of meaningful learning. On the contrary, the category characteristics of the game (17.42%), describe how teachers visualize the contributions of play at the educational level, in this sense, the role of the game goes beyond motor contributions, but also provides tools for social and cognitive development. Conclusions. For the teachers, the game promotes autonomous and proactive actions of the students, which will be beneficial to understand that playfulness in education implies not to put in contradiction the rational and emotional faculties. This comprehensive view is called full attitude, and it is a relevant step toward the understanding of the game from a complex perspective. In this area, it is evident that, in the social representations of the participating teachers, the game constitutes a natural environment in which children develop, where the physical education teacher should create an environment that facilitates the game, facilitating the expression of autonomy, freedom, creativity, and playfulness.


Download data is not yet available.

View Counter: Abstract | 18 | times, Article PDF |

Author Biographies

Alejandro Almonacid-Fierro, Universidad Católica del Maule; Faculty of Education, Universidad Católica del Maule; Talca, Chile.
Jessica Mondaca Urrutia, Universidad Católica del Maule; Faculty of Education, Universidad Católica del Maule; Talca, Chile.
Sergio Sepúlveda-Vallejos, Universidad Católica del Maule; Doctorate in Education, Universidad Católica del Maule; Talca, Chile.
Karla Valdebenito, Universidad Católica del Maule; Doctorate in Education, Universidad Católica del Maule; Talca, Chile.


1. Aras S. Free play in early childhood education: a phenomenological study. Early Child Development and Care, 2016;186(7):1173–84.

2. Athey I. Contributions of Play to Development. In: Yawkey TD, Pellegrini AD, editors. Children’s Play. 1st ed., Routledge; 2018. P. 8–28.

3. Bateson P, Martin P. Play, Playfulness, Creativity and Innovation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2013.

4. Kafai YB, Burke Q. Constructionist Gaming: Understanding the Benefits of Making Games for Learning. Educational Psychologist, 2015;50(4):313–34.

5. Balan V, Shaao M. Study on Improving the Specific Content of Teaching Physical Education Classes through Movement Games in Primary School. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2014;117:173–8.

6. Hoffmann JD, Russ SW. Fostering pretend play skills and creativity in elementary school girls: A group play intervention. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2016;10(1):114–25.

7. Hortigüela Alcalá D, Hernando Garijo A. Teaching Games for Understanding: A Comprehensive Approach to Promote Student's Motivation in Physical Education. J Hum Kinet. 2017;59:17–27.

8. de Freitas S. Are Games Effective Learning Tools? A Review of Educational Games. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 2018;21(2):74–84.

9. Jiang J, Vauras M, Volet S, Wang Y. Teachers' emotions and emotion regulation strategies: Self- and students' perceptions. Teaching and Teacher Education, 2016;54:22–31.

10. Tyng CM, Amin HU, Saad MNM, Malik AS. The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory. Frontiers in Psychology, 2017;8(1454).

11. Cohen D. The Development of Play. 4th ed. 4th Edition. | New York : Routledge, 2019. | Revised Edition of the Author’s The Development of Play, 2006.: Routledge; 2018.

12. Miller A. Games Centered Approaches in Teaching Children & Adolescents: Systematic Review of Associated Student Outcomes. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 2015;34(1):36–58.

13. Romero M, Usart M, Ott M. Can Serious Games Contribute to Developing and Sustaining 21st Century Skills? Games and Culture, 2015;10(2):148–77.

14. Alexander PA, Greene JA. Self-regulation in education: Routledge; 2017.

15. Chen L-X, Sun C-T. Self-regulation influence on game play flow state. Computers in Human Behavior, 2016;54:341–50.

16. DiBenedetto MK. Self-regulation in Secondary Classrooms: Theoretical and Research Applications to Learning and Performance. In: DiBenedetto MK, editor. Connecting Self-regulated Learning and Performance with Instruction Across High School Content Areas, Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2018, p. 3–23.

17. Colliver Y, Veraksa N. The aim of the game: A pedagogical tool to support young children's learning through play. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 2019;21:296–310.

18. Yasemin A, John J. Teachers' Experience and Reflections on Game-Based Learning in the Primary Classroom: Views from England and Italy. International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), 2015;5(1):1–17.

19. Marsh K. Creating bridges: music, play and well-being in the lives of refugee and immigrant children and young people. Music Education Research, 2017;19(1):60–73.

20. Uzun de Freitas MLdL. A evolução do jogo simbólico na criança [The evolution of symbolic play in children]. Ciências & Cognição. 2010;15:145–63. (In Portuguese).

21. Abou-Gebran R, Trevizan Z. Social representations in the construction of professional identity and teachers' activity. Acta Sci Educ, 2018;40:34534.

22. Chaib M, Loureiro L. Social representations, subjectivity and learning. Cadernos de Pesquisa. 2015;45:358–72.

23. Martikainen J. Social representations of teachership based on students’ and teachers’ drawings of a typical teacher. Social Psychology of Education, 2019;22(3):579–606.

24. Lahlou S. Social representations and social construction: the evolutionary perspective of installation theory. In: Sammut G, Andreouli E, Gaskell G, Valsiner J, editors. The Cambridge Handbook of Social Representations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2015. P. 193–209.

