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
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
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)
Here’s a Question. Which is better?
- Winning a race in a slow time
- 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.
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
One on One Coaching, every step of the way.
- 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
- Equally Skilled Groups
- Those Motivated by Winning and Competition
- Students not confident in themselves
Leave them to it
- Goal Driven students motivated by improving and beating themselves
- Actively Keen students
- 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.
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.
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.