7 Highly Important Safety Considerations When Teaching PE

Regardless of where you work, or what industry you work in, you will generally find a well-documented Health & Safety procedure that has been established to not only meet legislation requirements but actually do something useful and protect teachers AND their students from injury.

Unlike Classroom based classes where the hazards are relatively small in number, those teachers who specialize in the Physical Education (PE) have an ever present safety risk, before, during AND after the actual class.

Here are 7 considerations that can help PE Teachers and their classes be safe

Equipment Storage

Your typical P.E. class usually starts out with the setting up of the equipment.  This right here represents an ever present risk to the safety of your students.

The Storage of PE Equipment should not be taken for granted. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that no injuries occur at this stage:

  1. Heavier Items stored at Low Levels
  • Reduces the risk of being struck on the head if something falls from above

 

  1. Ensure Walkways are clear
    • With eyes usually on the equipment you are after, it can be easy to ignore ground hazards. But one false step could see a student trip and injure themselves and others.  You’d hate for them to bump something that causes items to crash down on them
  1. Overcrowding
    • There’s no need to send the whole class in to fetch equipment. The more bodies in the crowded space, the more confusion that can occur.  Students can easily get distracted in a group.  Have only enough students fetch the equipment that is needed for the lesson

The same applies to the end of the class when items are being returned to where they were taken

Faulty Equipment

Things don’t last forever!  Sports Equipment can deteriorate over time under normal conditions, but are also susceptible to problems at any time due to overuse or being misused in previous lessons.   Equipment should be regularly checked for faults so that they can be identified BEFORE an incident occurs. That loose backboard can come crashing down. When you identify it. Fix it. It ‘won’t be right’

First Aid

Is your First Aid Kit up to date? Do you even know where it is?.   It’s important that regular stock take of the First Aid Box is undertaken.  If you need to use items from it, then document it, and arrange for replacements soon after.   Make sure you are aware of the required protocol for contacting emergency services and administering First Aid

Proper Clothing

It’s long been advised to remove all loose jewellery and belts before the class starts as they can actually lead to injury.   Additionally, if the particular sport you are instructing that day requires any specific safety gear, ensure they are used

Examples include

  • Shin guards if playing Soccer or Field Hockey
  • Rubber soled shoes to avoid slippages and ankle injuries

 

Stretching & Warmups

It’s easy to injure cold muscles.  That is why professional athletes do a thorough warm up before competing, and why competitors at ALL levels perform simple stretching exercises before working out.  Your class should be no different.  Start off with a few stretches and some light physical activity before you kick your lesson into full gear. Be sure to allow time at the end of the lesson to properly ‘cool down’ and stretch again.

Proper Technique

The Best athletes don’t suffer from poor technique. Sure, if you position your body a certain way, or bend your knees a bit, you will generally perform better. Using this teaching angle should help you gain ‘buy-in’ from your students in wanting to learn the proper technique.

The big bonus here is that if you teach proper technique, and it’s followed, then you are already going a long way to ensuring your class don’t suffer any injuries. Most injuries during PE are caused by improper technique, or ‘showboating’.  Stick to the basics and the fundamentals of the game for maximum safety.

Be Alert!

Supervise your students and your activities.  It is important to be actively vigilant with your class.

  • If you see showboating, pull it up.
  • If you see your students struggling with poor technique, address it and re demonstrate the correct one.
  • Think a piece of equipment may be defective. Stop its use, put it aside and examine it after the class. Do NOT put it back with the other equipment
  • Look for injuries. Some students want to keep playing despite developing an injury, where others may be too embarrassed to say something. Minor injuries can worsen if not treated.

 

Health and Safety can come in other forms than just those listed.  Nothing is more important than the Health and Safety of your students and it is your responsibility as teachers to ensure that they remain healthy and stay safe.  Most can be avoided with simple common-sense, but it never hurts to review the Health and Safety scorecard of your PE Classes.  Government regulations concerning Health & Safety can change from time to time. Be sure you are aware of any new requirements and you’ll have done your part to ensure your classes are SAFE.

