Social & Emotional Factors Influencing Physical Education

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 will define and discuss some of the social and emotional influences on student learning in the physical education setting and look at examples of how these influences can positively or negatively impact success.

Influences on Student Learning

Imagine that you're in the bottom of the fourth quarter in a tied championship game when the other team intercepts a pass at its goal line. Disappointments are common during athletic activity and can have a big influence on student learning. Let's examine some of the social and emotional influences that affect student learning in a physical education class.

Students need to learn to control their emotions.

Emotional Factors

You have driven the ball onto the green and set yourself up for what seems to be an easy shot. Somehow, you misjudged the line and overshot. How do your emotions affect your next putt? The way a student feels while performing an activity can have a profound effect on his/her success. Emotions such as anger, trust, and fear can affect a student's confidence, behavior, and concentration. The physical education teacher's role is to help the student channel those intense feelings into something positive. For example, if a kicker is able to concentrate his anger into the force of his next kick, he may be able to kick the ball harder and further than he could without the strong emotions.

Many students will allow their emotions to interfere with their performance by fouling the opponent or miscalculating strength or precision. For example, when an angry basketball player throws a free throw, he may throw the ball too hard, resulting in the ball bouncing off the backboard. Similarly, players that have trust issues may not pass the ball when they should. Fearful players may miss shots because they don't have confidence that they will make it. Training students to control their emotions and use them to their advantage is an important skill for all students.

Students are taught to encourage one another.

Social Factors

What are you teaching your students about sportsmanship? Social factors that affect performance include sportsmanship, motivation, communication, and cooperation. These are the elements of behavior that lead to failure or success in both individual and team sports and activities. Etiquette as both a player and an audience member needs to be taught. For example, students need to be told that if a player is down due to injury, the ball should be kicked out of play. Further, they should be encouraged to clap for the opponent and avoid gloating when they are successful. Another aspect of sportsmanship that must be taught and modeled is treating the referee or umpire with respect, even if there are occasional disagreements.

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