2/17/2016

Why Physical Education should not be graded

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Hey everybody!
Since we got our school certificate a few weeks ago, I had been thinking about my P.E. grade. Although it is not a bad grade, I am not happy with it and do not feal treated fairly with it. While searching for ways to improve the grade, I came across some articles talking about whether Physical Education should be graded or not.
This article is not about Physical Education should exist as a subject in school. I certainly think, that it should exist, because  to my mind, doing sport very important but not considered enough by a lot of students. Because the majority of student does not engage in physical activities, it is a important task of school to ensure at least some physical activity. 

What I would the purpose of Physical Education in school assume to be is to teach the students about a specific sport to make them learn it and raise at least to a basic level in this sport. Judjing from the Physical Eduaction class, I experience at my school, this is impossible. At least for people, who do not engage in the sport in their freetime. 
We have approximately 4 to 5 classes about 80 minutes each to learn and improve in a sport. At the end, we should show improved results and a basical performance in the sport. Let's say, for example that the sport, we approache is badminton. Considering the time we need to change clothes, listen to the teacher's instructions and arrange the required material, we have about 60 minutes in each class for playing badminton. As our gymnasium is way too small for a whole class of students to play badminton in, we would take turns in playing. So, every student would have about 30 to 40 minutes each class to practice and this 4 to 5 time until a remarkable improvement should be seen,
Practicing a sport means for the most students practing from scratch. With minimal knowledge of the sport and it's rules jumping right into the topic. P.E. class, however, does not focus on learning from scratch and improving basic techniques but acquireing harder techniques and strategies. Students, who did not really engage in the sport before, do not really have a chance to improve it within this small amount of time.
Whether somebody suceeds in the class depends on whether the students is focussed on sport and engages in a club in the freetime or not. People doing so spend lots of time in this clubs and did learn the sport from scratch. This people, however, are certainly not focussed on school. As for my class, all of the students (I am not kidding, it were litterary all of them), who are good in P.E. have a low GPA of about 1.0 to 2.0.

Now, one could argue, that students, who do not engage in physical activities in their freetime should practice the sport as they practice for other subjects. In case, P.E. is the subject, that is the hardest to train for. Whereas other subjects only require the given study material to prepare for class properly, learning a sport is way harder. First of all, you would need a specific sports field or training enovirement, next to the specific gadgets like certain bats or balls. Furthermore, most sports teached in P.E. can only be played with a parter or in a team, what is hard to put into practice in a normal student's everyday life. 
Besides that, how much success you have in your training is more variable in P.E. than in any other subject. In other subjects, like history, all of the students are learning the topic from they beginning. They get the same study materials, have the same book, etc. Although some students may already have some knowledge about the topic, the other students are definitely able to study the content properly. As all of them have the same material, everyone has the same starting conditions. In P.E., however, the factors, a student's success is dependent on are mainly this student's leisure activities (whether the person is doing sports in their freetime) and their given physical condition. There are people smaller or thinner that other, people who do not have that much power in their legs or that much endurance. Especially for the physical conditions of boys and girls, there are significant diffrences. Some people cannot throw a ball so hard and this people then fail in P.E.
One could argue now, that P.E. also evaluates a persons social behaviour and willingness to improve, but I cannot agree with that at all. In my class, a boy with average to 'improvable' social skills got the best grade possible and another boy who does not show any social skills at all got the seccond grade possible. All of the girls got around a B.

What is evaluated in P.E. is the student's freetime activities and physical conditions.
This is, why it should not be graded.
Note: Unfortunately, a lot of teachers are trying to fix this proplem by giving only grades better that C, what is not improving anything at all.

So, what do you think about this rather controversial topic?
Whatever your opinion is, I hope you have a nice day and I'll see you tomorrow

2 comments :

  1. First of all, congratulations on your good English. It appears you either spent a lot of time learning and found a good subject to focus on or you are a native speaker. Either way, good skill to have.

    However, I must wholeheartedly disagree with your opinion on p.e. You spent quite a lot of text on one single argument: that receiving a grade in p.e. is mere recognition of those students who already are training. Nothing could be further from the truth! Curricula nowadays boast quite a widespread selection of different sports. Concerning your badminton example, I agree that it is near impossible to improve outside of p. e. classes because the prerequisites for training cannot be found easily; be it rackets, shuttles, nets or even just enough space.

    1.) However, there are so much more kinds of sport that can easily be trained at home, at a local playground on a schoolyard or any other place.

    2.) It is quite unlikely that there are students who practice all the sports which are p. e. subjects. Thus, it is impossible that only the good ones receive good grades all the way. The soccer player from a private club will face severe difficulties when first having to come to terms with a badminton racket. A superb and well trained swimmer is not automatically a good show in track&fields. Every student will at some point of time or another experience the awkward feeling of getting to know a movement that is completely new to him or a sports game with totally new rules. After all, that is the basic sense of p. e.!

    3.) Should one be given grades for getting to know new stuff in p. e.? Before answering, let me ask another question: Should one be given grades for getting to know new stuff in maths? In history? In physics? Result is that, yes, definitely! Why should p. e. be an exception? Just because some do have better access to training resources? Then, should there be grades in English, just because some people have better access to English literature than others? Or are willing to use e. g. the internet for doing self study? Of course there should! After all, were talking about external motivation; sure it would be one easy life if every student were motivated in every subject at school. Fact is, it is not.

    Did you actually read the blog post in which you published the link to your own? If you had done so, maybe you would have corrected one or two sentences in yours...

    Anyway, if you´re interested I would be most happy to continue this discussion.

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    1. You forgot to discern between mental and physical learning capabilities. For academical subjects that mostly consist of mental learning, there's an average capacity fairly comparable between most humans. Also it is trained constantly every day by learning new things either by own curiosity or by sitting around in some kind of education facility.
      But physical learning, i.E. the acquirement of new motion complexes and training of muscle groups is quite different. It basically exists to help humans adapt to new environments with other challenges. But how could one adapt to something he only gets in touch with 3 times á 90 minutes over a few weeks? Some can, others obviously can't. But why shouldn't they also get the opportunity to still find their fun with some particular sport? Just because they couldn't ever be compared to a professional or some grading table from the time of civil war?
      PE shouldn't be a graded school subject because it degrades its purpose. It's to help the pupils live a healthier life and find fun in different sport disciplines, and not see it as another boring subject they've always had bad grades at.
      Your whole misconception is that students with bad PE grades aren't interested in physical exercise and now should be punished, which isn't true. Often, they where simply left behind at some point in or after primary school and never caught up again, because they've had no support to start exercising again, particularly because they where simply teased by classmates and resigned by the the huge margin they had to improve their performance in order to only get some slightly better mark.

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