Back to Basics: Routines

Originally posted on The PE Circle on 20th September 2015

As soon as pupils enter the changing room to the moment they leave we are expected to respond to all manner of scenarios that are both expected and unexpected as PE Teachers. Routines are a simple way of organising the expected and managing the unexpected. Developing clear and consistent routines also have the major benefits of ensuring pupil safety and increasing the time they have in purposeful physical activity.

A lot of the routines I have established in my practice are built around having my pupils in teams throughout the year. However I believe that the learning team structure from Cooperative Learning may allow a more flexible approach in the future.

Here are some routines you might want to establish as PE Teacher:

You may want to develop routines for giving instructions, starting activities, gaining your groups attention, what pupils should do when they finish a task or moving into different groups. I do not have specific routines for this as my team set-up allows me to react to these things very quickly. Also you might need to consider the activity or the environment the activity is taking place when developing routines. Swimming is an activity where my routine is different from normal and I take the time to ensure pupils understand what is expected of that when entering the swimming pool and when working in it. Gymnastic is an activity where lots of equipment needs to be set up safely, this is done once again in my teams.

Either your department will have clearly detail routines in their departmental policy or if not you can look to develop your own routines as long as they fall within school and departmental aims. They allow pupils to get to know what is expected of them so, provided you maintain a constant routine, your lesson can begin promptly and with the minimum fuss. Good routines can help to develop the bond of trust between teacher and pupil and potentially build relationships in the future.

Establishing routines in PE is in many ways just like teaching PE. Pupils need to know what is expected of them, so the routine needs to be explained, demonstrated and practiced. Although this might be time-consuming to begin with, in the long run it will be return a dividend. After establishing the routine, regular prompting is necessary to keep it in the minds of the pupils. Therefore establishing routines as early as possible in the year and maintaining them is an essential ingredient of successful PE Teaching.

What methods do you use?

5 thoughts on “Back to Basics: Routines

  1. I’m curious, what are the students instructed to do with the observation clipboard? Is there a form on it that they must complete?


    1. Hi Bruno. Yes we have developed a number of observation templates that have both written, verbal and practical tasks to complete during the lesson that have different focus. For example we have one that focuses on the physical skills of the lesson, one that focuses on the social skills of the lesson, one that focuses on the teaching of the lesson. The teacher chooses what observation sheet would be most appropriate and helpful for that lesson. They would then speak to the student during the lesson regarding the tasks and then a debrief session at the end.


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