One of the main roles and challenges of teachers is to keep their students engaged during class–not only to keep their attention but to keep them actively engaged and interested in what is being taught. Easy to say, very hard to do. It is a must, though, if we want to help kids actually apply what we are teaching them for their benefit.

I work with teachers every day across the US and their skill and passion amazes me. But often they are challenged with how to keep students engaged in class so they can actually learn the information. While every grade level has its unique challenges, this is especially hard in high school as students think they are too “cool” to pay attention and learn the information.

I remember being that way in math class. I was a below-average student in math for years. My senior year I was put in a remedial math class. It wasn’t because I was dumb; it was because I didn’t understand why I needed to learn these topics and how it was going to benefit me in the future. I ended up passing the class and graduating just fine.

A few years later while I was in college I had to take some harder accounting and finance classes for my minor in business. I had heard how many students failed these classes and that they were a real challenge. Honestly, I was a bit nervous because I remembered not being good at math in high school.

When the time came around to take those classes I excelled and got all A’s. Why? Because I understood WHY I was learning the concepts. Yes, they were harder classes, but I knew that to do what I was called to do after school I needed to learn and understand these concepts. I could directly see how they would benefit me in the future. I knew WHY I was learning them. And this was mostly due to great teachers casting that vision.

But how does this apply to health and PE? It follows the same concept as I just described. We must help students understand the “why” behind what you are teaching them in health and PE or else they won’t want to learn what they view as “useless” information. They have to directly see how what they are learning in health will help them to better fulfill their calling. Let me give you 2 quick ways of how this could look in class.

*Note: These ideas are more for middle school and high school students. Elementary doesn’t need to go as deep. At the younger grade levels, it is just about being intentional during PE class to help students understand WHY they are playing games and moving. It is about planting seeds.


One of the greatest ways to get students engaged and to give the teacher a greater level of authority is by bringing scripture into the class. It helps to back up what the teacher is saying. It isn’t just a required class or the teacher’s passion coming across anymore; it is the Word of God. If we can show students what the Bible teaches about stewarding their bodies, they will be much more likely to regard everything else that is taught as important. And rightly so! Below I will give you a free copy of our 32-lesson devotional guide that may help.

Goals and Application

We must help students understand that our health should serve us and our calling, and enable us to serve others better. Much of what the world teaches today is a burden to people with all the endless information that confuses them. Help students set goals in their health that directly helps them do something they love, helps them to serve others better, or helps them have the energy and confidence to walk in their calling now and in the future.

Have them look at what they are passionate about and then ask the question, “What does my health need to look like to be able to do___?”. Once they can get clear on that question, then they can create simple goals that specifically help them to have the ability to do that. Once those goals are created, have them start applying what they are learning in class in the real world. If they can practice these things while under your teaching they will be much more likely to continue after they graduate.

While we could go much deeper into this, you can take these principles and apply them specifically to your classes. You know your students the best. What are some simple ways you could implement these principles?

To get you started, I want to give you our 32-lesson devotional guide that teachers love to use with their students. You can go HERE to get a copy of that and some other resources that may help! You can also check out our maps for The F.O.R.M. Curriculum in Curriculum Trak!

Ashton Tate is the founder of Glory to Glory Fitness in Franklin, TN, and the creator of The F.O.R.M. Curriculum. After walking through a life-changing health transformation he has dedicated his life to helping others live a healthy lifestyle to better serve God and others. At Glory to Glory Fitness their mission is to get quality health education to every student in America by equipping educators with the resources and systems they need to make a difference in students’ lives. His resources currently impact thousands of students in schools all over the United States.