Teaching Kids Self Management in Physical Education

Episode Transcript:

A question I’ve been getting lately is what are your thoughts on teaching self management in physical education? Well, I have some ideas I’d like to share.

Welcome to the PE express podcast. Two to three times a week a PE expert will share a tip, activity idea, or teaching strategy to help you become a better PE professional. Today’s host is Dr. Aaron Beighle. He is a coauthor of Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children and a contributor to DynamicPEASAP.com. He also publishes extensively and presents for physical education professionals.

With the emphasis on socially emotional learning. Self-management has been put on the radar in many schools and social emotional learning is typically a school wide approach, so I think it’s important to recognize the many ways that we do this in physical education. Self-management focuses on the idea of self control, self regulating, self-discipline, goal setting, all those terms kind of rolled into one category or one area, and that’s self-management. I think it’s important that we teach kids self-management, but I think we have to start with identifying boundaries, structure, rules, and expectations. In my experience, I’ve found that students want structure, but they also want to challenge structure. It’s part of development to challenge structure and providing structure and teaching students how to control themselves within that structure is an important lesson for life and obviously social emotional learning is all about teaching life skills. So part of helping students learn about this structure are the consequences that we have for behavior.

Most programs have some sort of consequences in some places I know recently a lot of schools are using a spot, not necessarily called timeout. Um, some call it time out, some call it cool off spot that’s a place for students to go when they’re struggling, having a behavior issue, you need a break or just need to take a deep breath. Usually teachers ask or require students to go to that area when there’s a behavior issue or something’s going on. However, if you have students that go there on their own, that should be applauded and students can be taught that if you need a deep breath, if you need to take a break, if you’re having a difficult time with behavior, you can go to the cool off spot and when students do that on their own, that’s a huge step in starting to understand self-management and self-control.

I think our management practices also play into this and establishing an environment where students learn to self manage, so establishing protocols such as what do you do when the teacher says freeze? How do you retrieve equipment? How do you get in groups? What do we do for positive behavior reinforcement, et cetera. I think those are also ways that we start this process of getting kids to understand self control and manage it and regulate themselves. The last thing I want to talk about that I think ties into self-management is this whole idea of goal setting and it’s an important part of of self management and it can be goal setting for reading minutes in classes. It can be goal setting for the number amount of veggies you eat or can be goal setting for physical activity in PE or outside of PE, but goal setting doesn’t just happen. Students have to be taught that and one way we can do that is using pedometers. Students can learn to measure their activity, set goals and then measure their progress towards goals. We have a whole set of sheets in the DynamicPEASAP website that outlines this and walk students through the idea of setting their baseline goal, measuring their progress towards their goal and again all of these things with goal setting and teaching kids self-control relate back to this idea of self management and as social emotional learning becomes more ingrained in education, teaching self management is something that we do quite well in physical education and from my perspective and that we can help others in the school. Because social emotional learning is a whole school approach and I think it’s important that physical education teachers show that we’re doing this. Let us know how you teach self management in physical education.


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