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The Positive Reinforcement Techniques of Physical Education

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 1392 words Published: 24th Aug 2021

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Childhood dream, being a teacher is many childrens dream; teacher is a role with rich knowledge, being respected, with good behavior and moral in conduct. Since the society is changing very fast, the teaching nature and duties are different from 10 years ago. Teacher is not only act as a role to deliver knowledge, but also to serve the parents, to organize schools events, to promote school, to create and maintain school’s image, etc. Nowadays, teacher is usually challenged by the changing education policy, by parents and the student. Since society is changing rapidly, the prospects and nature of careers have changes dramatically. For example, in the 1980s, schools were focused on the academic result but not any other else. In 2000s, multi-learning experience were being promoted, every student ought to have at least one extra-curriculum learning tasks or even more. Student’s schedule is fully filled with extra-curriculum activities, and such case is not rare, but common.

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Physical Education is one of the target extra-learning experience aspect in schools, and the outstanding performance in it could benefit his/her academic offer. Hence, parents are appreciated to encourage their son/ daughter to join sports team and represent the school to participate into the inter-schools competitions. And hence physical education (PE) and sports development in schools are becoming much more importance. A key product of PE is to build up self-esteem of each student, such intrinsic reward is not resulted from improving the student’s physical ability, but the attitude and cooperation through participating in physical activity. To achieve the said goal, utilize of positive reinforcement strategy would be the effective and appropriated tool in motivating them to perform and maintain good behavior.

Physical Education is teaching people through physical activity. Hence, PE teacher are not only teaching with verbal delivering, but communicate through physical movement, and spiritual inspiration. While safety always come the first and the most important issue in PE lesson, sportsmanship, cooperative and the spirit development are the key elements; but skill comes the least. Positive reinforcement could able to shape appropriate behavior while distinguishing misbehavior is critical to teaching and learning in physical education (Downing J, 2005). The method and teaching cues of teachers using in PE lesson are also applied to influence social behaviors. Positive reinforcement strategies are more effective in increasing and shaping positive behaviors in learning and could effectively encourage intrinsic motivation.

According to Piaget’s theory, secondary student (11 years and older) are at formal operational stage, and children would able to think in terms of abstractions; and the culmination of the development of logic would be achieved (Susan B. 2002). In term of PE lesson, some skill and tactics are quite abstract to understand, even with physical demonstration, some student may not able to understand and perform the action properly. In another word, Piaget’s theory may not be appropriate at the skill-wise phrase in PE, the ability in understanding the physical skill and tactics may affected by the gender different or the adolescence effect. From 11yr to 18yr, student are in adolescence stage, and their muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance and agility are different from each other; so that their physical exercise performance is different. In another word, a grading PE performance should not only base on physical performance, but also student’s behavior. To encourage preferred behavior with positive reinforcement, praise behaving students continuously, praise student begin to minimize misbehavior, and provide a preferred activity for student who have improved in behavior, motor skill or performance.

Behavior management with reinforcement is a key element of the PE lesson plan, and which is designed to decrease misbehaviors in PE classes, in another word, to ensure the PE classes process in safety and student performed with appropriate behavior. Herewith a reinforcement in the PE lesson, if student could behave well or do some fine job in the swimming lesson, a special activity could be arranged at the later stage of the lesson, such as a relay competition or a water polo game, those activities could encourage student to make use of what they learn and to have fun. This unexpected type of reinforcement is very powerful but don’t apply too frequently, plus explain to the class what they did to warrant this special activity. According to Erikson’s theory on stages of psychosocial development, for teaching student (12 to 18yrs), teacher should be aware of identity vs. Role confusion. In PE class, teacher should provide a set of achievable tasks for student so as to tackle aimlessness; in addition, praise the desired behavior and they could have satisfaction and enhance intrinsic motivation as well. For example, 3-point shot in basketball is too difficult for some of the From 1 student, thus design a class with an optimal skill level, e.g. free-throw shot to make sure the entire class could achieve it. Praise student with appropriate behavior and praise more to encourage student keep trying to complete the task. In PE lesson, no matter how well the safety precautions are prepared, student may injured accidentally. Here is a case, in a form 4 PE class, boys group in learning hockey, gender difference was eliminated, student were followed the instruction and finally all of them were able to perform the skill appropriately. A positive reinforcement was delivered, organized a competition for the student in order to stimulate interest and have fun. It allowed student to have an extra enjoyable experience and motivate them to try harder. However during the competition, student A was hit by student B’s racket accidentally and his head was bleeding. In such case, although an un-desired consequence was generated, it was not cased by inappropriate behavior; hence, no punishments should be applied. However non-preferred experience was created for student. In order to eliminate the side effect of positive reinforcement, choose of reinforcer should be re-examined; the type of reinforcer should be related to the ability and arousal level of the behavioral change. It is because in PE class, the arousal level is in relation to the student performance, over-aroused may lead student to hyper performance and may lead injury. In considering applying the tangible reinforcement to student in PE lesson, safety and create a positive experience are always the crucial aspects to design a set of reinforcer.

Praise more to stimulate a better performance and behaviors, praise immediately whenever student show the new appropriate behavior at the lesson, it could generate motivation for student to perform better and try harder to achieve a further skill level. A concrete and specific praise would be more beneficial for student to improve his/ her motor skill. For example, in high jump, student could not imagine his/her posture in jumping, immediate and concrete feedback with praise is acted as the key source to encourage a further trail and improvement. At those skill-wise sports tasks, grading a group of student should not only base on the skill level of them, but the in-class attitude, improvement and pro-active are needed to take into considerations too.

PE class allows much more interaction for students, to set-up instrument, grouping to practice and competition; cooperative, Students improve their skills when they progressed sequentially from the observation to the emulation level (Kitsantas at al., 2000; Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1997, 1999).


Downing J., Keating T., Dennett C.; Effective Reinforcament Techniques in Elementary Physcial Education: The Key to Behavior Management, Physical Educator, v62 n3 p114-122 (2005)

Susan B. perspectives on learning: the cognitive approach: Psychology and Education, p8-9 (2002)

Zimmerman, b.J., & Kitsantas, A. (1997). Developmental phases in self-regulation: Shifting from process goals to outcome goals. journal of Educational Psychology, 8, 60-75.


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