View Full Version : "New Age Phys Ed"
03-06-2002, 08:21 AM
I saw this on HBO "Inside Sports" last night and wanted to get everyone else's opinion on it. It seems there's a new school of thought in gym classes that competition and games that breed it should be taken out. According to these people, games that have winners and losers have no place in gym class. Instead, it should be purely fitness-based, with games that leave everyone on the same level when they leave, boosting self-confidence. Games like dodgeball, even traditional games like soccer, basketball, and jump roping are being replaced with tossing a balloon in the air, jump roping with no rope, and square dancing. The idea is that, at that age, it's not fair for the athletic kids to win week in and week out, with the non-athletic kids going home every day as losers.
What do you all think of this more feelings-friendly gym for kids?
03-06-2002, 09:09 AM
On the one hand, I can relate to the non-athletic kids because although athletic, I was always the tiny one who couldn't reach the basket, got bonked with the dodgeball, etc.
On the other hand, I'm tired of the "feel-good" crap in the schools. That's why I went back to college teaching. I'm tired of administrators trying to force teachers to give A's to C students so parents and students will be happy and not sue them. The last straw was when an administrator announced one spring that teachers who failed more than 5 students would be required to take a summer course on how not to fail students. This was the same administrator who would put special-ed kids into our college prep courses...who would fail.
We can't equalize the kids' ability in every subject--some people are just more gifted in some areas. What will get dumbed down next--art?
03-06-2002, 10:36 AM
I see the point. I'm horribly non-athletic, and was chubby as a kid, so PE was my worst time of the day. I had 98s and 99s in all my other classes, but I was worried about making a B in PE.
I hated it because I wasn't very good at it, and I never was given an enviroment in which to learn to enjoy physical activity. I was mocked, had balls thrown at me, etc. And the teachers didn't give a damn because they doted upon their super-athlete pets.
An example of how I was treated in PE: We were running a relay race, and I was the last person. A boy on my team screamed at me "pretend there's a big juicy hamburger at the finish line!" thinking that I was just this fat blob motivated by nothing other than food.
I think if we'd had some non-competitive sports, something like step aerobics, dance, hell, even a tae-bo tape, I would have been much more able to realize that phsyical activity isn't "bad." Maybe even realize that it could be fun.
Instead, I've been left with a terrible taste in my mouth about sports and many of the "athletic types" after 10 years of being treated like shit because I couldn't play volleyball.
The point of Physical Education should be (in my opinion) to educate students about how to keep their bodies healthy and to enjoy physical activity. While classes for athletes and those who want to compete should be available, there should also be some classes for those who are just inable to compete, and suffer physical and emotional abuse from their peers and the teachers for it.
03-06-2002, 10:52 AM
I can definitely see the point too. I was not at all into competitive sports back in elementary school. I did ballet and cheerleading but when it came to soccer or dodgeball...I was horrible. I was tiny too which didn't help. I was last picked for teams. Even worse, during a game of softball when the opponents saw I was up to bat they would move closer infield...how embarrassing.
I would go home miserable and embarrassed. I was excellent at dancing and tumbling but I would come home a loser because I was unable to hit a ball with a baseball bat. I have always felt that PE should be more about fitness then competitive sports. We should keep kids how to stay fit by running or aerobic exercise rather than stick a dodgeball in their hands and say "have fun". I probably would've gotten more out of my PE class if it were more fitness based then competitive sports based.
03-06-2002, 11:13 AM
are you kidding me? what are they going to do next - take away As and Fs becuase they make some kids feel good and some kids feel bad? It's gym class... its there to get some physical fitness in and have some fun. Trust me, I have made an ass out of my self in gym class (yeah, falling off the rope i was climbing was good for a few laughs) but i'm not still holding onto it . Some people have the school smarts and others have the athletic ability (if youre lucky you have them both, like me - no kidding, lol) we don't need to take away a class some kids are good at to make the ones that aren't that good feel better.
03-06-2002, 11:52 AM
When did competition become a bad thing? When did the world stop being competitive? I think that the schools should offer a wide selection of PE programs including traditional sports, physical fitness programs, nutrition, and dance and movement. The goal of PE should be to teach students tools that they can use for a lifetime of physical fitness. The sad thing is that gym class is the only exercise that most students get and now they want to cut that.
As for dodge ball, that was a nightmare! :eek:
03-06-2002, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by Cream
As for dodge ball, that was a nightmare! :eek:
By the time fourth grade was over, three kids in my class had broken noses and four had broken fingers from that game. I heard that was the school record. I think that game is more dangerous than football! :)
03-06-2002, 11:56 AM
I would love to see your class picture. :p Those poor kids!
03-06-2002, 12:26 PM
My experience with gym was most heinous, too. I can definitely sympathise with all the non-athletic folk out there! I was a gymnast, but was a complete klutz at any sport played with a ball. I was shy, too, so that didn't help. Elementary-school gym wasn't too bad 'cause we got to do fun things like square dancing and playing with parachutes, but by middle school it was a nightmare. I was awful at football. I was terrible at soccer. I couldn't hit the ball when we played softball, and I was even worse at basketball. That was a stroll in the garden compared to high school, when I had a tough coach for a teacher and kids in my class who would make fun of me relentlessly. I was singled out all the time for not being athletically inclined, and no one ever wanted me on their team.
