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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is Dodgeball good for PE?

Children playing "Duck Duck Goose", ...
Image via Wikipedia
Having some games ready to play at St.Mary's was a good start to our overall preparedness; however, if we are truly going to change the culture of PE and have more physically educated students, then we must be sure to provide developmentally appropriate physical education (DAPE) and avoid games and activities that are in the PE Hall of Shame. After watching some of us resort to games that we played as kids and ones that are not in the best interest of young children...we will now start to explore WHY these games are not beneficial.  

Anybody without a teaching degree and a B.Sc. in P.E. can "lead" games such as Duck Duck Goose, Kickball, Dodgeball, etc...  You don't have to go to a teacher preparation program to use those games and we will NOT be playing these games while we are at St.Mary's.  We are striving to change the environment of the after-school program by using games that are supportive of the needs and abilities of the students and not just convenient to play because they know how to already play them.  When we're not there, they can play them all they want.  While we're at St.Mary's - we need you to explore and be creative to create enticing environments, choose developmentally appropriate and adaptable games/activities that help you assess fundamental motor skills and teach students to perform these skills more effectively.

PE Hall of Shame (Part 2)  (also available here) was released after the initial induction of 6 games that should not be played in PE class. In class we discussed two of the initial inductees (Dodgeball and Kickball) and why (human targets, isolation, no choice, safety, hiding from others, skill level, etc...) they were included in the initial induction ceremony.

It would help if you added pictures like Jack's post on defending dodgeball (posted below). This assignment is due before next class. (Photo via iStockPhoto & Xanga)

  1. Please read Chapter 3, 18-20.
  2. Click on the comment link at the bottom of this post to leave your initial reactions (2-3 sentences) to these games and whether or not you agree with them. Also leave a link to your own blog URL (eg.  or Twitter handle @syangman or where you further expand on your opinions, connect with other professionals, and start developing your own PLN. 
  3. Blog about how the games we play compare to the many HALL OF SHAME games (1994 and 1996) we often experienced in the OLD PE.  What is your general reaction to seeing some of your favorite games included?  If you were to play one of these SHAME games, how would you alter it so that it meets the requirement of being developmentally appropriate for your students?  
    1. How would you justify playing these games today so that it fits in with NYS Learning Standards and NASPE Standards for high-quality PE?
    2. How will playing this game help your students attain the goals of being physically educated and what will be gained?
  4. Be sure to use our photos from lab or one from your Zemanta plug-in or from some other Creative Commons source.  
  5. Due by next class.

One of the most highly debated topics in the world of Physical Education is the use of the game of dodgeball in the curriculum. Many people have their opinions based on their personal experiences with game. Some see it as a rite of passage for students, while others see it as a barbaric sport that needs to be removed from schools. Here is my No Spin opinion:

When I was in junior high school, I was first introduced not to dodgeball but a variation called "angle ball." Dodgeball itself was removed from our schools and the Physical Education teachers implemented this variation so us students could experience it. The rules were pretty much the same; elimination when you get hit by the ball but to ultimately win the game, your team needed to knock a basketball off of the cone on the other teams side of the court. Needless to say everyone enjoyed this.

As a Physical Education teacher, however, I have to decide whether dodgeball would be appropriate to use in my class. I feel that the game helps to develop and strengthen important physcial skills including running, throwing, and catching, while it also includes teamwork and strategy. It is a fun game and should be experienced by all. 
However, it does have its share of negatives. Many students are not as physically able as others and prefer to sit to the side or not participate at all. Plus, it allows certain students to target and bully others all the while promoting the use of violence. The game has plenty of positives and negatives.My decision would be to use dodgeball, or a variation of the game, in my Physical Education class. However, I would offer an alternative game or activity for those students who choose not to participate in the game. This allows students who want to experience the game the ability to play it and gives the other students to experience another activity they are more comfortable with that also shares the same skill development.

There are many people who claim that dodgeball is a dangerous sport and needs to be removed from the school. However, sports like football and hockey share the same heightened risk but continue to be played without opposition from concerned parents. If one sport is to be penalized, then all who share the same risk should be subjected as well.

While it will always be a contested subject, there should be a compromise that will give students a choice to participate in dodgeball whether in Physical Education class or as an after school activity. It could be a decision for the best.
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