Effective Communication in Physical Education Programs

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  • 0:04 Effective Communication
  • 0:29 Nonverbal Communication
  • 1:58 Verbal Communication
  • 2:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we'll define effective communication techniques that demonstrate sensitivity to student differences, encourage student communication, and foster engagement in the physical education environment.

Effective Communication

George Bernard Shaw once said, ''The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.'' Since poor communication is cited as being among the top reasons for athlete burn-out in secondary school, developing effective communication in physical education is a necessary ingredient for encouraging students to engage in physical activity. Let's learn more about effectively communicating with physical education students.

Nonverbal Communication

Communication describes the way that we send and receive information to other people. Communication may be verbal or nonverbal. Nonverbal communication describes the way we express information without using words. It may include facial expressions, proximity, and body language. Whether intentionally or not, most of what you communicate to your students comes through nonverbal communication.

Imagine that Sally is learning to play T-Ball. When she approaches the T, she swings and misses. No one says anything to her, but the physical education teacher shakes his head and walks away. What message is he sending to her? Now imagine the same scenario, but this time, the coach pats her on the shoulder and adjusts her grip on the bat. How is this message different? In both situations, the coach said nothing, but in the first scenario, Sally feels embarrassed and hopeless about her abilities. In the second scenario, she feels like her coach cares about her and will work with her to help her improve. The next time Sally tries a new activity, she is more likely to respond positively if she is coached into believing she is capable of learning new information.

Nonverbal communication goes two ways. Physical education teachers should also become adept at reading and responding to the nonverbal signals that students send to them. Emotions such as fear, embarrassment, discouragement, and frustration can interfere with a student's willingness to learn and participate. Great physical education teachers read these signals and respond.

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