Physical Education Professionals Developing Life Skills in Children Affected by Poverty




personal and social responsibility, pro-social, behavior, SES, affective


Physical education (PE) professionals must believe that all students can learn, and they should equip themselves with the knowledge and expertise to instruct each student effectively. This article focuses on the effect that a PE teacher can have on the lives of students who come from low socioeconomic status (SES) households. It provides PE teachers with specific ideas and examples of how to teach life skills effectively within the PE setting to marginalized children affected by poverty. PE teachers often must intentionally influence the development of life skills, and some feel that practitioners are responsible for implementing ways to encourage that development. Personal and interpersonal skills are essential developmental factors that can be influenced through PE. This article highlights ways of incorporating proper affective assessments, developing a growth mind-set, and giving exposure to specific PE curricular models that focus on life skill growth. Finally, it provides a practitioner’s example to further elucidate the effect that intentional life skill instruction may have on students of low SES.

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Author Biography

Seth E. Jenny, Winthrop University

Authors’ Notes

Seth E. Jenny, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and Sidney Rhodes is a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Physical Education graduate student, both within the Department of Physical Education, Sport and Human Performance at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC, USA.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Seth E. Jenny, Department of Physical Education, Sport and Human Performance, Winthrop University, 216B West Center, Rock Hill, SC 29733.  Contact:


The authors express sincere gratitude to Pattie Starnes for her contributions toward this project.