25. Lo Monaco G, Piermattéo A, Rateau P, Tavani JL. Methods for Studying the Structure of Social Representations: A Critical Review and Agenda for Future Research. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 2017;47(3):306–31.

26. Sinha C, Mishra AK. The Social Representations of Academic Achievement and Failure. Psychological Studies, 2015;60(2):160–9.

27. Abric J-C. A structural approach to social representations. Representations of the social: Bridging theoretical traditions. Malden: Blackwell Publishing; 2001.

28. Marková I. The making of the theory of social representations. Cadernos de Pesquisa, 2017;47(163):358–75.

29. Tolstykh N, Ter-Avanesova N, Chernyak N. Social Representations About School and Learning in Different Groups of Participants of the Educational Process. Psychological Science and Education, 2019;24(6):5–15.

30. Wachelke J. Social Representations: A Review of Theory and Research from the Structural Approach. Universitas Psychologica, 2012;11:729–41.

31. Abad Robles MT, Collado-Mateo D, Fernández-Espínola C, Castillo Viera E, Giménez Fuentes-Guerra FJ. Effects of Teaching Games on Decision Making and Skill Execution: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020;17:505.

32. Allsop Y, Jessel J. Teachers’ Experience and Reflections on Game-Based Learning in the Primary Classroom: Views from England and Italy. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 2015;5:1–17.

33. Barba-Martín RA, Bores-García D, Hortigüela-Alcalá D, González-Calvo G. The Application of the Teaching Games for Understanding in Physical Education. Systematic Review of the Last Six Years. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020;17(9): 3330.

34. Chatzipanteli A, Digelidis N, Karatzoglidis C, Dean R. A tactical-game approach and enhancement of metacognitive behaviour in elementary school students. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 2016;21(2):169–84.

35. Kirk D. Teaching Games in Physical Education: Towards a pedagogical model. Revista Portuguesa de Ciências do Desporto, 2017;2017:17–26.

36. Yılmaz M, Karakaya YE, Savucu Y. The state of preparedness of prospective physical education and sports teachers. Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports, 2020;24(6):323–30.

37. Lodewyk KR. Relations Between Epistemic Beliefs and Instructional Approaches to Teaching Games in Prospective Physical Educators. Physical Educator 2015;72(4):677–700.

38. Mandigo J, Lodewyk K, Tredway J. Examining the Impact of a Teaching Games for Understanding Approach on the Development of Physical Literacy Using the Passport for Life Assessment Tool. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 2019;38(2):136–45.

39. Moy B, Renshaw I, Davids K. Variations in acculturation and Australian physical education teacher education students' receptiveness to an alternative pedagogical approach to games teaching. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 2014;19(4):349–69.

40. Varea V. Exploring play in school recess and physical education classes. European Physical Education Review, 2018;24(2):194–208.

41. Hassinger-Das B, Toub TS, Zosh JM, Michnick J, Golinkoff R, Hirsh-Pasek K. More than just fun: a place for games in playful learning. Journal for the Study of Education and Development, 2017;40(2):191–218.

42. Given L. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks California 91320 United States: SAGE Publications, Inc.; 2008.

43. Kvale S, Brinkmann S. Interviews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. Sage; 2009.

44. Graneheim UH, Lindgren B-M, Lundman B. Methodological challenges in qualitative content analysis: A discussion paper. Nurse Education Today, 2017;56:29–34.

45. Miles MB, Huberman AM, Saldana J. Qualitative data analysis. A methods sourcebook; 2014.

46. Harvey S, Light RL. Questioning for learning in game-based approaches to teaching and coaching. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 2015;6(2):175–90.

47. Kim I, Ward P, Sinelnikov O, Ko B, Iserbyt P, Li W, et al. The Influence of Content Knowledge on Pedagogical Content Knowledge: An Evidence-Based Practice for Physical Education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 2018;37:133–43.

48. Ucus S. Elementary School Teachers’ Views on Game-based Learning as a Teaching Method. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2015;186:401–9.

49. Yuksel HS. Experiences of Prospective Physical Education Teachers on Active Gaming within the Context of School-Based Physical Activity. European Journal of Educational Research, 2019;8(1):199–211.

50. Chiva-Bartoll Ó, Salvador-García C, Ruiz-Montero PJ. Teaching games for understanding and cooperative learning: can their hybridization increase the motivational climate of physical education students? Croatian Journal of Education, 2018;20:561–84.

51. Gil-Arias A, Harvey S, García-Herreros F, González-Víllora S, Práxedes A, Moreno A. Effect of a hybrid teaching games for understanding/sport education unit on elementary students’ self-determined motivation in physical education. European Physical Education Review, 2021;27(2):366–83.

52. Pesce C, Masci I, Marchetti R, Vazou S, Sääkslahti A, Tomporowski PD. Deliberate Play and Preparation Jointly Benefit Motor and Cognitive Development: Mediated and Moderated Effects. Frontiers in Psychology, 2016;7(349).

53. Hesterman S, Targowska A, Saratsis M, Kaiko J. Everyone benefits when children play. Australia: Early Childhood Australia; 2020.
How to Cite
Almonacid-Fierro A, Mondaca Urrutia J, Sepúlveda-Vallejos S, Valdebenito K. Social representations of physical education teachers concerning the game: a qualitative study in Chile. Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports. 2021;25(6):373-81.