How To Make Your PE Lessons All-Inclusive

Every class is different because every student is different.  So is your planned lesson going to bring the same results from everyone? Frankly, No it isn’t.   But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make adjustments to it to try your very best to include every student so that they all feel a part of it.

Below are some points and tips to make your lesson relevant to all students.   To help illustrate how this would work we will use Track and Field Athletics as our example sport

 

  1. All Creatures Great and Small

Take a look around your class and what do you see?  All different shapes, sizes, heights and weights.  On top of that they will all have different levels of co-ordination and athletic ability.   That really should come as no surprise.  Have a look at professional Football, Basketball, and Athletics teams and you will see a vast disparity in the very same shapes, sizes, heights and weights.    View your class the same way and together they will work as a TEAM

  1. Know your Learner

If you don’t know what they are good at, just ask!  It’s not magic.   Asking them doesn’t have to be a yes/no question.

For example, line up a wide range of sporting equipment and turn it into a game.  Ask them to line up behind the one that think they would perform the best at

  • Straight away you’ve got something to work with here. If “The big Kid” lines up behind the shot put or the discus, then he’s just told you that he’s not a great runner. Teach him the proper technique and let him shine. Confidence will build and then he won’t be afraid to try other activities because he has found one that he’s good at

Ask them to line up behind a different item.  Voila! You’ve now got their secondary skill you can work on with them.

The beauty of this method is that even the most confident students will realise that there are other people better than them at other activities.  This significant reduces the chance of bullying.

So whilst ‘The Big Kid’ can’t run as fast as the ‘Skinny Kid” chances he’s got him covered in other areas.

Nothing is more humbling, yet more enlightening than realising that you have weaknesses. (and so does everbody else)

 

  1. What Motivates?

Here’s a Question.  Which is better?

  1. Winning a race in a slow time
  2. Finishing 4th, but running your best time

 

The Answer is not yours to give.

The Answer lies in how students get motivation.. Some are motivated by learning new skills.  Others are motivated by beating others, whilst some are motivated by beating themselves.  Knowing what motivates your students will help you teach them in a way they want to learn.

 

  1. Learning Styles

Now that you know what skills your students have, and what motivates them, you are now able to teach them in a way they NEED to learn.

Whilst a mix of all the below is needed, I have categorised the suitability based on the predominance of the particular style

Here are the c

  • One on One Coaching, every step of the way.

 

Suitable For

 

  • Everyone, though some may want you to coach them and give feedback at each point. Others want you to coach them, and then be left on their own to practice what you coached them
  • Group Learning

Suitable For:

  • Equally Skilled Groups
  • Those Motivated by Winning and Competition

Unsuitable For:

  • Students not confident in themselves

 

  • Leave them to it

Suitable For:

  • Goal Driven students motivated by improving and beating themselves
  • Actively Keen students

Unsuitable For:

  • Students motivated by winning. They want to compete and they want to be seen winning. A group of these individuals could end in problems if you are not there to mediate.

 

  1. “Buddy” System

One way students feel ostracised and not included in a group is because they are embarrassed by their perceived lack of ability in their skill, and the fear of embarrassing themselves or being teased as a result.  Those students who are more athletically proficient, like to be acknowledged for that.   Pairing them up with a student not as confident in their abilities can be great for the development of both individuals.  The confident child can help teach and nurture and the non-confident student learns not to feel intimidated.

  1. Goal Setting

As you get further into the semester, recap everything you’ve learned.  The key to this starts early on where you work together to document performance.  How Fast / How Far / How High / How Many etc.  Measure yourself against that in 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months etc.

The secret to this is that it’s almost impossible for a student’s performance to go BACKWARDS from their first time / measurement.  Therefore you are almost GUARANTEED improvements with EVERY STUDENT at each increment.

Nothing makes a student FEEL more included than seeing improvements in themselves as well has having others notice those same improvements.   Perhaps, that’s the key to it all.

