Faculty Spotlight Series: Claudio Barbieri on the Most Effective Physical Education Instructional Strategy

The Windward School is a learning community that recognizes the profession of teaching is a craft that takes an incredible amount of study, practice, and reflection to perfect. Thus, it is part of the School's mission to develop a faculty that is expert in teaching children with language-based learning disabilities. In our Faculty Friday series, we will be highlighting Windward faculty members and their expertise on a variety of educational topics. 

What is the single most effective instructional strategy you have used when teaching Physical Education?

I have been a physical education teacher for nine years in NYC in both the public and private school settings. There are many strategies we use as educators but the one I find most effective is a multisensory approach. This strategy is helpful for all students, whether they are visual learners, auditory learners, or students who learn best by actually performing the activity or skill. The most important thing for me is that students learn the fundamentals of the skill, have fun, and develop confidence throughout the lesson. The multisensory strategy allows students to experience success differently as well. For example, during our basketball unit, one student might feel they were successful if they were able to make one shot using proper form and technique during the unit. However, another student might feel they were successful if they were making their shots more consistently using proper form and technique. In both situations, each student would have the knowledge to go back to the fundamentals they were taught regardless of what kind of learner they are.  

The most important thing for me is that students learn the fundamentals of the skill, have fun, and develop confidence throughout the lesson.

The multisensory strategy is a powerful way to teach students in a physical education setting because it covers the needs of all types of learners. This strategy is also a great way for students to develop confidence in volunteering to demonstrate or explain an activity or skill. Since I use this strategy with all my units and lessons, we have a greater number of students willing to demonstrate or explain an activity or skill as the school year progresses. I would encourage teachers to try this strategy with their classes because everyone learns differently. Lastly, the multisensory strategy will encourage you to become a better educator because you will have to think of all the ways to present your lesson to the class while keeping in mind the variety of ways students learn and retain information.