Social Responsibility in the PE Classroom

 Don Hellison’s Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model is known in physical activity settings as a method of promoting physical activity in a socially responsible way (Martinek & Hemphill, 2020).  While most physical education programs seek to engage the physical body through athletics, there is an additional opportunity to explore personal and social qualities.  This created a values-based sport activity program.  This is exactly what this model seeks to do as it works with the social and emotional health of students  (Martinek & Hemphill, 2020).   This model seeks to help youth be more personally responsible for themselves and more socially aware in order to look out for the well-being of others  (Nieves et al., 2021).

The Hellison model is built out of 5 levels:

1.      Respect.

2.      Effort

3.      Self-Direction

4.      Caring and Helping

5.      Transference

Respect is having enough control over your own behavior that you do not interfere with the other students rights to learn.  Effort is being able to attempt new tasks and persist through difficulties.  Self-direction is the process in which students are able to work without direct supervision.  Caring and helping is all about showing concern for other people and helping them when in need, and lately transference wis when students incorporate the previous 4 stages into other parts of their lives.

Physical education class represents an excellent opportunity to instill some of these skills into students in a more energetic environment.  It utilizes the concepts presented in sports to help students be more socially aware in their day-to-day activities.  Incorporating this into your PE program could be a fantastic way to further improve social well being in your school.


Martinek, T., & Hemphill, M. A. (2020). The Evolution of Hellison's Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Model in Out-of-School Contexts. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 39(3), 331-336.

Nieves, A. M., Oliver, L. E., & Vargas, A. (2021). Preservice Physical Education Teachers' Experiences Implementing the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Model. Physical Educator, 78(2), 183-204.