TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Why different strategies for different curriculum areas?

 

"Strategies are a primary concerned with how subject matter is presented." (Dowell, 1975, p. 47). Learning teaching strategies for different curriculum areas is a key component to a developing teachers education. Teaching strategies play a key role in educating students, without strategies or a range of strategies children are left to educate themselves. A good definition of a strategy in a physical education sense can be taken from Dowell (1975) where a teaching strategy is an "overall design or procedure a teacher uses to transmit subject matter to students, it may include one or more techniques and methods of teaching in the process." (p.56) Better still a definition from Siedentop (1983) of teaching as whole explains how vital strategies are to teaching. "The basic task of teaching is to find ways to help students learn and grow; to design educational experiences through which students will grow in skill, understanding and attitude." (p. 5). Siedentop then places learning a variety of strategies as stage two in Stages of Skill Development in Teaching (p. 13), it only comes after the initial discomfort stage.

Teaching strategies is a very broad topic, to teach anything there has to be a strategy. This page focuses specifically at the strategies used in different subject areas and how they vary. The subject area that is looked at specifically in this page is physical education. Physical education is a unique subject because of its physical component, this uniqueness has a profound effect on the teaching strategies used.

Physical education like all other curriculum areas has to teach children using a variety of mediums, by this I mean a child has to be given the option of visual, aural and hands on experience when learning anything. The other common feature of strategies with other subjects is their role in stimulating and motivating students to learn.

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How children learn motor skills, an essential part of physical education.

 

Before we can look at strategies specific to physical education we need to consider the way in which children learn physical education and motor skills. Motor skills are the skills associated with actions the body performs, for example writing is a motor skill. Physical education focuses on motor skills that are based around sports, leisure and physical development. Motor skills are an essential part of the physical education curriculum because all practical is based on fine and gross motor skills.

There are a number of motor learning theories on the make-up of children and how they should be educated in motor skills and therefore physical education.

 

The Motor Program Theory

 

The Motor Shemas Theory

 

The Development Model Theory

 

The Dynamic Systems Model

 

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Teaching strategies associated with physical education.

 

Some strategies that are associated with physical education are: lecture, discussion, lecture-demonstration, practice, inquiry, progressive-part, part-whole and whole-part-whole (Dowell, 1975). Most of these strategies can be used in any subject but I will be focussing on how they can be used in a physical education sense.

 

The Lecture Strategy

This strategy is mainly used when teaching the theory of physical education. The lecture strategy is useful when introducing a new unit of work, it can introduce the rules and cover basic skill and techniques. When using the lecture strategy teachers need to be well organized and be enthusiastic in their delivery to keep students motivated. This strategy is limited in its usefulness due to the inability to provide feedback, a vital aspect of physical education, and the lack of opportunity to assess students. The lecture strategy is usually combined with other strategies.

Other Strategies

The Discussion Strategy

The discussion strategy should be used as an immediate follow up to the lecture. Students are given the chance to ask questions and put forward their ideas related to the topic. To do this the strategy is most useful in small groups so each student gets a chance to voice their opinions. Discussions can be lead by the teacher with open ended questions. Another responsibility of the teachers when using this strategy is to make sure there is an environment where students feel comfortable to make opinions and where they are not going to be put down. A discussion can be very useful for students learning from each other, all students will bring different abilities and techniques to the physical education classroom, a discussion will help them evaluate their skills and make alterations. The discussion is most useful at the start of a unit where they need to be evaluating themselves in their learning process.

Other Strategies

The Lecture-Demonstration Strategy

Another strategy that is closely related to the lecture strategy is the lecture-demonstration strategy. This strategy uses all the techniques of the lecture strategy and incorporates a physical demonstration. The demonstration can be taken by a teacher, student or a group of students. The important issue with choosing students to take demonstrations is that they are doing the activity correctly and providing a good example for other students to base their learning on. Therefore teachers should choose carefully when getting students to demonstrate a skill. This strategy is one of the most popular for teaching physical education. This is due to a number of factors: students are offered two ways of understanding the skill being taught, visually and aurally; students can make links with the theory by seeing what is being taught; and it gives the students that are demonstrating a unique experience.

 Other Strategies

The Practice Strategy

A strategy that is commonly used in physical education is the practice strategy. This strategy utilizes the useful tool of feedback to improve development in students learning. The practice strategy is where students get to physically do the skill put to them in the lecture or theory. Students can get feedback in this strategy from other students or the teacher observing them in practice. Practice is where students can refine their techniques and move to another plateau of the performance curve.

Other Strategies

The Inquiry Strategy

The next strategy looked at is the inquiry strategy. This strategy gives students the chance to become involved in the teaching of the learning process. It tries to promote reflective thinking and self refinement. It is very similar to the inquiry strategy in literacy, where reflection enables students to critically evaluate what they are doing.

Other Strategies

The Progressive-Part Strategy

The progressive-part strategy is a strategy that is used with mainly younger students. This strategy teachers students through a sequence, from the very basics to a complex level. The progression is quite slow due to the slight refinements and the need for complete understanding before moving onto the next stage.

Other Strategies

The Part-Whole Strategy

This strategy is similar to the progressive-part except there isn't as major emphasis on each stage and two or more stages can be combined to one stage. In this strategy students learn the individual parts of a skill or game before attempting to do the whole skill or play a complete game. The part-whole strategy is used when the skill is complex and there are many aspect that must be mastered in order to perform the skill at a competent level. The main consideration with this strategy is the level of the students ability to take in what is being taught. Generally if there are more than three key components in a skill the part-whole strategy will be used.

Other Strategies

The Whole-Part-Whole Strategy

The whole-part-whole strategy is a strategy that is greatly used by teachers of physical education. As the name of the strategy implies, students do a skill as a whole, they then learn the basics in parts and then do skill as a whole again. This strategy is very effective because after the initial experience of doing the skill as a whole. A useful aspect of this strategy is the teacher gets a good idea of the skill level of the students when they do the skill as a whole initially, from this observation the teacher can base their level of instruction for the part aspect of the strategy. The other associated benefit is students can develop more rapidly if their skill levels are advanced, the teacher will avoid going through the basics as they would in the part-whole method.

Other Strategies

 

Putting strategies into practice.

Examples of lesson plans using the part-whole and whole-part-whole will demonstrate the difference between the two strategies and give ideas of how these strategies can be used in the classroom.

A lesson teaching the motor skill of throwing provides a good example of the strategies being put into practice.

 

The Part-Whole Strategy

 

The Whole-Part-Whole Strategy

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