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  #1    
Old January 3rd, 2014 (02:30 PM).
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Some would argue that it has no place in our schools and doesn't contribute to learning. And in times of strained school budgets, physical education could be a luxury we really can't afford.

On the other hand, obesity is a massive problem and encouraging healthy lifestyles has other, if non-educational benefits. In this modern era, physical education classes might be the only significant way of doing physical activity for most youth.

Should physical education (continue to) be compulsory? Is it a limitation of the right to do with our bodies as we wish?
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  #2    
Old January 3rd, 2014 (04:14 PM).
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I'm conflicted on this. On one hand, I believe that other programs, such as music and art programs, are more important than P.E. because they enrich the mind with material needed later on in life. On the other hand, it's important to emphasize physical education for children because of the obesity problem we have in our country today. There doesn't seem to be much of a good answer to this.

I guess the best-case scenario would be to increase spending on education by decreasing spending on "defense", pump more money into the schools, and allow for P.E. AND art/music classes to exist together in the curriculum. The problem really is that we are not spending enough money on educating our children and as a result they learn less of what they need to when they enter the adult world, including a fitness regime/healthy eating. Look at what we feed our children in schools! Some of the pictures I've seen of school meals are not only disgusting but unrecognizable as food. We are not teaching our children how to take care of themselves.
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Old January 4th, 2014 (07:08 AM).
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P.E. is important but what annoys me is how much money P.E. and extra curricular sports get in comparison to the arts. At my high school for example the P.E. program made enough money to host banquets and crazy fun stuff while my art teacher had $80 per class for her ceramics classes given to her for supplies. If you know anything about supplies they're hella expensive. She often took stuff out of her paycheck to get better supplies.

Our ignorance of the importance of art is really gonna bite us in the ass one day.
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Old January 4th, 2014 (08:11 AM).
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While I agree that obesity is a growing problem, I know that PE classes (at least the ones in the public school system where I leave) will do nothing to help combat the problem. Physical Education where I live is definitely not education and could hardly even be called physical. I'm not sure what the state requires for PE in terms of curricula (if anything), but I believe that it needs to be revised. I would be in full support of PE classes if they actually taught things about healthy living, such as eating and exercise. I've actually taken two PE classes, one online and one in real life. The real life course just required me to walk around campus for like 40 minutes, and if I wanted to, to jog or do intervals. While this was nice as it gave me a time to exercise, it did not require it. And if there are overweight children out there who are not intrinsically motivated to do things to help themselves, they're going to take the easy way out. On the other hand, the online PE class provided a rather large amount of written material with a ton of information about how to eat and exercise in a healthy way, and why it is necessary to do so. The online class also required 90 days of exercise, which was basically on honor. Even though the online class did not have someone overseeing that I exercised, the information it provided and the moral guidelines I live by motivated me to put in the 90 days for the course. I actually was able to lose 85 pounds due to the online course, and went from being obese (BMI 35.7) to a healthy weight (BMI 23.8).

To sum up my point, I don't thing that PE as it is now should be compulsory (and I didn't even mention how it conflicts with the arts..). However, if it were able to be changed into an actual educational class, I think it would be a great tool to combat obesity.
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Old January 12th, 2014 (07:00 AM).
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I firmly believe that PE should be taken out of school curriculums. PE is not encouraging a healthy lifestyle, it's enforcing one. Exercise should be encouraged, not enforced. Besides how much good can that one hour once or twice a week do anybody? The only lesson PE actually teaches is a lesson to the fat and uncoordinated kids on how to deal with bullying.
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  #6    
Old January 12th, 2014 (07:08 AM).
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I like PE personally. I've always been a sports person and I think it's fun. However, what they need to do is make it an elective like it already is. However, you should actually have to apply for that elective instead of getting placed into it.

My gym does absolutely nothing 95% of the time cause no one wants to do anything. It's really stupid.

Physical health is something that is great for you. When you are exercising it triggers off something in your brain to make you more awake and focused for after. However, no one should have physical education forced onto them.

I strongly recommend some sort of physical activity, but it's not for everyone.

