The Instigator
natoast
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
zgb1997
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Its acceptable to require students to participate in P.E.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/30/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,063 times Debate No: 28772
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

natoast

Pro

I want to debate this from a philosophical point of view, not a political one. I will be supporting that it is acceptable to require P.E for students, con that it is not. Nothing else to say, except accept.
zgb1997

Con

I accept this challenge and impatiently await my opponent's round 2 argumentation.
Debate Round No. 1
natoast

Pro

It seems to me that the major opposition to P.E is the discrimination of the unfit. Some may find it offensive to be forced to participate in physical activities when they are unfit, and worse at the activities then their peers. Of course, it would be possible to rectify this by simply grading the students based on effort, as opposed to actual performance, but I believe that even this is unnecessary. The entire institution of school is based on comparing the abilities of a student to his peers. Although in normal classes compare the brains, and not the bodies, of students, the principle is the same. A person that is less intelligent then his fellow students in class is in the same position as an unfit child in P.E. In fact, I feel that it is more difficult to control your own intelligence then it is your fitness. The purpose of a grade school is to prepare kids for their future. Of course I would say that intelligence is more important then physical strength in life, I would in no way say that physical strength is useless. If weight or muscle weakness gets to extreme, it can make a persons day to day life significantly more difficult. Also, in most cases, people will feel more comfortable around people who are average or above average physically, witch can be handy in a job dealing with people, like a receptionist or sales rep.
So to conclude, P.E should not be considered wrong because of it's discriminating factors, as school is based is similar principals, and being physically phit can be a positive force in a persons life.
zgb1997

Con

I thank my opponent for presenting his arguments and will now present my rebuttal.

Without further ado, I shall begin said rebuttal.

The first point heard from my opponent is the fact that the idea of schooling is based on comparing one to his peers; the only difference of P.E. from oter subjects being the fact that bodily ability is compared instead of knowledge.
However, the problem lies in that very fact. Comparing people based on their skills in physical activities is unfair due to more than one reason.

To begin with, in many countries, one's grade in P.E. counts towards the final average grade. It is unfair that one, who might be just as capable and knowledgeable (or even more so) than his fellow students, should have a lower final average due to, for example, not being able to grasp the basics of a certain sport. What we must discuss here are priorities. Why should it be a priority for children to know moves in basketball, handball, etc.? Why should they necessarily have to be able to do a certain number of sit-ups? Why should we grade them based on that and how is it relevant?

Schools are meant to educate children. How strong or physically able one is depends mostly in one's inborn traits, and on one's lifestyle to an extent. The idea of grading person X better than person Y just because he is more talented in a certain irrelevant activity is unfair. Furthermore, schools are not here to tell people how to live their lives - grading one based on physical exercise is, basically, sending a message that one must spend his time on improving his physical traits to better complete his education. This falls under one's personal jurisdiction; everyone is entitled to manage their body howevery they want and it is not the school's job to meddle with this.

Finally, my opponent states that physical exercise is good for one's body, which is true. That is why the school, as per its function as an institution, should offer children the chance to participate in physical exercise and activities. However, such activities ought not to be compulsory, for they are irrelevant to one's education. As for discriminating factors, such factors do exist. I've witnessed more than once the sight of children sitting on the sidelines, being ridiculed by their peers. Why? Because they couldn't play football (or whichever sport) just as well. Thus, I am compelled to ask my opponent what effect exactly does compulsory P.E. have, except what I've now stated?


To conclude, P.E. shouldn't be compulsory due to the fact that's it is irrelevant to one's education, as well as producing no visible positive effects. It is unfair to grade somebody based on traits that are either not completely under his control, or based on one's management of his own body.

Back to my opponent.

Debate Round No. 2
natoast

Pro

Here your arguments as I see them:
1) It is unfair for an intelligent person to have his/her grade lowered because he/she cannot grasp a sport or is bad at said sport.
2) grading a person on ones inborn traits is wrong.
3) grading students based on their physical abilities is attempting to control their lifestyle, witch a school shouldn't do.
4) a school is a place for education, and physical activities do not relate to this, so they should not be required in schools.
If this is the correct summary of your argument, then here is my rebuttal.

1) First of all, your comment about intelligent kids not grasping the basics of a sport seems kind of paradoxical. If the student is unable to comprehend the basic rules of a system, then they probably won't be particularly competent In the real world. Also, I could say the same thing about math; it's unfair that a perfectly knowledgeable persons grade is brought down just because they can't do mental math well. If you accept that all the graded subjects are approximately equal in importance, then it is acceptable to bring their grade down if they do poorly.

2) I brought this up in my previous argument. Ones mental capabilities is equally, if not more, based of their genetics as their physical characteristics. If we consider this discrimination wrong at it's core, then we would have to consider all forms of grading as discrimination.

