By: Derek J. Mohr & J. Scott Townsend
Ever wonder about the best ways to motivate and make fitness personally meaningful for all students? If so, you’re not alone. To help, we want to share some proven strategies focused on student empowerment and inclusion that, when implemented properly, can help you motivate each student to achieve their personal best and take ownership of their fitness.
Strategies that offer responsibility, choice and meaning give students greater ownership over their personal wellness. These strategies include:
Meeting Psychological Needs
- Competence – students can perform activities well and with confidence.
- Autonomy – students have options and can choose activities in which to engage.
- Relatedness – students have a partner, small group, or team to encourage and support them.
- Teachers create personally relevant, socially meaningful, highly engaging experiences for students.
Providing Leadership Opportunities
- Teachers design positions of and chances for responsibility in which students engage.
A Sample 4-Step Empowerment Process
SPARK has designed a 4-step process for High School PE, where students have the option to earn SPARK Fitness Instructor Certification in a variety of content areas. The process is highlighted below and in the SPARK SFI Certification 101.
1. Master – basic movements and/or routines
In this step, the teacher is helping students remediate and refine individual movement competency.
- Example: students master basic yoga poses or a “fun” salutation routine.
2. Create – a program or routine
At this point students develop a personalized fitness routine and/or program applying knowledge and skills.
- Example: students select and sequence yoga poses to create a fully personalized yoga routine.
3. Lead – a fitness routine or station
Next, students showcase leadership and personal and social responsibility by guiding others in a fitness activity.
- Example: students lead classmates through the personal routines created in step 2.
4. Pass Test – to demonstrate knowledge
Lastly, students complete a written assessment to ensure that they know the content well.
- Example: students take a yoga quiz and must pass with at least 80% to earn the SFI Yoga Certification.
Make fitness personal for your students by:
- Applying the empowerment strategies outlined above.
- Implementing the example 4-step empowerment process in your own PE program.
For more ideas and resources for High School Physical Education, check out the SPARK High School Physical Education program.
What other strategies do you use that serve to reinforce student ownership in fitness? We would love to hear from you in the discussion section below.