7 Core Teaching Strategies for Physical Education

Any person who has had to teach a child under the 18 anything, will tell you that the challenges they present come in many forms and many degrees.

Teachers therefore need an array of different strategies at their disposal that will help them get through to students.

Teaching Physical Education obviously carries a different dynamic to teaching solely in the classroom.  However both require the application of such strategies.  Here we will look at the core teaching strategies and how they can be applied

#1 – Direct Teaching “Follow my Lead”

Objective: Demonstrating how a drill is performed and having them follow your steps helps the students visualise what is you are requiring them to do.

The advantage of this strategy is that it is time efficient and is a good strategy for the introduction of new skills.   The Teacher’s role is to pre-plan the routine or drill and demonstrate it effectively to the class.  The students need only to replicate your actions to learn the exercise.

The disadvantage of this is that it can be difficult to deliver individual feedback to each student

#2 Teacher Feedback “Roaming Review”

Objective: The class carry out the assigned tasks following clear instruction given prior

The advantage of this strategy is that the teacher is free to roam from group to group and individual to individual to provide feedback and correct or re-teach the skill they are having trouble with.

The disadvantage of this is that time may not allow you to provide individual feedback to each student.  While you are demonstrating something to one individual, another student having problems may risk going unnoticed

#3 Peer Feedback “Collective Correction”

Objective: Students are placed in small teams and given a task that they must perform, usually competing against other teams.

The advantage of this strategy is that the team provide feedback to each other and work collectively to carry out the required task, correcting each other at each wrong move. It encourages competition and fosters teamwork

The disadvantage of this is the feedback that students give to each other may not be positive and lesser skilled students may feel intimidated and bullying can occur

#4 Self Feedback “Retrace Your Steps”

Objective: Students look at their outcome and assess if it was done correctly, or could have been done better.  This is perfect for sporting drills where correct form, set moves, or plays need to be performed and the use of Videos, GoPro’s or suitable Iphone Apps are available.

The advantage of this strategy is that students can see for themselves the point where things went wrong. Whether the feedback was provided by themselves, their peers, or yourself, it is sure to be precise and correct.  Think of a football coach setting up plays or set moves for their team and it not being executed correctly, here you can playback footage and review what exactly happened.

The disadvantage of this is that it may not be practical or realistic to have a recording of the activity to refer to.  Self-Feedback can still work in this instance if you ‘revise your steps’ and walk through with the student exactly what they did

 

#5 Convergent Discovery “Here’s a problem, Go Solve it”

Objective: Students are given a set of items, or scenario, and told what the end result needs to look like.  The students are placed in teams where they need to collectively work together to discover how to get the job done.

The advantage of this strategy is that students learn teamwork and social skills. So the Problem that needs solving does not directly need to be related to PE because the outcome and the steps leading up to it are essential ingredients in any team sport, and class cohesion.   The same reason why Corporate Executives at Team Building Days perform very similar problems.  It’s ALL about working as part of a team

The disadvantage of this is that students need to be motivated to complete the task.  As the teacher you need to plan who you will ‘randomly’ grouped together to achieve the desired result

 

#6 Jigsaw Learning “Let’s Teach Each other”

Objective: Using a Drill that involves multiple tasks. Teach one task to each group, and then pair each group up to teach each other their learnt skills.  As an example we can use Volleyball.  You can start off with 4 groups.  Teach one group how to serve, one group how to set, one group how to dig and one group how to spike.   Then have each group teach a different group their new skill, so that they all get taught each component.

The advantage of this strategy is that once you teach the task to the individual groups, you are then free to roam around among them and use the Teacher Feedback strategy to assist them.

The disadvantage of this is that students need to be motivated to complete the task.  Lower skilled students may not be able to acquire the skill as quick as their team mates, leading to possible problems.

 

#7 Team Games Tournament “World Cup”

Objective: Flowing on from Jigsaw learning (or any other strategy that had success), the 4 teams now compete against each other to win the tournament. Play can either be straight knockout, or Round Robin

The Advantage of this strategy is that it applies all the other strategies together as it relies on Self-assessment, Peer Assessment, Problem Solving and improvement. Most students love competing against each other and this offers a fun way to cement their new skills

The Disadvantage is that some students may start to dominate play and lower skilled players may only play bit parts. Think of the “Pass it to me kid” who is always unmarked, but never gets the ball because his skill level is not great.

