Student Enjoyment: The Key to Success in PE!

PE Class Playing Hockey

I share a peer-reviewed article from the Physical Health and Education Canada Journal, called Developing Student Enjoyment in Physical Education with my student teachers that are studying how to become Physical Education teachers at the Elementary and Secondary levels.

The authors, J. Larusso, S. Pavlovich and C. Lu (2013) state, “enjoyment in physical education can be understood as the affective state or process of experiencing pleasure in physical education. It is critical for students to feel enjoyment in physical education for a variety of reasons, including: the promotion of healthy active lifestyles, the development of the whole child, ease of classroom management, and the improvement of physical education’s status and perceived value in the school system.”

The importance of enjoyment in PE is on the rise in Ontario with the release of the updated Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum.  The word “enjoyment” can be found 44 times compared to the mere 3 references in the old 1998 HPE document.

Lu et al (2013), share practical suggestions how to develop student PE enjoyment in our classes.

Some of the suggestions include:

  • Have students define what enjoyment means to them
  • Help students make connections between PE enjoyment in class to enjoyment outside the classroom
  • Ask for students input about activities that interest them, survey students
  • Be a role model for PE enjoyment and physical activity – share your idea of enjoyment with your students
  • Use a variety of activities in your PE program e.g., low organizational games, cooperative games, small and large group games, outdoor pursuits, fitness pursuits, aquatics, multicultural activities

An idea emerged to have my student teachers share their enjoyment of physical activity with elementary students. With reference to the Canadian Sport for Life: Physical Literacy Movement Preparation Guide, my student teachers and I prepared a PE lesson with a focus on developing physical literacy with an emphasis on student success and enjoyment.

Here is the lesson plan for Grade 6-8 students using the learning outcomes of the 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum.

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