Do PERD Professionals Get Enough Training in Behavior Management and Supervision in Physical Activity Settings?

By Lavay, Barry; Smith, Luke et al. | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, February 2007 | Go to article overview

Do PERD Professionals Get Enough Training in Behavior Management and Supervision in Physical Activity Settings?


Lavay, Barry, Smith, Luke, Greer, Kevin, Coffield, Patrick, Kittell, Joe, Ralsky, Jared, Sanford, Michael, Erzar, Matthew, Myers, Danny, Connor, Bill, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Based on the yearly Educational Gallup Poll, the inability to manage and motivate student behavior is often the number one reason given by beginning teachers for leaving the teaching profession (Rose & Gallup, 2004). In recent years, effectively managing behavior has become even more challenging with the increased numbers of children and youths who are identified as at-risk or with disabilities. In reality, an unmanageable class is unteachable.

In a survey conducted nearly 20 years ago by Bishop, Henderson, & French (1988), only eight percent of PERD preparation programs dedicated an entire course to behavior management. Still today, if PERD preparation program instructors at the undergraduate level address the topic of behavior management, it is with a few lectures as part of a teaching-methods course. However, in recent years, national physical education standards have stressed the importance of behavior management (NASPE, 2004; APENS; Kelly, 2006) and an increase of information exists on this topic in teaching-methods textbooks (Rink, 2006; Siedentop & Tannehill, 2000).

Moreover, many physical activity professionals still maintain a narrow perspective and equate behavior management practices with discipline and punishment used to control students or make students behave. In order to develop a physical activity environment conducive for all students learning, PERD preparation programs need to blend various theories such as the behavioral and humanistic approach with the application of realistic and best instructional practices that have proven to be effective. University students need to be provided opportunities to practice various methods in different field-based practicum settings. Strategies can include proactive methods to help prevent problems before they occur; methods to maintain and increase desirable behaviors; and when necessary, methods to redirect or decrease inappropriate behaviors. Most importantly, university students need to learn best practices to assist the students they will teach or coach to take responsibility for their own behavior.

--Barry Lavay, California State University, Long Beach; Ron French, Texas Woman's University; Hester Henderson, University of Utah.

One conclusion that I have come to is that getting the students engaged is not only a major aspect of a physical education lesson, it is also the best form of classroom management.

--Luke Smith, student, Mississippi State University, Dekalb, MS.

For professionals and future professionals, there is no such thing as enough training in a constantly changing world. Each class throughout the day is different and unique, as is each school district's behavior management style. As students, we should have as much exposure as possible to different class settings (i.e. rural, urban, and suburban), and to middle, elementary, and high school students. I would also suggest that students should try being substitute teachers, after-school day care attendants, or youth workers in order to gain experience outside the regular classroom. Observing the interaction of students with peers and adults can help professionals learn to manage behavior in the classroom. Spending time with students has given me a wealth of knowledge that I could not have received elsewhere.

--Kevin Greer, undergraduate student, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO.

I believe that most professionals do not receive enough training in behavior management. It is difficult to train a person to deal with all types of children. I think that almost all of the training should be hands-on. Send teachers to different schools and allow them to see different students interacting. I think I was ready to deal with most behaviors when I came out of college. I credit this to my teacher education program, which allowed us to see many schools and how each teacher dealt with his or her students.

--Patrick Coffield, teacher, Brookview Elementary School, and graduate student, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. …

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