Sport and physical education, although a unique and important subject on its own, can also be used as a vehicle to be able to teach other core subjects.
For teaching English, this can be in the form of speaking, listening, reading or writing as part of PE lessons and extracurricular activities. Sport is one of the few very subjects where discussion and team work are used in the majority of, if not all, lessons.
Students in PE lessons should be encouraged to coach each other and offer constructive criticism when they make a mistake as this will improve their confidence in public speaking and develop the way they construct sentences both verbally and in their written English.
There are a number of school initiatives to help teach through sport. They are external to the PE curriculum and take place after school or during tutor time. One popular initiative associated with football is Premier League reading stars.
Premier league reading stars is aimed at children between the ages of 9-13 years old, specifically those who have an interest in sport and football but lack the motivation and drive to read. This programme involves all 20 premier league teams, suggesting books for the students to read. Book reading can be completed alone or as part of a group with a learning mentor or teacher supervising this activity.
After this part of the programme there is an online quiz to be completed based around the story that the children have read. In some situations, this initiative has been successful in raising children’s reading age by over one year in only a ten week period.
Another way that students can develop their English skills through sport is through the use of worksheets or booklets which can be introduced when needed or regularly as part of the student’s learning pathway. This will test the student’s ability to read and their ability to either talk through their answer to a question with the class or to write it down.
A simple worksheet can test all 4 elements (reading, writing, speaking & listening) used when learning English in schools. Although teaching is developing and teachers are constantly asked to appeal to all different learning styles and approaches, it can prove very difficult to accommodate all learning styles at the same time. However due to the physical nature of PE, children who are kinaesthetic learners will benefit at a higher rate during PE lessons than they would do in a normal classroom environment.