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Amish_Ninja's avatar

Your Opinion on Gym Class in America?

Asked by Amish_Ninja (225points) September 16th, 2008

In American most, if not close to all, public schools require students to take gym classes. What do you think about this? Is it a law I haven’t been informed of? Shouldn’t it be a right to be able to pick if you want to take gym class or not? Would it be ok if a student that was involved in a sport was to skip gym class? Opinions please!

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13 Answers

augustlan's avatar

In some cases, serious involvement in a sport can be substituted for gym class. More involvement than most give…such as being a national level gymnast or swimmer, where most free time is dedicated to the sport. This generally only applies in high school, though.

maybe_KB's avatar

Gym is different than taking up a sport.
We have requirements in our country just like any other.
If Gym is a req. you gotta participate
No big sweat…lol

MrItty's avatar

Why should it be a right to choose gym class or not? Should it also be a right to choose math or not? English or not? Science? Health? History?

Gym is a subject like any other. School boards decide what subjects students should learn.

Now, if your school’s gym class is little more than “run 3 laps and then play dodgeball for 30 minutes”, then that I would consider to be a problem. In my mind, Gym class should be what it is supposed to be – Physical Education. The emphasis should be placed on learning how to properly exercise and maintain physical conditioning, not simply on making you run around for 30 minutes a day.

Amish_Ninja's avatar

I’d be for gym classes, if the schools I went to just didn’t make you run laps all class. In my school after three years of Science and Math, you can stop taking it when you’re a Senior, if you choose. It’s not the same with gym, have to take it every single freakin’ year, and you learn nothing new.

On another point, many gym teachers don’t care about the students having fun and getting fit, they just teach gym so they can coach football.

Nimis's avatar

At my old high school, you could take Surf PE instead.

marinelife's avatar

This is going to be ironic, because I absolutely hated PE when I was in school. I do believe, however, that it is vital especially in America with its current obesity epidemic getting worse daily. I learned the rules of basketball in gym class and its fundamentals. Same with softball. I learned to dance the fox trot and the waltz in gym class. I got outside in the middle of the day.

I think today’s gym classes should be restructured to try to create physical fitness habits in kids and to help them enjoy physical activity.

Did you know that the average child spends 6.5 hours a day interacting with technology devices rather than the physical world? Rather than playing? We may only be one generation away from the WallE fatties.

Nimis's avatar

Marina: You learned to dance the fox trot and waltz in gym class?
How strange, but cool!

blastfamy's avatar

PE at my school is a joke. The system basically promotes obesity by hiring fat asses to “teach” by teach, I mean stand in the corner while kids sit around for an hour and a half.

@Marina, I agree with you: PE needs to become more about getting active: less about fitness. Fitness is a byproduct of activity; this point is lost on those who plan the curriculum.

I do like the idea of the option of sport instead of PE. Unfortunately, this is too hard to regulate. It is likely that this will never come to pass. Crying shame.

Randy's avatar

At my HS, a sport could be substituted for a gym class. A sport class only counted for a credit for one year though.

cyndyh's avatar

It’s been a while since I was in high school, so I don’t know how much of this still applies. In two states where I lived we were required each year to take gym or be on at least one sports team. Being in marching band counted as did cheer-leading and more traditional sports. In another state, everyone was required to take one year of PE while in high school regardless of any extra-curricular activities.

I didn’t like taking it most of the time when I was in the class since it seemed to get in the way of taking other things. I tested out of some required academic classes and wanted a way to test out of PE. I got regular exercise already, and wanted to take more music classes or more Spanish. It was a no go. But we did learn archery and basketball and some other things I wouldn’t have picked up on my own. So, I guess I’m glad I had it after all.

artificialard's avatar

I also hated high school gym but it was compulsory up to grade 9 or 10 I think. I am also one of those people that think it’s compulsory, if implemented effectively.

Our class rotated amongst many different sports, from team sports to swimming to track and also had a large (about 30%) health component where we learned sex ed. and nutrition. Looking back it was pretty decently balanced such that even the non-jock could still pull a decent grade.

cwilbur's avatar

The theory of gym class is that it should teach you how to be healthy and fit, and teach you the basics of a couple different activities that you can do to get and stay healthy and fit, in the hopes that at least one of them will be something you enjoy doing enough to do it outside of gym class.

The practice of gym class is that a former jock who doesn’t understand why anybody wouldn’t live, eat, sleep, and breathe sports gets to divide a bunch of kids into teams and play team sports; the jocks on the teams play well, and nobody else cares, and everyone resents it.

I’m in favor of mandatory gym class that resembles the former. Not so much in favor of the latter.

My high school gym class had a unit on volleyball each year. I hated it; it was misery. We spent 20 minutes practicing bumps and sets and spikes and serves, and then 20 minutes playing. The more athletic people would get into it, and yell at the less athletic/more apathetic people who were, in their eyes, preventing the team from winning. It was never over fast enough. Then I got to college, and my fraternity had a volleyball net on the quad, and I spent hours playing, and having a blast.

And in my late 20s I decided to get in shape and joined a gym, and was amazed at how relaxing and meditative working out could be. I wish I had learned that at 14.

kruger_d's avatar

I would like to see more school embrace the idea of lifetime fitness. I personally have not played dodgeball or flag football since I graduated. But I have used gym equipment, cross-country-skied, swam, played tennis and golf. Individual sports let kids set personal goals and don’t make anyone feel like the weak link.
I also think phy ed is a big stress reducer for some kids and an energy release for others that helps them perform better in their other classes.

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