Teaching ESL Students Physical Education

credit: Camp Huntington in Raquette Lake, NY.

credit: Camp Huntington in Raquette Lake, NY.

Physical education can be a great medium to help L2 learners develop their listening, speaking and comprehension skills. Students not only learn new terminology related to health and fitness, but they also have a chance to exercise and develop their bodies along with their minds!

PE is great for TPR (Total Physical Response) techniques! The students are able to watch and follow what the instructor does, then try it out for themselves. Physical education is in a unique position to help L2 learners as it has characteristics that are supportive of these students, conditions similar to those in which children acquire their first language (Clancy, M. & Hruska, B., 2005).

These include:

  • Physical involvement with language
  • The use of multiple mediums to present information
  • Opportunities to show language comprehension through physical movements
  • A low-stress environment for students to use their second language
  • Student success can be independent of language use
  • Large amounts of physical interaction with other students
Credit to Huffington  Post

Credit to Huffington Post


Physical education is fun for students of all ages. They can learn basic fitness strategies such as stretching, running/jogging, as well as various sports. For older students instructors can teach specific sports such as soccer, baseball, volleyball, and tennis, and their rules. Teachers can also give lessons on eating healthily and nutrition. Many schools also have a pdf file of a PE curriculum guide online (via Google search) that you can download for a reference.


So get out there, get healthy, and help ESL students do the same!

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Filed under Boys and Girls, Education, Elementary Students, ESL, Health and Fitness, learning, Physical Education, South Korea, Teaching, The United States

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