I do think that PE takes a lot out of things like the Music and Art classes. People who want to be in those classes end up getting stuck in PE and I'm sure if that was me, I'd hate it.
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Old January 12th, 2014 (07:20 AM).
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For some people PE seems to be unnecessary and just a waste of time, and would rather spend time on subjects like music, english, drama etc. Or subjects like science or maths. But for somebody like me PE is the best part of the day, (besides lunch, duh), because I really want to be a runner or do something in that topic. I care less about art subjects and science and maths.

PE is important because otherwise a few people wouldn't get any chance to have any exercise throughout the whole week, which is just as bad or even worse than not being able to play Mozart or whatever, it's school, it's just a public service, and unfortunately cannot be catered to everybody's specific needs. But I do agree that funds should be given to each subject appropriately, like some subjects are bound to be way more expensive than others.
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Old January 12th, 2014 (09:44 AM).
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I believe that a physical education style course should occur in grades/middle/high school, not exactly as a "Let's find a game we can play to fill time" type course but as a multi purpose course. One that has a bit of information on nutrition in it (classroom section), some information on human physiology (classroom and gymnasium), information on exercise, how to get it, why it's important (classroom and gymnasium), and some time in a gym where you're getting crash courses in a few sports/activities (activities should include things such as yoga, forming your own gym routine, running/cardio outside, etc). The gym course should be geared towards both educating people on the necessity of exercise and physical activity but also giving them information that is useful in a classroom type setting like physiology, human processes and nutrition. Many schools have access to recreational and competitive sports outside the classroom, although some require fees and commitment not all student can make students are provided with more than enough options to keep active in relation to their education. I strongly believe that some information regarding keeping fit and the bodies response to their environment/intake needs to be presented to students. I do not think that an hour a day, or several hours a week should be completely devoted to putting a bunch of student in a gymnasium and making them do a bunch of physical activity, it should be a healthy mixture!
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  #9    
Old January 12th, 2014 (07:05 PM).
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PE rocks, everyone knows that a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing you can do for your body and should, in my opinion take up 1/5th of your time table at school. However the teachers need to be extremely passionate about what they do, it should be more activity based on getting fit rather than learning about the sports. People are overweight due to their own choices, not living a healthy lifestyle, these are the ones who always back out of sport because they don't eat well or exercise at home.

Quote originally posted by The Artist Formerly Known As Shining Raichu:
PE is not encouraging a healthy lifestyle, it's enforcing one. Exercise should be encouraged, not enforced.
If a young healthy and active child is too lazy to do 2+ hours of sport per week then they've been enforced into a unhealthy lifestyle. If a child is too lazy to be active then it should be enforced, it's unhealthy not to be active.

Quote:
Besides how much good can that one hour once or twice a week do anybody?
It is extremely good, I feel you have no idea on how good for the body exercise is, it's not just about one hour of doing something it's about putting someone in the mindset to be active.

Quote:
The only lesson PE actually teaches is a lesson to the fat and uncoordinated kids on how to deal with bullying.
Being fat isn't healthy, if the kids were healthy they wouldn't be fat. If a child is too unfit or lazy to do one hours physical work per week, keep in mind that's 1 out of 168 hours of the week how on earth will they be healthy in their life when it's not enforced. It's about being in a mindset.
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Old January 12th, 2014 (09:28 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Silais:
I'm conflicted on this. On one hand, I believe that other programs, such as music and art programs, are more important than P.E. because they enrich the mind with material needed later on in life. On the other hand, it's important to emphasize physical education for children because of the obesity problem we have in our country today. There doesn't seem to be much of a good answer to this.

