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PE Teacher: How I Handle Kids Who Won't Exercise

By: Joanne Walker BA (hons) - Updated: 13 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Pe Teacher School Sport Enjoy Reluctant

A lot of children simply do not like the idea of sport. This can be for many reasons, they could be unfit, lazy or bad at sport which puts them off straightaway. All children however, should do some form of exercise and one of the main places they can do this is during their school's PE lessons. PE teachers have to deal with all types of children, those who do and do not like sport. Here Paul, a PE teacher for ten years, tells how he deals with the children who are less than enthusiastic about sport.

“So much of my job can be an absolute joy,” says Paul. “I get to teach children how to play a whole variety of sports – and when children discover a love for a particular sport, it’s fantastic.

“What’s more, I also get the chance to go to competitions and tournaments with those children who truly love their sports – so much so that they want to represent their school or even county at it.”

There is a flip side to this however – and that is the problem of children who just will not exercise. “There are plenty of kids who won’t exercise,” says Paul. “This varies from the stereotypical teenage girl who thinks the idea of sport goes against everything she stands for, to the child who might actually really enjoy sport but isn’t very good and therefore tries to get out of it as they are scared of what the kids who are good at it might say.”

Who Won’t Do PE?

He adds that the different type of child requires different amounts of attention. The teenage girls, he said, are easy to deal with because there aren’t any underlying issues, they simply do not want to take part.

“They are afraid of messing their hair up or looking hot and sweaty,” says Paul. “But these days we do so many different sports at school that they can find something which suits them – and, importantly to them, is not in front of the boys.

Peer Support

“But those kids that secretly love sport are harder to deal with, because if you push them, you could end up putting them off for life.“It often follows that those children who are good at sport are the loud, outgoing ones as well, so it is a case of finding someone within that group who will also take someone under their wing. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, most kids like to be given a bit of responsibility and if they love sport they are usually a team player.”

He added: “So what I often do is ask them to give the reluctant pupil the benefit of their experience with a bit of one-on-one peer coaching. This usually means that no-one will take the mickey out of the shyer child while they will gain confidence from having a peer taking an interest in them. Once they have the sporty bug, it’s usually plain sailing from there.

He adds that it is not always as easy as he makes it sound but that usually, all children will find some kind of sporting activity that they will enjoy.

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