Saturday, February 18, 2012

Is Dodgeball good for PE?

From the movie, "Dodgeball:A True Underdog Story"
A huge controversy in the PE world is if dodgeball is good for Physical Education. Dodgeball is one of the many games that are on the dreaded "Hall of Shame" PE games. Personally, this was one of my favorite games to play in gym class and at summer camps. I was always athletic and a good mover. However, what about the kids that aren't? Dodgeball hits all the major aspects of PE including all of the affective, cognitive and psycomotor behaviors. For example, it improves running, endurance, accuracy, dodging, catching, throwing and teamwork and strategy. But, what about the dangers? Their are so many dangers associated with dodgeball because we are dealing with kids who have bad aim and pelt the balls at their friends. In some cases there are modifications such  as "Doctor, Dotor!", "Trench ball" and "Ghost in the graveyard". However, all of those games have similar concepts like traditional dodgeball. Another big "no no" with these games is that kids are eliminated and aren't active the whole time. Instead, you could set targets up and still be in a team setting and the goal is to hit the target. Nobody is eliminated and everyone is working on the same motor development skills.

Red Rover
Some games that I noticed on the "Hall of Shame" were some of my favorite activities to be involved in a kid. However, now they are viewed as shameful because they don't meet the NASPE National Standards and NYS Learning Standards. For example, various tag  games are not aloud because children are eliminated. This breaks NASPE standard 3, " Participates regularly in physical activity." A modification of some tag games are if they are tagged then they are the new tagger or if they are tagged they must do ten jumping jacks to keep playing. I noticed that "Red Rover" was on the list and I remember playing this game waiting for the bus. The obvious danger is that the goal is the run as fast as you can and break through the wall. The wall is a chain of people holding hands. The dangers are broken arms and close-lining people. This game should NEVER be played because it breaks NYS Learning standard 2, " Students will acquire the knowledge and ability necessary to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment." Other games that are included is "Simon Says", "SPUD", "Musical Chairs", "Duck Duck Goose!", and "Dodgeball", all earned a spot on the "Hall of Shame" because they break the number one rule in Physical Education. There should be NO elimination in PE.

The standards for NYS Learning include, "Personal health and Fitness", "A safe and healthy environment" and "Resource movement". For NASPE National standards, their overall goal "is to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity." If Physical Educators do not follow these standards then they are putting their students at risk, both physically and socially. As educators, it is our job to help improve the students physically and socially. No matter how much we (and some of the students), enjoy the "Hall of Shame" games they should not be played for the safety of our students.

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