I guess the best-case scenario would be to increase spending on education by decreasing spending on "defense", pump more money into the schools, and allow for P.E. AND art/music classes to exist together in the curriculum. The problem really is that we are not spending enough money on educating our children and as a result they learn less of what they need to when they enter the adult world, including a fitness regime/healthy eating. Look at what we feed our children in schools! Some of the pictures I've seen of school meals are not only disgusting but unrecognizable as food. We are not teaching our children how to take care of themselves.
PE is important for our health. We can learn art and other creativity skills when we are older. But PE is best practiced now, since it would be too late when we are 60 and obese.
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  #11    
Old January 13th, 2014 (04:03 AM).
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Where I go to school it is good. Everyone learns new soils and if you don't want to play just muck around and ar out all of the grass. I personally goto the gym every day of school and I know we aren't learning stuff. We play the same sports over and over and there are kids who can't participate or keep up because they can't run fast or just can't run for very long before losing breath and they get marked down because hey your trying but your unhealthy have fun failing because I have better things to do like yell at people who aren't doing anything wrong.
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  #12    
Old January 13th, 2014 (08:27 AM). Edited January 13th, 2014 by LoudSilence.
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Quote originally posted by The Artist Formerly Known As Shining Raichu:
I firmly believe that PE should be taken out of school curriculums. PE is not encouraging a healthy lifestyle, it's enforcing one. Exercise should be encouraged, not enforced.
Well, what about all the other subjects required in school? Isn't their inclusion in the curriculum "enforcing" one to take notice of them? If we removed PE tomorrow, what about the kids who might only wish to engage in physical activities and not learn about the arts at all -- don't they deserve encouragement rather than deprivation?

That said, our current approach to PE leaves much to be desired. Playing random sports with children of all different physical fitness levels/coordination isn't going to teach anyone anything. More of an emphasis should be put on what goes into fitness, why it matters, and how certain physical activities can help one achieve it. When it comes to actually performing said activities, I think there ought to be multiple "stations" where kids can decide what they want to try and be a part of.
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Old January 13th, 2014 (09:18 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Silais:
I'm conflicted on this. On one hand, I believe that other programs, such as music and art programs, are more important than P.E. because they enrich the mind with material needed later on in life. On the other hand, it's important to emphasize physical education for children because of the obesity problem we have in our country today. There doesn't seem to be much of a good answer to this.

I guess the best-case scenario would be to increase spending on education by decreasing spending on "defense", pump more money into the schools, and allow for P.E. AND art/music classes to exist together in the curriculum. The problem really is that we are not spending enough money on educating our children and as a result they learn less of what they need to when they enter the adult world, including a fitness regime/healthy eating. Look at what we feed our children in schools! Some of the pictures I've seen of school meals are not only disgusting but unrecognizable as food. We are not teaching our children how to take care of themselves.
You deserve a cookie!

But since I moved schools this one has better food, surprisingly great lunches. And I think pel.e
Is okay simce I took it (knda fat over here :/) and was nearly as good as the skin prick athletes in the class. . . . I felt better because it was every other day I would be sweating a river and for all my life I can eat healthy amd exercise but still look fat as hell and stipl weigh high.
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Old January 13th, 2014 (09:20 AM). Edited January 13th, 2014 by Leo the Lion.
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Quote originally posted by Gexeys:
PE rocks, everyone knows that a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing you can do for your body and should, in my opinion take up 1/5th of your time table at school. However the teachers need to be extremely passionate about what they do, it should be more activity based on getting fit rather than learning about the sports. People are overweight due to their own choices, not living a healthy lifestyle, these are the ones who always back out of sport because they don't eat well or exercise at home.


If a young healthy and active child is too lazy to do 2+ hours of sport per week then they've been enforced into a unhealthy lifestyle. If a child is too lazy to be active then it should be enforced, it's unhealthy not to be active.


It is extremely good, I feel you have no idea on how good for the body exercise is, it's not just about one hour of doing something it's about putting someone in the mindset to be active.


