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Shaping Responsible Student Behavior in PE

F Shaping Responsible Behaivor Pangrazi subs

I want to just talk a bit about how you interact with your students and how that can shape responsible behavior.

Show How Much You Care

You’ve heard the saying students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It’s very important that they learn that you will always treat them with dignity and respect and you know, that’s the fastest way to get the same kind of respect back toward you in return. Students like consistency in a teacher, they like a teacher who shows that they care and they’ll listen and they’ll work with them and I think if you can do that with your students, they’ll come to trust you much more than they ever have.

I tell a little story about how we often become numb to others. We forget why the impact our words have on our students and have on us as teachers. It takes quite a while before trust is built up and they feel good about you. Don’t become numb. Remember, that’s a living organism there and they may have only heard this the first time, even though you’ve said it thousands of time in your teaching career. Teach like it’s the first time you’ve ever taught. That you have something to say. That you want them to behave responsibly, and that you care about them, and I think they’ll do well.

"Teach like it's the first time you've ever taught. That you have something to say. That you want them to behave responsibly, and that you care about them." – @RPangrazi #PhysEd Tweet this quote

Reinforce Specific Behavior

Secondly, make sure you use reinforcement and reinforce specifically about the kind of behavior they exhibited when it’s responsible. Make sure it identifies acceptable behavior and tell them how pleased you are with it. If it’s older students, you’re going to want to do it one-on-one. If it’s a younger child, kindergarten through third grade, you’re probably gonna want to do it publicly. Many teachers use happy grams at the end of class or during class to when there’s a special behavior that occurs. They may seem like trivial things to us as adults, but they mean a great deal to students and they’ll come to value you and responsible behavior because of the kinds of things that you share with them.


  • Dr. Robert Pangrazi

    Dr. Robert Pangrazi is a Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University and an Educational Consultant for Gopher Sport. Dr. Pangrazi has been in the education field over 50 years. He began his career as a 5th grade teacher and was an ASU professor of physical education for 32 years. Pangrazi has published over 60 textbooks and 100 research and professional articles. He has been an invited speaker at nearly 500 national and international conferences.

One Response

  1. I feel like reinforcing specific behavior is so important, this allows students to feel good about their work and effort to try something and it also gives them feedback along with other students. When other students hear “good job stepping when you throw” then other students may question and ask themselves “am I stepping with my throw?” so it also gives students a good visual example.

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