Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dodgeball: An Effective Tool In a Physical Education Program?

Dodgeball has been a part of physical education programs across the United States for decades.  However, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) believes that dodgeball is not appropriate for K-12 physical education programs.  Dodgeball does use human targets throughout the game and bullying may take place because superior P.E students will target less skilled students.  This is not the true problem though, mainly because targeting certain students can be avoided through alterations to the game.  Some alterations may include having students use their non-dominant hand or having students try to hit an object other than their peers.  The goals of a physical education program according to NASPE are to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to be physically active for a lifetime, a daily dose of physical activity for health benefits, and positive experiences so that kids want to be physically active outside of a physical education class and throughout their lifetime.  Dodgeball does teach students skills such as dodging, throwing, catching, and hand-eye coordination, but the true problem with dodgeball is that once students are eliminated from the game, they are no longer physically active, thus becoming spectators.  Activities like dodgeball and kickball do not utilize the fact that students should be constantly active throughout their P.E class.  It is the job of a physical educator to find activities that keep all students active for the majority of the class period.  Activities such as dodgeball do not accomplish this goal.  As physical educators, we must keep all the goals of a physical education program in mind while we set up our curriculum.