But you know what? I'm still in favor of competitive sports in gym class. It was awful at the time, but it didn't scar me for life and I think it made me a little stronger just being able to get through it. :) Life is competitive, and I think we'd be hurting kids if we coddled and babied them all through school. Not everyone is good at sports (like me!), but I was making A's in everything else while those kids who teased me barely scraped by, so I consider it a fair trade. :D
03-06-2002, 12:55 PM
Wanted to sit back and see what others had to say on the topic, thought I'd finally throw in my two cents.
First of all, I'll preface by saying that I was the kid in gym class in elementary school who fell off the balance beam, who got pegged by the dodgeball, who couldn't shoot a basketball to save my life - i played little league (and was actually good at it), but when it came to gym class, i was last picked and first picked on at times. I'd end up on the losing side most of the time, and if it was individual competition, forget about it.
Now - I still think that competition is a good thing in these classes. I took all of it as motivation to become a better athlete, and it helped to fuel a competitive desire in me. I tried to get better, and ended up becoming a pretty good athlete by the time I got to high school. It felt good to get to, and even surpass, the athletic levels of those who had so outdistanced me earlier.
In addition, I regard my competitiveness as one of my best qualities. I know what it's like to lose, to fail, especially in the field of athletics. It's not a good feeling - but it's a feeling i'm glad I've had, so that I have that extra motivation not to have that feeling again, whether it be in school, work, sports, etc.
This is very much a personal thing - but I'd like to hear more viewpoints on this topic.
03-06-2002, 01:07 PM
I think that is silly, competition is a natural part of everyday life, and if we are sheltering kids from they it will just hurt them in the long run....
03-06-2002, 06:06 PM
well coming from a different country & administration i can tell you we probably don't place as high an emphasis on phys ed. as the u.s.
In fact, after i graduated from high school a bitter teachers dispute ended intramural sports at the secondary level for a few years...For us, it was more so effort and skill rather that just skill alone that grading was dependent on. The overweight kids could receive decent/high grades if they put some effort into it. I really think there needs to be greater investment in physical activity among young people. I'm not sure about anyone else, but the kids here are pretty damn fat - playstation syndrome, nintendo generation, call it whatever you want it all boils down to the same thing, exercise.
I loved gym, always found it beneficial. It's sad to see sports like dodgeball go, it demonstrates alertness, otherwise you get a ball in the pills.
one question - what about all the personal growth benefits that come out of team sport involvment? Working together, unity and all that other jazz would not be reached in square-dancing...
03-06-2002, 07:10 PM
First of all, even if they do take out the competitive sports, kids will still find something to make fun of other kids for or to be competitive about. I'd be afraid that if they sheltered kids in p.e., then they would do the same in the other classes and last I knew, school was supposed to prepare you for the rest of your life.
For example, more and more schools are switching to uniforms. Well, I grew up in a school uniform and the only thing it does is make shoes, jewelry, sock, anything more important. They can never take away the competition from p.e.
In addition, there are those kids who thrive on out performing other students in gym class, I mean in a good way. There are those kids who don't do well in other classes, but they get to show that they do have some talent.
For those of you who had bad experiences (as did I until high school) it was probably the teacher and/or students (which goes back to the teacher letting them act that way) and it wasn't the actual sport.
03-06-2002, 07:35 PM
I don't agree that traditional, competitive sports ought to be removed from the schools. Lots of kids like them, and they can be good exercise. However, what's the harm in adding new sports or activities? Some schools have vertical climbing walls, for example, that are excellent exercise.
These team sports require good PE teachers, which are in short supply. In my experience, they spend their time coaching the kids who already know the sport and do it well. They don't teach the rules and the moves to the kids who don't know them or are poor at the game. PE's job is not to develop superstar athletes at the expense of other kids - it is to keep all kids physically fit. If kids do an activity like play soccer and are allowed/encouraged to stand there and not contribute to the game, they are not getting any benefit from the activity. It's not a first-grader's fault if his parents are physically inactive and he hasn't had a chance to learn a game. That's why they are PE TEACHERS, not sports team coaches.
Not all kids are naturally competitive. PE should be designed to appeal to as many kids as possible, including the competitive ones, the kids who could be competitive if given a chance, and those who might like other forms of activity better. Granted, some kids will be better than others - same as in the regular classroom.
03-06-2002, 09:39 PM
I think a lot of it has to do not with what kind of activities are being done so much as the attitude of the teacher. The first 2 gym teachers of my schooling were horrid - our elem. teacher was a sexist pig (the girls had to do basketball layups while they boys played an actual game of b-ball, plus don't even get me started on some of his comments), and our junior high gym teacher was just a bitch. With both of them, if you were athletic you were the pet, if you weren't, they treated you like crap.
My senior high gym teacher was an altogether different story. As long as you showed up and were making an effort (got dressed, participated), even if you fell on your butt 9/10 of the time, you could get a good grade. I actually liked gym then, and I am NOT athletic. I think the whole key was the fact that she was sensitive enough to realize not everyone is Mary Lou freaking Retton!! :p
As Iowa Hawkeye said, we shouldn't take away competitive sports - there should be a mix of both. Plus, for some kids that struggle in academic classes every day, gym is the only place where they really get a chance to shine.
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