The Instigator
Jake26
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
JayShay
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Should P.E. be made optional?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
JayShay
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 757 times Debate No: 85598
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

Jake26

Pro

Under no circumstances am I saying that we should abolish P.E., I just think that it's not right to be forced to do push ups in a muddy field while it's raining, thus it should be optional. I know that P.E. has its advantages and that some people do like it which is why I want to know your opinion, particularly if you disagree with me, and I will respond.
JayShay

Con

Hello! I accept your challenge. I look forward to an interesting debate.

I will argue that physical education should not be optional.

For sake of convenience I will now address physical education as P.E.

It seems to me that fewer children are finding the time to exercise on their own. When I grew up, being part of school athletics was commonplace. Nowadays, it appears kids are replacing school sports and fresh air with Twitter and Snapchat. Making P.E. a mandatory aspect of kids' education can only better their lives by promoting a healthy lifestyle. The more that kids are exposed to an environment that encourages exercise, the more likely they are to continue these healthy habits outside of school and into their adulthood.

I will address the claim that kids are "forced to do push ups in a muddy field while it's raining." I am under the assumption that if it is raining, the class will either be canceled or it will conduct activities indoors, usually in their gymnasium. If kids are actually being "forced to do push ups" or other strenuous activities that surpass their physical capabilities (such as forcing an overweight child with asthma to run a mile under 8 minutes), that is child abuse and is an issue with that specific gym teacher. If the school's administration was aware of a gym teacher forcing kids to work beyond their maximum output, placing the children in a dangerous physical state, they would have to fire that gym teacher. In a healthy P.E. class, kids are only asked to try their best, and are not forced to do more than they can and want.

If we want future generations to be strong and healthy, we must start them off right and provide them with physical education and teach them how to live long and healthy lives. Therefore, P.E. should not be optional.

I eagerly await my opponent's response!
Debate Round No. 1
Jake26

Pro

Thank you for commenting and accepting my debate. I understand your point about modern day technology, however I will say that it does not 'better all children's' lives' because there are a number of reasons why children would dread P.E (will be explained throughout the debate). and, as a consequence, dread school. If they dread school, then they will be less likely to attend, which will then affect their grades in every other subject which then could have a negative impact on peoples' lives. Also, this dread of P.E. can then lead to a dread of exercise in general which then means that people will actually be less likely to exercise in adulthood. Please read this article: 'http://www.theguardian.com...' which highlights the fact that some children are put off exercising when they are older because of their experience in PE, therefore it actually does the opposite of what most people think and what it should be doing.

With regard to the second comment, perhaps me saying that kids are 'forced to do push ups in a muddy field' was a little bit harsh. I am currently in year 9 and I do P.E. twice a week, yesterday, it was raining and windy and only 4 degrees outside, but we still had to go out and play hockey on the wet and slippery concrete in just shorts and a t-shirt (optional fleece, but very expensive) which is, in itself, a safety risk, due to the risk of slipping. Push ups are sometimes used as a warm up activity or a punishment, which I don't feel is right. While we are not technically 'forced' to do push ups, if we don't, then we could receive a detention etc. And all of the embarrassment of having to explain to the teacher in front of a class of 30 boys why you refuse to do the push ups.

I look forward to a response.
JayShay

Con

In Pro's opening statements of round two, he conjures a list of irrational assumptions which I will compile in order to understanding what is being implied. Pro assumes that kids dread P.E., leading them to dread school in general, causing them to skip school altogether, leading them to fail school. If every kid that ever dreaded P.E. dropped out of school, barely any kids would be receiving their diplomas as P.E. is usually not at the top of kids' most dreaded class. I think most people would agree that some of the most dreaded subjects in school tend to overwhelmingly be math, science, history and English, due to the tedious memorization and lengthy "find x" problems. P.E. is not a subject that is often dreaded by entire generations of kids, especially not nearly as much as the other school subjects I listed.