3) Again, this is nothing that regular schooling doesn't do. Any class will send a message to a kid that they should be using their time studying and learning about that subject, as opposed to other things. If you accept that gym is wrong because of this, then your also saying that its wrong to teach kids anything.

4) I think that it is flawed to say the only, or even primary, purpose of grade school is education. An institution that has no purpose but to give children knowledge would not be particularly helpful. The primary purpose of grade school is to prepare the students for their lives ahead. This might mean college, witch really is just an institution to give students knowledge, or it could be a less glamorous future, like a desk job, or a construction worker. And in some jobs, your physical appearance and capabilities is equally important as your mental capabilities. Also, in general, people who are healthier lead happier lives.

I feel that my rebuttals do a fairly good job at summarizing my arguments. I'd also like to raise another point. Americans are not in the best of shape. I'm not going to provide a source for this, but I hope you know this already. Perhaps it would be good if the nations youth where encouraged to get in shape. Other then that, on to con.
zgb1997

Con

I thank my opponent for his rebuttal and will now present my own.
Since he took the time to sort his rebuttal by points, I will reply in the same manner.

1) My opponent, unfortunately, seems to have misunderstood what I was trying to say. Everyone can indeed grasp the rules of any sport. What I meant to say was that, for example, an extremely short child will never be good at basketball, no matter how hard he tries. Furthermore, some children are simply scared of doing certain activities. Indeed, many children are afraid to play football, handball, basketball, etc., as well as doing certain exercises. Certain very much irrelevant activities. What does one accomplish except causing children distress? How exactly will the children profit? They will only have lower grades based on an irrelevant and unimportant subject - please, convince me how this fulfills the goals of edcation.

2) One's mental capabilities are indeed based on genetics and inborn traits. Because of this, some possess more talents for certain subjects. However, this doesn't mean they cannot learn other subjects. A person with a talent for mathematics will most likely have a job based on mathematics, but he can still have perfectly good grades in other subjects. In P.E. this is not the case, as I've explained with the example concerning basketball in the first paragraph.
Furthermore, there is also another type of discrimination. I have yet to see bullying and ridicule based on someone not understanding calculus and algebra. However, ridicule based on physical capabilities and interest in sports is common - nay, endemic - in schools. We are talking about a problem that we tried so hard to solve. We are talking about emotional distress.

3) There is a reason why schooling has been compulsory for hundreds of years, while going to the gym has never been. This is because the matter of handling one's body is not the job of the school, the city, or the state. It is the job of the individual. Learning is necessary because one must be taught the understanding of the world that the human race currently possesses to be able to keep up with modern society. Also, schools, as per their role, should indeed offer an opportunity for children to do exercise. They should not, however, force it to be compulsory and stick their noses in someone else's privacy considering the managment of one's body.

4 It is true that education is not the sole purpose of schools. Schools also serve to teach children good behavior, respect for their elders, etc. - social skills. That much is true. The role of schools is also, as I've mentioned in the previous paragraph, to offer an opportunity to exercise. This is, however, where the role, and responsibility, of schools ends.
School indeed should prepare students for their future lives - this is why they offer a wide scope of learning. But, even in the jobs my oppoent mentions, physical strength is not primary. Even in the job of a construction worker, it is primary to understand the materials one works with, their properties, the risks of the job etc. Strength would come in handy, sure, but it is not a necessary prerequisite. It is up to the person to change their life habits if they want to have a greater muscular mass and work more easily, but it is not a necessity.
As for health and a healthy lifestyle - this requires much more than just P.E., and it is also questionable whether P.E. helps even one bit, as I will explain in the answer to my opponent's last point.

My opponent raises the point of health of USA citizens, so I shall deal with it as well. To begin with, P.E. is a high school graduation requirement. Doesn't seem to have helped them much.
Furthermore, P.E. isn't efficient. There are kids who are good at physical activities, and kids who are not and generally sit on the sidelines or are forced to attempt exercises they will most likely never succeed at. The fit kids stay fit, the unfit ones stay unfit. Nothing really changes, except minutes wasted on the subject.


To summarize, my opponent wants to make compulsory a subject that enforces lifestyle, causes distress and bullying, and more; while at the same time being irrelevant and unimportant. The cons outweigh the pros.
An opportunity to participate in such a subject should be offered, but nothing more. Why make compulsory (causing many side effects in the process) a subject that has no real use? My opponent must show why, exactly, P.E. is important, to even be able to argue why it should be compulsory. Otherwise, as I've said, the pros outweigh the cons.