Being fat isn't healthy, if the kids were healthy they wouldn't be fat. If a child is too unfit or lazy to do one hours physical work per week, keep in mind that's 1 out of 168 hours of the week how on earth will they be healthy in their life when it's not enforced. It's about being in a mindset.
Sooooooo yeah, we get it, you LOVE PE, but think... What about people that arent as good as you/the media of the school? Like me, for example. I have never played Soccer right, in fact, i hate it. Also, thanks to some acrobatic stuff we did last year my knee dislocated and now I cant skii or do thigs like that. So, why should I be FORCED to play a game/do stuff my physical/psychological condition doesnt let me to? Thats not "learning healthy habits", I can learn healthy habits MYSELF without needing some stupid teacher to force me to play a game i CANT play.
Also, obesity/being fat isnt just about being a lazy, Burger King addict that doesnt do excercise. As someone explains very good in this video, it also involves genetics, illnesses, etc tec tec
Aaaalso, every excess is bad for your health, even excercise. If you push your body to veeeeery far limits, it can break like a wet piece of paper.
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Aaaanyway, it shouldnt be a curriculum asignature, because there are people that do physical activities better than other ones. Luckily, here in Spain isnt a curriculum asignature -.-
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  #15    
Old January 14th, 2014 (11:27 AM). Edited January 14th, 2014 by Gexeys.
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Quote originally posted by The 11th Celebi:
Sooooooo yeah, we get it, you LOVE PE
You shouldn't so rude because I have a valid opinion. Hell, I'm not good at PE, I wasn't even in the top group, I just wasn't lazy.
Quote:
I have never played Soccer right, in fact, i hate it. Also, thanks to some acrobatic stuff we did last year my knee dislocated and now I cant skii or do thigs like that. So, why should I be FORCED to play a game/do stuff my physical/psychological condition doesnt let me to? Thats not "learning healthy habits", I can learn healthy habits MYSELF without needing some stupid teacher to force me to play a game i CANT play.
That point you made about your knee is pointless, if you think you're being forced into it wrongly go see a doctor and get a note to show you teacher, that's really basic stuff. Also the reason why you can't ski is because when skiing a bunch of strain goes on your knees, you can't expect to pitch a baseball with a bad arm can you?
Quote:
Also, obesity/being fat isnt just about being a lazy, Burger King addict that doesnt do excercise. As someone explains very good in this video, it also involves genetics, illnesses, etc tec tec
Yes, yes it is, without being harsh here it really does spiral from laziness, the human body is designed to run and move by a process of millions of years of evolution. It's small amount genetics do affect your body you're right, but anyone with a bit of ambition can easier surpass it, baby's aren't born overweight, genetics don't count towards that much.
Well it's true you can get ill which can stop you being health to an EXTENT, but you know what type of people are less likely to get ill in the first place? Yep, you guessed it, being healthy is actually good for you.
Quote:
Aaaalso, every excess is bad for your health, even excercise. If you push your body to veeeeery far limits, it can break like a wet piece of paper.
Sure but no one with a right mind pushes themselves that far when it comes to being healthy, but there is a huge number of fat people who push their body to the limit. That's because doing things in excess that are good for you is a lot better than people who do excess bad things.
Quote:
Aaaanyway, it shouldnt be a curriculum asignature, because there are people that do physical activities better than other ones. Luckily, here in Spain isnt a curriculum asignature -.-
Yeah people do well in different things, that's how it works, should people who aren't at art be demanding it being taken of the curriculum? No, it's just lazy people.
It seems like you're producing a lot of excuses without a valid argument, just saying.
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Old January 14th, 2014 (06:04 PM).
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I agree that physical activity is really important and that exercise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. A lot of the people that complain about P.E. are just lazy and don't want to get off their butts and get active to be honest.

At the same time, physical activity isn't the same thing as PE. PE is just really ineffective and isn't doing anything toward our obesity problem. I remember spending at least 90% of every class just changing in and changing out, going over rules for a certain sports game, and just standing in a corner to talk to friends. No one actually runs the mile, they just walk it. We're not graded on how athletic we are (at least my school isn't, otherwise it may be different) and everyone got a 100 for effort. It's not effective and honestly the class time could be devoted to something more useful.
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Old January 14th, 2014 (06:36 PM). Edited January 14th, 2014 by Limerent.
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In my opinion it's no-ones business as to why an individual chooses not to participate in physical activity. Everybody is different.

Quote:
Is it a limitation of the right to do with our bodies as we wish?
Health promotion is definitely positive for society and important, but in my belief this supersedes said agenda. Education is vital to give people the best possible chance to live an enlightened and rewarding life IF THEY WANT TO. The obesity epidemic is due to a failure in the education and culture of Western society, a lot of people, particularly in low-socio economic areas will not get a quality education to give them the knowledge or skills to say "Hey, that's bad, I should go for a run and cook a salad", someone working two jobs to pay rent might not have time for that. It certainly doesn't help that we have giant corporations like McDonalds unscrupulously target these people with cheap, ****** food in order to make a buck. There are those out there who actively work against giving people healthy options due to their own greed.