My opponent included a short article from The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com...), writing that it "highlights the fact that some children are put off exercising when they are older because of their experience in PE." This is a poor representation of the article. The article, titled "School PE lessons putting girls off sport," demonstrates that girls are not as motivated to participate in P.E. as much as boys, which has been well known for some time. This situation is by no means calling for schools to make P.E. optional, but rather to incorporate new activities that girls will be more excited to partake in. More schools should introduce new types of activities into the P.E. curriculum that girls are known to find more enjoyable, such as tennis, swimming, running and Zumba (as shown in a report cited in the article). Clearly, building tennis courts or lap pools may not be an option for some schools due to the cost, but there are many activities which would require little to no cost that girls would express greater interest in, like jogging and dancing. Yes, "Girls are being deterred from participating in sport by their experiences in school PE lesson," according to the report that the article quotes. But this is because schools are not catering their P.E. activities equally to girls as they are to boys. I find it difficult to imagine how making P.E. optional would somehow improve this situation.

I commend pro for noting the extremeness of the example made in round one of being forced to do push ups in a muddy field. Pro mentioned how his P.E. class went outside to play hockey in four degree weather and slippery conditions, noting it was "a safety risk, due to the risk of slipping." When I brought up the danger of overworking oneself in round one, I was referring to risks to one's life, such as not being able to breathe or falling unconscious due to exhaustion, rather than minor risks like a knee scrape. Whenever kids are running around in close proximity, there will always be the risk of slipping or bumping into each other.

My opponent states that at his school "Push ups are sometimes used as a warm up activity or a punishment." I request that my opponent specify what he means by "punishment." When I ran cross country in middle school, my team often played a game of tag where we had to constantly run in place whenever we weren't chasing somebody. If our coach caught us walking, we had to run a lap. This was technically our "punishment." I believe that my opponent's usage of the term "punishment" coincides with that of mine. My coach was an authority figure, like a teacher, so of course I would listen to him and do what he asked. But if a kid refused to run a lap because of exhaustion, dehydration, illness, etc., my coach would understand and dismiss the kid. I hope this is also the case with my opponent's P.E. teacher.

Let's humor ourselves and say that tomorrow P.E. was made optional across all schools. Kids would realize that whether they attend P.E. or not has absolutely no effect on their academics. Ergo why sacrifice time and energy if it doesn't reward them with a good grade? I think my opponent will agree that it is difficult to get kids to do much without some sort of reward or incentive. Once a few kids decide to quit attending P.E., so will their friends. Eventually, the only people who will willingly attend P.E. may feel awkward, uncomfortable and be viewed by others as the teacher's pet. No kid wants to stick out for the wrong reasons. After just a couple weeks, all the kids in a given school could stop going to P.E. altogether.

Exercise is simply full of short term and long term benefits. Medline Plus lists just a few common benefits of exercise among children. Exercise helps kids "Feel less stressed, feel better about themselves, feel more ready to learn in school, keep a healthy weight, build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints and sleep better at night" (https://www.nlm.nih.gov...). Anything that would help kids reach these goals, such as P.E., must be utilized.

P.E. should not be optional.
Debate Round No. 2
Jake26

Pro

No, I don't 'assume kids dread P.E.' - I am a kid and I do dread P.E.
Let me ask you a question:
What subjects helped you to get to where to are today?
A. Maths, English, Science and History.
Or
B. P.E.

The reason why I included that article was because it shows that sometimes P.E. has adverse consequences and makes people want to exercise less, it also shows that your original point: "The more that kids are exposed to an environment that encourages exercise, the more likely they are to continue these healthy habits outside of school and into their adulthood." is wrong and invalid. I'm not saying that making P.E. optional would improve the situation, I was using the article to show that your reasoning behind keeping P.E. compulsory is wrong and invalid.
"But this is because schools are not catering their P.E. activities equally to girls as they are to boys" - does this mean that school P.E. departments are sexist?

" Whenever kids are running around in close proximity, there will always be the risk of slipping or bumping into each other." - Well there we go, I do not want to do P.E. due to the safety risks involved.

Punishment - Example: "The last person to sit down does ten push ups". "If you don't do the warm up activity properly then you will do 20 push ups".

Your last comment is also slightly invalid, because I still have to do P.E. in years 10 and 11, but I still don't get a grade from it. Nevertheless, I turn up to the lessons. If P.E. was to be made optional, then the kids who chose to pick it would still get a GCSE in it. I think that you have 'conjured a list of irrational assumptions', as people like me are in the minority, and I would assume that over 50% would continue on with P.E. Your assumption that P.E. would be unattended if we let it become optional is wrong, because there are many other subjects that are optional (Geography, History, M.F.L., R.E., I.T. are just a few examples), yet none of them are unattended.