 

 

3 Proven Strategies for Dealing With Difficult Students

For both inexperienced teachers, and those with many years under their belt, there is NO greater challenge than dealing with a difficult student. Even worse when that same student is influential among his peers and previously well behaved students start testing the boundaries.

Rather than run away, you need to learn how to deal with the situation.  Though is ‘dealing’ with the situation an effect strategy?  Short term probably yes, but long term, you may be missing out on an opportunity to make a real difference in that student’s live, and a chance to get a satisfaction high

So here are THREE Strategies that can be applied by P.E. teachers in ‘dealing’ with a difficult student

  1. USE the Stereotype

The Stereotype of a difficult student usually surrounds poor academic results. Either the student’s socio-economic upbringing has been the mitigating factor or they have never been skilled academically.   But Guess what?  This is Physical Education, and the Stereotype also says that these students are physically gifted.  This is THEIR chance to show what they can do.   As a PE Teacher you have a unique chance here to bond with this student in an area where their true aptitude lies.

  • Make an effort to get to know them, even if they aren’t initially receptive
  • Don’t give up on them early or label them ‘difficult’. They’ve likely faced this all through their schooling which is probably why they are ‘difficult’. DON’T BE THAT TEACHER
  • Share a story with the class that is not aimed at the student. Any story where an underachieving student was able to excel and grow through Sport.  The whole Level Playing field analogy “We’re not in the class room here”
  • Frustration Fuels – Some of the greatest advances in human civilisation have been borne out of frustration. Try to harness that frustration in the student and make it positive.

 

  1. Stay Cool, Calm and Collected

As a Teacher you should never be prone to emotional outbursts.  Facing a student who is being emotional or being difficult you need to remember that it is rarely personal, just circumstantial.

Whatever form the difficulty of the student presents itself, you need to remain calm and unflustered, and never react emotionally, loudly, or aggressively.    Perhaps the worst thing you can do in this circumstance is challenge them in the class or try to discipline them in front of people.  It won’t win you points and it won’t calm the situation.

In fact, the way you handle this situation CAN set you apart from everyone else in that child’s life who has either yelled at them, walked away from them, or called them useless.  You may just surprise the child with your calmness and this could be your FIRST and ONLY opportunity to turn the student around.

Unlike other teachers who are confined to a classroom, you have the option of setting tasks for the other students to perform in open spaces and create some quiet one on one time with the difficult student.  Talk honestly, openly and avoid patronising comments either intended or not.

Don’t expect big changes straight away. Being a good role model takes time and so does breaking down someone’s barriers.  You need to earn both their trust and their respect before you can make a difference. Don’t be drawn into conversations with other students about that student, and especially be sure to stay away from any negative comments.   If you do hear other well behaved students talking negatively about the difficult student, nip it in the bud and move the subject along.

 

  1. Find out ONE thing about them

This can be a real good strategy to adopt.   Firstly, you may be able to use what you learn and include that in your class.   You may see the student down at the park one day, alone, practising his ball juggling skills with the soccer ball

You can approach the student calmly and start up a conversation about soccer. Questions about how he learnt the skills and if he plays the game at all.  Don’t overstay your welcome, but even that brief encounter will help your relationship during class.  Note: This should only be done where you are 100% sure that there is no risk physically to yourself.

You may also want to adapt your PE schedule to try and work that activity into your lessons.  You know he is good at that and if you can just get even a little bit of buy-in from him the perception that other students hold of him can change once they see his skills.   If you can just get that initial buy-in, improvements will happen and will continue while-ever you have the respect and trust of that student.