Another major factor to obesity is technology and our new society is the main contributor to why we have these issues. In the past people couldn't get fat because they had to perform labour to make a living, with office jobs and cars that is not the case nowadays. Now that these options are here and so prevalent it's impossible to whisk them away, the only option is adapting to live as healthily as possible with them.

Once education is improved and counter-productive companies/media are forced out of influence then you have a choice: Put in the effort to live a healthy lifestyle or enjoy the wonders of technology, sitting on your ass in front of a TV or computer screen all day eating quick, easy food that is not good for you. If you choose the latter fully aware of the consequences than who am I to judge? Obesity only affects the life of the person affected, if you're happy being fat and dying at forty then you do that. Unfortunately I just told a lie, because society as a whole will degrade, people will be less productive, healthcare would cost us trillions etc. Hence why we try to change the predicted course of society by promoting healthy lifestyles. But if somebody wants to not exercise and be fat what do we do? Harass and slander them, lock them up and put them in camps, please give me an answer.

Whilst I think many people would prefer to have the obvious benefits of living a healthy lifestyle your approach of belittling and nitpicking at those who aren't so proficient or don't enjoy physical activity is completely wrong. Screaming at them to run on a treadmill because you have no difficulty with it really just makes it harder for those who are unhealthy. A more supportive and encouraging approach would work wonders.

Even then, if i'm not physically fit that doesn't mean i'm less of a person than you are. I am so god damn tired of sport or gym junkies who think they are innately superior and that therefore it is ok to look down upon, bully and tease people who are not like them. A persons worth is in no way determined by their fitness level. I'm guessing you have no clue as to what it feels like to be pressured to assimilate into something you don't want or don't like with bullying. That's pretty much school if you aren't the desired profile of being skinny/muscly, fit and attractive. It's not the teachers that encourage this, but rather the children themselves, which reflect the ideals of society as a whole.

Speaking from my experience as an Australian student, the P.D.H.P.E curriculum was good. It had a decent mix of skill practice and knowledge from classroom lessons, and was taught in a very supportive way. You weren't looked down upon by the system for not having a healthy upbringing, no, that is the view that emanated from the fitter students and the media.

For us P.E. was compulsory until Grade 10, and I chose to continue it as an elective. No doubt it is one of the most useful subjects in school to developing a healthy adult lifestyle. P.E. was not simply "Gym class" as I see it portrayed in American movies, it consisted of much more, nutrition, effects of alcohol and drugs, and yes positive effects of exercise was a part of it, although it wasn't senseless dodge-ball, we learnt why it was good and it encouraged how to do it. As such I think yes, it should be compulsory, but only the theory aspects. I can't condone that exercise in schools will separate those who are good at it/enjoy it from those who are not, and the bullying and hate that will follow. We all know how cruel kids can be, if you just genuinely dislike a sport and want to do something else like an art class during practical periods I'd encourage it. Sure, they aren't getting the exercise but doing what you like and being in a happier frame of mind would in my eyes be better than being forced to do something where you get bullied and teased for not being naturally good at it, which would leave much deeper scars and do more harm than good in the long run. Speak to any overweight person and they'll likely say they don't exercise because of how negatively they were treated when trying to do it at school and not being as good as others.

Perhaps if practical classes were broken up into skill brackets and the lower groups did more useful exercise in a more supportive environment it would be better.

I think I have a valuable position on this issue overall. I went to a Sports high school. Half the students there are from the physically elite and want to pursue careers in their chosen sport as professional athletes. The other half, which I am from, were local students who the school had to accept because we lived in the district. It was clear that P.E and Sport got extreme favouritism in the schools agenda over academic performance, and grades suffered because of it. Since when is being able to hit a ball at an elite level more valuable than learning basic English or Maths? Theoretically useful as it is, P.E. deserves no more attention than the other subjects. It's quite sad how under resourced even mainstream subjects were, without going into niches like music or art. I feel that the P.E. faculty domination put every student at a huge disadvantage, especially the ones who didn't like sport but even the athletes didn't get a proper education.

