One single quality that I believe all good PE teachers and sports coaches have is to be able to motivate their students / athletes. One of the greatest challenges we all face when working with as class of 25 students or a team of 30 athletes is how do we motivate them to try their best? All personalities are different and we are all motivated by many different factors. Teachers who are able to tap into the personalities of each student and motivate them accordingly will get the most out of their lessons and will experience the most engagement from their students.
My advice when planning a lesson is to try and incorporate all of the five key motivators into each lesson. This way you should be able to cater for the many different learning styles and motivators for the individuals in your class.
Fun – Still the most important part of a PE lesson. Students need to enjoy Phys Ed. This way they will hopefully develop a life-long love of physical activity. Providing variety from lesson to lesson is important to prevent boredom.
Challenge – All students need to be challenged in any learning situation. Providing different challenges or expectations for the various abilities in your class is important to embed in a PE lesson.
Relationship – I have a firm belief in the benefits of cooperative learning and believe that students can learn a great deal when working with others. There are so many children that choose to participate in sport because of the time that they get to spend with their friends. This is an important factor that is often forgotten in sport.
Competition – Some students are driven by a will to win. I was one of these students. Ask me to do an activity and I will do it. Give me a chance to score points and I will go as hard as I can. Building elements of competition to PE lessons will motivate these students but you also need to be careful not to turn off those that aren’t motivated by competition. I use elements of competition in my classes, but I don’t place a huge emphasis on winning. Students will often be encouraged to beat their previous score or time rather than each other. Students feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction when they achieve their personal best result.
Recognition – It is important that children are acknowledged for their efforts and achievements. I use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage students. I believe in the use of intrinsic rewards rather than extrinsic.