Back to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 3
natoast

Pro

natoast forfeited this round.
zgb1997

Con

I extend my arguments due to my opponent forfeiting.
Debate Round No. 4
natoast

Pro

I apologize for forfeiting round 4. I've been busy lately, and didn't have an opportunity to make a response. I suppose conduct should go to con for that. Anyways, to continue the pattern, I'll respond directly to your counter arguments. Since it is the last round, I won't introduce any new arguments and I hope you will do the same.

1) So your saying that some people will never be able to be good at a sport, because of some trait like shortness, and that P.E just causes distress I these people. the problem with these arguments is that they don't apply only to P.E. They also are perfectly applicable to any class. Some children are fundamentally less capable to learn, and this will certainly cause them distress when they can't get good grades no matter how hard they try. This would probably cause more distress in many people then simply having to play soccer.

2) You said that a person with a talent for mathematics can still have perfectly good grades in other subjects. But this logic doesn't follow. If a person can be better in a particular subject, then they could also be worse. What if that person, because of the way their brain works, cannot grasp reading or writing. They will struggle in that class and won't be able to succeed because of the way they are born. They can't just magically learn it because their genetics won't allow it. And about your bullying argument, where are you from? Where I live, the sports teams are constantly getting bullied by the science club. The chess team goes around giving oral tests on calculus of variations and beating you up if you fail. WITH MATH. But lets assume that you live in a backwards town where the strong rule the weak. Generally a person who is incapable of participating in a sport is going to get bullied regardless of whether they participate in gym. Their physically weakness will probably be obvious whether or not they're in P.E.

3,4) school is not an institution designed to allow students to keep up with modern society as you say. That is a rather ambiguous statement witch doesn't quite seem necessary. Schools are institutions to prepare students for their careers.
For some, this means preparing them for college and a career that requires an extensive knowledge base. But for others, this is just a basic knowledge of reading and writing, while social and physical aspects will be a more important part of their career. You tried to explain how a construction worker would need knowledge of the nature of construction in order to do their job. But that is the job of the architect. The construction worker has a much more menial purpose, putting together materials the way the architect says. some jobs simply don't require intelligence.
That is all.
zgb1997

Con

I thank my opponent for presenting is final exposition, and for the debate.
I'll now proceed to offer my rebuttal.


1) As I've already mentioned, it is true that some students are more suited to certain subject, whereas others are not. However, harder work in subjects that one is less talented for can, and will, produce satisfactory results. On the other hand, one cannot become taller, shorter etc. through hard work. Even though most subjects are biased due to some traits, P.E. exceeds the acceptable level.
And again, I've yet to see a student teased by his peers due to a low understanding of algebra.


2) A person who cannot grasp reading or writing most likely has a learning disorder (dyslexia or the like). However, normal physical traits differ from person to person, and despite being perfectly normal, still do not allow for some activities.
Furthermore, you seem to be living in a very nice town - bullying due to physical traits and inability in sports is a major issue in most schools, in the USA as well as in other countries. There are always exceptions, but bullyng due to such traits is an issue.
Finally, if a person is incapable of participating in a sport, they shoudn't be forced to make that obvious for no reson.
Those who wish to practice sports can participate in P.E., those who cannot do not have to - it is the best solution.
Handling one's body isn't a matter of the school, rather of the individual, and the subject itself is irrelevant.

I do not support discontinuing P.E. It should - nay, must - be available. But not mandatory.

3), 4) Schools are institutions which exist to give students necessary education and general skills so they could later specialize. In such a system, P.E. is irrelevant.
Furthermore, some jobs do indeed require more physical force, but it is not a universal requirement. One is more likely to be chosen for the job because they understand their role, know how to cooperate with their co-workers and so on, which are all values that schools, as social institutions, must instill.
If one wishes to improve their strength afterwards, they can, and will likely be encouraged. That doesn't mean, however, that physical strength is a universal necessity for such jobs.


To conclude, my opponent failed to present any decisive arguments as to why P.E. should be compulsory. I have own that P.E. as a secondary subject which students may attend at will fulfills the role of the school in providing such a service and allows students who wish to participate in sports and recreation to do so.
P.E. as a compulsory subject holds no advantages over P.E. as a secondary subject - it carries more cons, though, as I've elaborated.
In the end, I've presented a better solution which offers the same benefits without the bad sides of compulsory P.E., and that is why I urge voters to vote con!
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by natoast 4 years ago
natoast
woops
Posted by natoast 4 years ago
natoast
well that's never happened to me before
Posted by natoast 4 years ago
natoast
well that's never happened to me before
Posted by natoast 4 years ago
natoast
well that's never happened to me before
Posted by zgb1997 4 years ago
zgb1997
In my last sentence I accidentally said that "the pros outweigh the cons". This is a typing mistake, it should have been the other way around. I apologize for this error.
No votes have been placed for this debate.