"No kid wants to stick out for the wrong reasons" - Well, in some cases, P.E. allows for bullying of people whether that be due to weight, sexuality or fitness ability, thus certain groups would 'stick out for the wrong reasons' if P.E. was to carry on being mandatory (a reason why P.E. isn't good). Personally, I am terrible at sport and my fitness ability is poor, thus I feel humiliated having to do sport in front of my peers and I feel that I 'stick out for the wrong reasons'.

I have read the brief article and I do not think that PE helps me to feel less stressed because I dread going to the lessons and due to the bullying it promotes it can actually make kids feel worse about themselves, which is not good. I think that the article was talking about exercising in a non-school environment. Exercising in school does not help me to exercise out of school because we spend 3 weeks on each activity before moving onto the next without any theory lessons or background to the sport, thus it's difficult to gain a full understanding of each sport - going back to my point about P.E. being a waste of time for some.

I would like to conclude with a question:
- How would you like to spend 2 hours a week outside playing hockey in poor weather?

P.E. should be optional.
JayShay

Con

Pro asks me "What subjects helped you to get to where to are today? A). Maths, English, Science and History or B). P.E. I would answer with choice C. All of the above. But what does this matter? Say I had chosen answer "A." So what? I do not represent the majority of kids.

My opponent states that my point "The more that kids are exposed to an environment that encourages exercise, the more likely they are to continue these healthy habits outside of school and into their adulthood" is wrong and invalid, saying the article he posted shows P.E. can have "adverse consequences." This logic equates to nothing. Anything can be shown to have "adverse consequences." What matters is whether the majority of kids are benefiting. Are most kids benefiting from P.E.? Science says yes, overwhelmingly. "...what everybody does agree on is the importance of PE. Adults may look back ruefully to being made to exercise in their underpants or do punishment laps of a field, but few would dispute the long-term benefits." This BBC article highlights just a few of the long-term benefits of P.E. "Getting used to exercise helps avoid injuries later in life. Even basic routines like improving balance can be vital to developing children" (http://www.bbc.com...).

Pro addresses my comment regarding his Guardian article, where I said that the report in the article showed that girls are being deterred from P.E. due to a lack of activities that cater to their interests versus the amount of activities available for boys. Pro then asks "does this mean school P.E. departments are sexist?" Yes, actually, it does. Not intentionally, this is just the way it has always been. Historically, sports have been and still are a male-dominant activity. But this is getting into a different debate. Besides, the article Pro cited is irrelevant to the nature of this debate. The sole purpose of it was to point out the lack of P.E. activities that girls enjoy, which has been a known issue for years. Pro admitted that making P.E. optional (the crux of this debate) would not help this situation. So let"s move on from this article and discuss matters relevant to this debate.

My opponent writes that because of the risk of slipping and bumping into each other, he wishes to excuse himself from P.E. I pay Pro the compliment of assuming he does not literally live a life of fear. Look hard enough and you can find risks behind anything. If one is so concerned for his safety that the fear of bumping into another kid is enough to stop him from wanting to attend P.E., how does one cross a street without the fear of getting hit by a car? How does one slice bread without the fear of getting a cut? If someone lives like this, I recommend seeking help.

Pro writes that if P.E. was optional, at least 50% of kids at a given school would continue attending P.E. What concerns me is the rest of the kids who would be missing out on an education in exercise and healthy living. The likely outcome will be that most of the kids who continue going to P.E. are already athletic and go because they enjoy sports and physical activity, while the kids who don't go will likely be those who need P.E. but struggle in seeking the motivation.

The claim that P.E. should be optional because bullying happens is nonsensical. In schools around the world, bullying is going to happen and we must accept that, regardless of its unfortunate nature. Bullying happens in English class when people stick out for not being as competent at reading. Bullying happens in math class when people stick out for not being as good at multiplying. Does this mean bullying is ok? No. But bullying is not a class specific activity that only happens in, say, P.E. Bullying happens at all places and all times; during lunch, in the hallways, during class, on the bus, etc. My opponent writes "I feel humiliated having to do sport in front of my peers." Pro is using a fallacy called the appeal to pity. I am genuinely sorry that my opponent has had poor experiences in his P.E. class. But we mustn't rely on personal experiences. There were times when I dreaded my science class to the point where I didn't even want to go. But that is no reason to say that attendance should be optional.

