Easy as ABC: Whole Class Discussion


This is a guest post by the blogger Physically Educated (Twitter: @PE_SOC) who is a Lead Teacher in Boys’ PE at a London Academy. Here he explains how he uses the ‘ABC’ approach (add, build, contest) to promote literacy in PE through verbal communication.  A very simple concept, but a high quality method nonetheless that you can read more about below.

I used ‘ABC’ in my year 11 GCSE PE class this morning (period 1) during a whole class discussion on different roles in sport – player/performer, organiser, coach, official and choreographer.  I organised it slightly differently with each individual student allowed to decide to ‘add’, ‘build’ or ‘contest’ a previous response rather than using a reaction ball.  I also made sure each student (there were 15 in this morning) had a chance to contribute by picking which student to ABC next.  I find that this method, instead of the traditional hands up, keeps all the students involved in the discussion because they need to listen at all times becuase they could be picked to ABC at any point.

Please feel free to create your own version!




Teaching all boys PE classes…we all know that boys will find anything to fiddle with while they are sitting down listening…from a ball in their hands, a shuttlcock or my favourite; the small black bits of rubber on the 3G pitch. I decided to introduce my very own A.B.C Ball (a very hi-tech invention consisting of a reaction ball with the letters A.B and C written on the ball). Discussions/Q&A sessions in lesson now involve the ABC Ball…

Quite simply…the ball triggers responses from the pupils. I pose a problem/question; “Whast makes Cristiano Ronaldo so good at beating an opponent in a 1v1 situation?” A quick 30 second pair share discussion and its time for some responses. The first pupil may tell us that one reason is due to the fact that he has excellent close control…time for the ABC Ball…I throw the ball to another pupil who then has to Add (add a whole new point), Build (build on a previous answer…make it a higher level answer, give more depth of understanding) or (if they are feeling brave) they can Contest a previous point…

Honestly, the boys love it…the only management issue is making sure they dont jump on top of another pupil when they try and catch the ball…The ball can control the discussion…ask a pupil to throw to another pupil or back to you if you want to pick a specific pupil…Pick A, B or C for an individual to assist with assessments…

The impact so far is simply that these discussion/lesson dialogues are much more focused and from the moment the question or problem is posed the level of language increases…pupils are constantly striving to ‘show off’ their vocabularly or analytical skills…and pupils learn from other pupils…

So there it is…my most recent technique for raising Literacy through PE…I would love it if you could let me know what you think, what you like or think I could add or change to make it better…or even still let me know something you do that helps drive pupil literacy through Physical Education…

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