As a kid who didn't like sport much the culture of physical fitness in the Talented Sports Program students was a major factor into me being ostracised and bullied for all of my school life. It's a little more extreme in my case but fitness/appearance is a huge division when it comes to deciding who are the bullies and who are the victims. Obviously we can't wipe out cruelty overall but an environment that doesn't encourage it would be nice. There must be better ways to encourage children to be healthy.

To summarise:
P.E. Theory- Compulsory
P.E Practical- Optional, school makes it a cruel and unusual punishment. If you want to be fit then that's a personal choice, the torment of school sport just leaves negative memories and makes it harder to be healthy.
The subject deserves no more attention than any other.
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  #18    
Old January 14th, 2014 (11:47 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Moogles:
this just in: according to pokecommunity user Silais healthy skills learned in PE aren't needed later on in life yet "art and music" somehow are.
Everyone has their own opinion, dude.

I think physical education is a perfectly valid and beneficial subject. It wasn't my favourite subject (mainly because I wasn't very athletic) but it still taught key knowledge and skills such as how to eat right, how to set up you're own workout schedules, how the body worked; its inuts and outputs. It also develops one's teamwork skills, communicative skills, stamina, gross motor skills etc.

Sure, these things could easily be googled, but so can aspects of other subjects. Sure, some kids may have felt embarassed by their weight and felt vulnerable to bullying, but bullying can be just as prevalent in other subjects as well.
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Old January 18th, 2014 (04:26 AM).
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It shouldn't be required to graduate at least. And they should not force people to participate in things either. If people can only get exercise from P.E at school, then there's a lot of problems with that. It doesn't take much effort to go outside and at least walk. I can understand if they have some problem that's like an injury or any health related issue. But if the person is perfectly capable of doing stuff, then there's no excuse.

But making people take P.E classes and forcing them to do things they don't like? Especially swimming? Not the best way to get kids to learn. Especially if they force someone who can't swim or is afraid of water to get into the pool against their will. That's just mean and not needed.
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Old January 18th, 2014 (06:43 AM). Edited January 18th, 2014 by Spinosaurus.
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Quote originally posted by Mara:
But making people take P.E classes and forcing them to do things they don't like? Especially swimming? Not the best way to get kids to learn. Especially if they force someone who can't swim or is afraid of water to get into the pool against their will. That's just mean and not needed.
Swimming is VERY vital and important. I can easily understand if one has a phobia, but simply not wanting to do it is no excuse. It's not like learning the basics would require much, so what reason would anyone not want to swim, aside from laziness?
I was "forced" to do swimming years back myself, despite not wanting. I was really lazy back then, and even frequently bullied for it, but I had to do it anyway. Know what? I'm very glad I did. I can't fathom skipping swimming classes.

I think P.E is very important (certainly not less than art and...music), but I'm not exactly sure the system we have right now is any good. It's really easy to just...do nothing. Which is annoying and not beneficial at all, since I can't count how many times me and some of my friends actually wanted to play but the others just weren't trying. Boring. It's really fun and educational when we actually do play or when we do exercising tests though, which unfortunately isn't that often.

Also I don't see what's wrong with forcing someone to do P.E. It's not any worse than forcing anyone to do Maths or English or whatever. If you have an injury or are sick, then obviously you'll be excused anyway, but not wanting to do it because you're lazy? That's no good.
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Old January 18th, 2014 (07:55 AM).
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Education, and in extension life in general, is about facing and overcoming challenges and fears. If all we did was let fears control our lives and didn't do what we are 'forced' to do, then we would not be learning very much. Whether it be swimming or PE or any other skill (as Spino and others have pointed out) these are things that may challenge us, but will also benefit us. There's no reason why somebody /shouldn't/ do or learn how to do physical activity. If they're self-conscious or are unconfident about their ability to perform, that's even more reason to do it in the first place. If people are being bullied for their 'unsatisfactory' PE skills, then change the bullies or the victim, not the education.
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Old January 19th, 2014 (09:44 PM).
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The point of an education is to be well rounded. That involves everything - PE, the arts, sciences, mathematics, the humanities. That's the idea. And a healthy body is just as important as a healthy mind. Yes, you'll have to suck it up and play dodgeball.
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Old January 20th, 2014 (12:39 AM).
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I believe that if the educational system is going to compel the participation in P.E., then there has to be improvements in that arena. P.E. should be an hour block that the entire class level shares, where there are activities that everyone can enjoy. This ranges from low impact activities like joining other students and faculty in walking a set distance, to higher activity games as well. No one student should be forced to participate in activities they feel are beyond their fitness level. Only a small percentage of Grades given in P.E. should be given depending on the amount improvement of their fitness level during the grading period. Any improvement, and participation should be graded instead, with bonuses for choosing to participate out of your "comfort zone"

