Communication Methods in the Physical Education Classroom

Instructor: Allyn Torres

Allyn has taught high school chemistry, and has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

In this lesson you will learn about communication methods that teachers can use in the physical education classroom. Verbal, nonverbal, and written communication will be discussed.

Gym Class Heroes

In pop culture, there seems to be two stereotypical physical education teachers: the super fit and the super (un)fit. Many of us definitely had one of the two when we were in school, but regardless of which, one thing was for sure: they always seemed to be shouting. As we got older we probably realized that they weren't shouting so much as just trying to make sure we heard them in the giant gymnasium. Keep reading to learn more about shouting (verbal communication) and other methods of communication physical education teachers use.

Verbal Communication

Physical education teachers' main source of communication is most likely verbal (spoken word) communication. Physical education teachers' classrooms are often much larger than those of teachers who teach other subjects. Therefore, it is important that physical education teachers speak loudly. They should take extra care to ensure they are not yelling - something that is very easy to find yourself doing in a gymnasium! It's a good idea for physical education teachers to have students gather around in a small group when giving important directions to avoid needing to yell to students who are far away. When in an outdoor setting where students can be spread out in various directions, it's a good idea to use a megaphone if available.

When speaking, physical education teachers should modulate their tone to maintain students' interest and attention. It's also a good idea to repeat important points and directions. This is important because students can potentially get hurt if they do not hear or follow all directions.

Nonverbal Communication

Physical education teachers cannot solely rely on verbal communication. Sometimes, verbal communication may not be feasible or the teacher doesn't want to lose his or her voice from speaking loudly for several hours a day. Fortunately, there are a number of nonverbal (using actions and body language) means that physical education teachers can use to communicate with their students.

Physical education teachers can use gestures and body language to communicate with their students. They can use gestures to get students' attention (such as as waving their arms at a student who is looking at them, but too far away to hear them). Teachers can also use body language to model how to do specific activities and communicate the proper technique or form for activities. A physical education teacher can also hold up a hand while speaking to indicate to a student who is interrupting that they need to stop.

A physical education teacher leads the class in exercises.

Physical education teachers can also use sounds and visuals to communicate with their students. Teachers can flicker the lights to get all students' attention at once. They may even consider having a pretend traffic light in the gymnasium. When the traffic light is green, students know they can continue what they are doing. If it turns red, they will know they need to stop and give the teacher their attention. Teachers may also clap their hands to get students' attention or blow a whistle (a physical education teacher necessity) to let students know they need to stop and listen.

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