Many of us remember playing the game of dodgeball in school.  I really enjoyed playing the game.

Now a group of Canadian researchers believe that the game of dodgeball is a tool of “oppression” and is “miseducative”.  Interesting because I just saw it as a game and when I was hit by the ball and knocked out of the game I never believed that the player who threw the ball was oppressing me.

The National Post is reporting that the researchers will be submitting a paper to the Canadian Society for the Study of Education at Vancouver’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, stating the game is contrary to the larger curriculum of education.

The paper stated:

As we consider the potential of physical education to empower students by engaging them in critical and democratic practices, we conclude that the hidden curriculum is antithetical to this project, even when it reflects the choices of the strongest and most agile students

This paper is targeting primarily teachers, including gym teachers, who themselves are identified as part of the problem.  They believe the gym teachers are part of the problem for not acting on the values they claim to believe in.

The paper went on to say:

Despite the fact that many physical educators understand their vital role in helping students develop robust, equal, productive relationships and critical awareness, their practices on the ground do not always reflect this agenda…We suggest that this tension becomes sharply visible in the common practice of allowing students to play dodgeball.

One of the academics who contributed to this report, David Burns, professor of educational studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, believes in Aristotle’s philosophy of ethics.  He believes that schools should offer models of good and caring behavior, confirmation of their value, and practice for incorporating them into one’s own life, games can be training for the virtuous life.

How about just playing a game to have fun and allow the teachers to determine if a child is being picked on and let them address that issue.  It could be a good teachable moment for the children picking on those kids.

There are many things you must learn to dodge in life or deal with, remove the bubble wrap from these children’s life.  They will learn a lot more from dealing with adversity at a younger age which will prepare them for dealing with it as they become older.

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