The primary role of physical education teachers is to motivate students toward an involvement in, and appreciation for life long physical activity, healthy eating, health, and fitness. Educators aim to give students the skills and knowledge to help them make balanced, informed choices about the roles that physical activity and good nutritional choices should play in their daily lives. As a teacher for a middle school physical education class, I realize there is going to be a wide range of knowledge, skill levels and interests. Because of this fact, my primary focus will be on incorporating team building into my physical education class. Brawley and Paskevich (1997) define team building as a method of helping the group to increase effectiveness, satisfy the needs of its members, or improve work conditions. Part of team building is setting goals and evaluating the teams strengths and weaknesses for the purpose of team improvement. I want to make sure each student sees the value of their role on the team. In doing this, I want to incorporate the “Pep-up PE” program. The goals of this program are to enhance the self-esteem of each student, improve the efficacy of each student, allow students to enjoy friendly competition and develop good sportsmanship, promote cooperation within a group for the attainment of a common goal, to encourage students to accept and be accountable for their own actions and behaviors, to allow each student to recognize essential skills for leadership, to improve students’ overall skill development in sport activities, and to simply have fun.
The philosophy of Pep-up PE is one of building up, not tearing down, a student's self-esteem, through participation or performance in class activities. It is essential that students be convinced to adopt this concept. Negative statements, such as "That was yours," "You're terrible," or "Oh no...Johnny is up!" will not be accepted. Students in general crave positive reinforcement, be it from an instructor or from a peer; therefore, class discussion prior to, during, and at the end of daily physical education activities is a key component in reinforcing the "we build up - we don't tear down" philosophy. Students will be given examples of encouraging statements to use in class, such as "good serve," "nice try," and "Hey, we'll get it next time." They will also be encouraged to help one another improve skills for various class activities.
Before the program begins, the class will be divided into teams. Instructors must attempt to keep teams even in terms of race, gender, and skill abilities. Getting to know the students as unique individuals will allow the instructors and students to find out something special about each student (Gill and Williams, 2008). The instructor appoints a team leader. The teams are then told to choose a team T-shirt color. The purpose of the team T-shirt color is to promote team identity and to encourage group loyalty. The objectives, goals, and rewards are explained to the class once teams have been created. Developing team goals and team commitment are two values important in team building (Gill and Williams, 2008). There is then an incentive for the teams such as a pizza party will be held for the team that obtains the most points for participation and competition throughout the school year. This incentive alone promotes cooperative efforts within each team. There are other external rewards, such as gum and/or certificates, for the most improved, most enthusiastic, and most cooperative teams. These rewards also seem to lead to internal feelings of satisfaction among most students.
An attempt should be made to minimize the number of competitive events during the program to reduce the stress and anxiety levels of less skilled participants. In the basketball competitions, for example, teams can be further divided into A and B squads with six or seven members on each team. Gill and Williams (2008) indicate that summing up the abilities of individual group members does not accurately describe group performance; we must also consider the group process. This leaves room for the incorporation of teamwork; involving the “talented” students with the “non-talented” students to work together toward a common goal. This will still allow for competitiveness for all the students, and also allow them to see how they are each important to their team. Effective teamwork can often be the difference between success and failure (Voight, 2001); therefore teaching the students the values of teamwork will benefit them both in their physical education class, but also in everyday experiences.
Incorporating a program such as Pep-up PE will help me make my physical education classes fun and enjoying for both the students and myslef. Teamwork is something we use each and every day, and teaching that in my class will help my students realize its value.
Brawley, L.R., & Paskevich, D.M. (1997). Conducting team building research in the context of sport and exercise. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 9, 11-40.
Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.).
: Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL
Voight, M., & Callaghan, J. (2001). A team building intervention program: Application and evaluation with two university soccer teams. Journal of Sport Behavior, 24(4), 420.