Should Physical Education be Mandatory? – A Though Debate

Should physical education be mandatory? This is a question that parents, children and teachers have been confronting with for several decades, and especially in present times. As such, it is a very tough debate, because opinions will always be split; the main problem here is that opinions are split almost equally, so it is hard to say one side is more right than the other. Moreover, there are several ethical and moral implications; some say that just like religion, physical education is not something that should be taught in school, but rather something that the parents have to introduce to the child. Some say that it is not the school’s responsibility to teach children about their bodies as well, but just about their minds and knowledge.

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The immediate response is usually that knowing your body is just as important as knowing your mind, and that the school should be responsible for that as well. For example, many parents leave it to the school to give their children a sexual education, and information about sex in general. Whether it’s out of embarrassment, ignorance or just lack of interest, they believe that the children will learn all these in school; but when does sex education occur in school? Well, in many situations, it is the physical education class that introduces them to notions about the body. So when we ask should physical education be mandatory, we should also consider this aspect, and see that this class is more than just about running around the school yard and playing ball.

Another reason in favor of mandatory physical education classes is the fact that it is just as important to learn your body’s limits as it is to learn your mind’s limits. Sports can give us a structure, they can teach us about effort and about the results that come with it. There are a lot of thing you can learn in PE class that you can apply to other aspects of your life. Learning how to play a game for example, can give you precious people skills and teach you how to work in groups, in collaboration, even if the lesson you learn is that you don’t like working in groups. Knowing how to treat other people and how to react to them is another skill you can acquire here. Should physical education be mandatory?

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The question seems to complicated for a straightforward answer. Even if we were to say that PE won’t be taught anymore, we have to think about those children whose parents don’t have the time or the interest to teach their children about sports, physical fitness and health. Even if most people don’t like to hear this, many adults lead unhealthy, sedentary lives because of the long-hour jobs they have; unfortunately, they are bad examples for their children, so the school should take on this responsibility and at least try to keep the kids in shape and make them love physical activity. Finally, it could be argued that a healthy body makes for a healthy mind, so how could be expect the children to perform well if we keep them locked in a classroom all day?