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.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply