Emergent Curriculum - A Better Way for Coaches who are Students of Life

Mary Hable

Using ideas of emergent curriculum in group coaching has shown to be an engaging and effective form of exercise programming. Most importantly, practicing emergent curriculum teaches how to be a better self-coach outside of the gym to all life’s pursuits.


Emergent curriculum is defined most commonly in the context of children’s classrooms. It’s “based on the premise that children are most successful at learning when curriculum experiences account for their interests, strengths, needs, and lived realities.1 Emergent curriculum is also extremely relevant to fitness classrooms. The idea can be directly applied to adults in a group training environment.


An emergent teaching style is very different from most group training classrooms. Popular group training uses exercise programming that is designed in advance around the idea of an ambiguous, stock student. That is a good method to improve the likelihood of having something stick with the greatest number of people. It’s not a good method for optimizing each students’ unique experience and ability to improve. Most group training programs are more likely to be random rather than relevant and meaningful.1


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