 

There is no shortage of strategies out there to help you deal with difficult students and this can largely be attributed by the fact that all individuals are different, and there is no magic answer.  If the 3 strategies above don’t work for you, then move on and find one that does.  You might try 50 before you find one that works.   The key is to never stop trying to find one.  The moment you give up on the student, the student gives up on you

5 Online Resources for Teaching PE Abroad

So you’ve finished your Teaching Degree, but having a burning desire to travel before you settle down into your career path. Or perhaps you’ve got a couple of years’ experience, but still have that same desire to see the world and improve your current skills?    Then Why not do both?

There are a host of online services that can assist you find work overseas teaching P.E. and see the world in your spare time.   It’s called a working holiday and something that people have been doing for many years.   But if you’re not sure where to start then check out these resources

  1. teachanywhere.com

Running for 10 years now, it was established specifically assist Teachers find work overseas and help them with the cultural transition of building a life abroad.  Now 10 years on, their drive continue on the same path and continues to find opportunities for teachers through their ever growing network of schools and countries.

The website is simple in design and has a clear breakdown and menus for both Job Seekers and for Employer’s.  You can submit your resume as well as browse current job openings. They do run events in major cities, and you can find details of these on their homepage.

At the time of writing they have an open PE Position in Dubai, with a tax free salary package of £28,000 including Accommodation, Flights, Medical Insurance & Gratuity

  1. http://www.teachingabroaddirect.co.uk/teaching-jobs/Physical-Education/

This website is a bit more basic than the one above.  They operate out of London and the website shows a live ticker of job openings across 21 international locations.  You are able to sign up for job alerts based on your wanted criteria and be among the first to know when a suitable job comes up.

The website has menus for both Job Seekers and Employers looking to hire. They do have a brief, but informative Resources menu that will give you some valuable hints in helping you make your decision and get hired.

At the time of writing they have 4 positions listed for PE Teaches, 2 in Dubai and 2 in Qatar

  1. goabroad.com

Goabroad claim to be ‘the leading international education and experiential travel resource’

Looking over their website it would be hard to argue against this.  They offer you the options to either study, volunteer, intern or teach abroad.

Under each menu they list the program types available, as well as the top countries and top cities

Looking through their teaching jobs It looks more geared towards English teachers, but their vast network of schools may open up doors for you as a PE Teacher. They are well worth contacting

  1. teachaway.com

Teachaway was set up, and still based in Toronto, Canada.  They do have offices however in Vancouver, London, Edinburgh, New York and Brisbane

Teachaway claims to have become one of the largest and most diverse teaching recruitment agencies. Unlike Goabroad, their positions seem much more geared towards true teaching across a range of syllabus.

Each year they place hundreds of teachers across the world mainly in the Middle East, and both East and South East Asia. They do however operate in all corners of the globe.

They have a network of clients ranging from primary to secondary schools, both private and public. International schools, private businesses, Adult Learning Centres, and interestingly enough, Summer Camps.

At the time of writing they had 213 open jobs listing and I was able to browse and locate a good amount of PE jobs in Egypt, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait among others.

  1. ccusa.com

Unlike the other websites I’ve listed that offer more formal and longer term contracts. Camp Counselors USA offers qualified PE Teachers wanting to travel, have fun, get paid, and gain skills over the American Summer months of June/July/August.

Summer Camps come in many different forms but almost all have a sports and PE program.   Camp Directors often seek out staff from other English Speaking Countries to be Counsellors to offer variety to their campers as well as foster international relationships.

Generally you will be offered an 11 week contract at a summer camp, of which 10 weeks will involve teaching campers various sports and Physical Activities in both a fun and educational way.

Having personally worked as an All-Sports Counsellor at a camp in Pennsylvania I can personally recommend you think about spending a few months at camp.  It can either be your sole activity overseas or you can use it as a stepping stone to further travel or a contracted P.E. teaching contract at a formal school, many of which commence in the month of August as Camp finishes

Conclusion

The list above is by no means your only options, but they give you a good starting point.  The more you look at the more chance you have of landing that job dream PE job overseas.  All companies work with different schools and opportunities not Available with some websites may be available, so do yourself a favour, and check them ALL out.

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