While I am perfectly happy with encouraging a healthy amount of activity and lifestyle, it should never be forced on students, and should only be a means to teach kids what they can do to stay healthy. A large part of me believes that P.E. should incorporate more of a "Health" class aspect too, with such things being taught throughout the course of P.E. instead of in all one class block.
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Old January 20th, 2014 (12:07 PM).
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What's interesting to me is how there's so much talk about people being "forced" to do PE. I know I do this a lot, and perhaps I do it too much, but let me offer a comparison: China (seriously though it can be very insightful to look outside your own culture and be aware of underlying assumptions in your thinking).

Back in my parents' day and back when I was a child (I don't know about this past decade, although there's no big reason to think anything would change), PE was a very big part of Chinese education (I don't even think I can say this. All I can really say that PE is a more deeply entrenched social institution compared to how those in North America perceive it, I'm not saying that PE has any special kind of emphasis in Chinese primary education per se). What happens is that there would be group exercises for recess and all the students would go out to the front yard and do calisthenics. There just isn't the concept of sitting out. I don't think it's that sitting out isn't an option so much that sitting out isn't something that people think about. What I take away from this is that people just don't conceive PE as something that's forced upon them - sure they might have days that they don't feel like getting up and moving but whether they did it anyways or sat out isn't as important as the fact that participation is the norm, not the right to refuse.

I don't believe that there are many hard and fast rules in society, our behavior is mostly guided by norms. But when it's normal to sit out on things and refuse - what's important isn't whether the refusal is justified or not but that refusing things for whatever reason is perceived as normal and not questioned - well, people simply aren't going to do things. And no matter how you encourage PE or make it look good people are going to sit out because the mindset is that this thing threatens them and forcing people to do things they don't want is bad and this thing makes them feel bad and people are telling them they should do it but then it's forcing them and so they should avoid it. People do (and don't) things because they find it normal, and while this doesn't have any rhyme or reason it's part of human nature, we tend to go with the flow.

Individualism and the fear of being forced to do things are values of Western culture. What I'm proposing now is as long as these attitudes and mindsets are mainstream, there might not be much we can do about the issue of encouraging PE, or exercise or healthy lifestyles in general. When the paradigm - especially what we care most about - is personal "sovereignty", people and ideas which disagree with you are going to be viewed as threats, and "me myself and I"* is going to be viewed as a bastion to which you retreat from said threats. I think society should put less emphasis on this way of thinking.

*I'm speaking critically of individualism in this context because one can be a terrible judge of their own fitness ability and potential - especially if they have a low knowledge base as well as poor self-esteem. Anybody with the slimmest amount of experience with the military can attest to the importance of others bringing out the best in you. Is your section being too slack? Motivate them! A person is not the only, let alone the best, judge of themselves.
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Old January 20th, 2014 (12:22 PM).
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My thing - work out 20 minutes a day, take up at least (≥) one (1) sport in high school (yes, marching band counts), and figure out what you like, and stick to that. If you hate anything more than that, don't do it. No amount of PE bs will convince me American Football or soccer is the **** if I don't already think that before I took PE.

And I don't think it's that broken anyways – if I take 4 years of Marching Band (a sport I like) I can be exempt from PE for the four years at high school (and I have been), and if I liked football they could exempt me from the PE credits if I take four years of football. Sports are an integral part of having a well-rounded education, and you don't have to hate yourself in shorts almost pooping yourself running for 2 whole years to get that part of education. So don't do that, and instead find a sport you like.
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