My opponent is relying heavily on the anecdotal fallacy, using personal experience in an attempt to strengthen his argument instead of presenting compelling reason or evidence to show that making P.E. optional would better our society. Am I saying that I don't care about what has happened to Pro? Absolutely not. Pro is clearly genuine and once again I'm very sorry he has had a bad time in P.E. But one must think larger than just personal experience when debating big issues that would affect the education of millions of kids and future generations.

Pro concludes his third round with a personal, loaded question rather than a statement that encourages deeper thought. He asks me "How would you like to spend 2 hours a week outside playing hockey in poor weather?" Whether I like something is not nearly as significant as the long-term significance of the activity. When I was a kid I dreaded eating broccoli and string beans. Looking back, I am proud I was given those foods because they have contributed to my current overall health.

To bring round three to a close, I will conclude with the following research. "Single sessions of and long-term participation in physical activity improve cognitive performance and brain health." This demonstrates that the benefits of P.E. are not just long-term; they can be seen in kids' academics. "Evidence suggests that increasing physical activity and physical fitness may improve academic performance" and that "mathematics and reading are the academic topics that are most influenced by physical activity" (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...).

P.E. may not be enjoyable for every single kid. Neither will math, science and history. But their short-term and long-term importance cannot be denied. P.E. should not be optional.
Debate Round No. 3
Jake26

Pro

Jake26 forfeited this round.
JayShay

Con

My opponent has forfeited round four. In the case that he forgot about the debate or that personal issues came up, I will not make any more arguments until round five.
Debate Round No. 4
Jake26

Pro

Jake26 forfeited this round.
JayShay

Con

Well we got a solid three rounds in. That's better than nothing!

Hopefully our arguments encouraged thought among the readers.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Jake26 1 year ago
Jake26
FlamboGus - No, what's not fair is that you wouldn't give that child that option that they deserve. Anyway, PE is rather ineffective as shown by the quote "Being dragged out of a swimming pool in front of all your peer group doesn"t make anyone want to reach for a salad" which is shown in this article: http://www.theguardian.com...

And the hyperlink to the article in round two of the debate shows that P.E. puts some people off exercising in the future, therefore there is no long term benefit to P.E.

Default2 - To be fair, I understand your point. Thank you for posting. However, there are also many negatives to PE that I find a lot of people just overlook, so please follow the debate for more detail.
Posted by Default2 1 year ago
Default2
Kids spend too much time indoors on the computer as it is...mandatory PE is a must
Posted by FlamboGus 1 year ago
FlamboGus
I would guess that making it optional would likely allow those who most need the benefits to avoid physical fitness.

Why? What's so difficult about running and doing push-ups?

As for bullying, no I'm not condoning it, but I'm also a realist and know it happens. What I also cannot condone is an unfit and/or overweight child not receiving any exercise. Its not fair to give a child that option.
Posted by Jake26 1 year ago
Jake26
Well no, as I said, I am not saying to get rid of PE, I'm saying make it optional. And are you condoning bullying?
Posted by FlamboGus 1 year ago
FlamboGus
So your response to is to give up altogether because fatties get teased about the man-boobs?

Good lord.
Posted by Jake26 1 year ago
Jake26
Thank you for the comment. The fact that you say that Americans are still fat shows that P.E. is ineffective and unnecessary anyway and just causes unnecessary suffering to the people who do not want to do it.
Posted by FlamboGus 1 year ago
FlamboGus
I don't need 5 rounds to explain why Americans are already fat enough without giving the pudgy ones yet another excuse to avoid physical fitness.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 1 year ago
U.n
Jake26JayShayTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by FlamboGus 1 year ago
FlamboGus
Jake26JayShayTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF - Conduct to Con. For arguments, both participants used opinion to shape their definition of "dreaded" classes. However, Con got Pro to backpedal on the "push-ups in the rain" statement. Con also rebutted the article cited by Pro made mention of creating P.E. alternatives that interest girls, instead of making P.E. optional. Pro was unable to refute this rebuttal.
Vote Placed by kkjnay 1 year ago
kkjnay
Jake26JayShayTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited the last two rounds. He did provide an argument but this argument by and large was refuted by Con.