Taking the Physical out of Phys. Ed
A suburban Chicago school has spent over $1200 in grant money to outfit their grade school gym classes with a Wii Fit system. Now maybe I’m old fashioned or too conservative, but this seems like a waste of money for a cash strapped school system. Besides all the money wasted, isn’t this a disservice to our children choosing computers to teach over human interaction or video games as opposed to team sports and actual activity?
There have been numerous articles and studies stating how children need more unstructured, unplugged playtime. To take the already shortened time many schools have for physical education and connect them to a computer seems wrong. Shouldn’t a PE teacher be able to lead the class in strength training exercises, yoga, and step rather than walk around to be sure they are following the digital instructor? If the teacher doesn’t know these basics, shouldn’t the grant money be spent to send them to classes rather than on a game system?
I think the part that bothers me the most is the quote from the gym teacher: “Even if they lose, they don’t really feel that bad because they’re playing a video game. Their self-worth is really protected.” Through physical education and team sports life skills are learned. Skills such as winning and loosing, picking teams, working together, sportsmanship, not to mention the physical benefits. If they can play dodge ball and soccer on the Wii, why not get out actual balls and let them run around and engage with each other instead of a computer? Why must we “soften the impact of victory and defeat”? What kind of future generation will this create if they can’t handle real victory or defeat?
The article points out that the game systems (they also have a PlayStation for ”Just Dance”) are meant to compliment the curriculum and not replace it, to be a “Wow” factor that engages kids. Real life isn’t about the “Wow” factor, it has a tendency to be repetitive and mundane. Do you go to your job and say, “eh? This is boring me today I’m not going to participate”. You wouldn’t keep your job very long if you did! Should we start teaching math in casinos to make it more interesting? The fact is that sometimes in life we do things because we have to, it’s what’s expected of us, not because it wows and amazes us. NContinued on the next page