Friday, 19 September 2014

End compulsory sport in school

End compulsory sport in school

Schools are very good at ruining everything.
By everything, I mean they are very good at ruining all the fun stuff. It’s as if making something ‘educational’ takes all the fun out of it. Take computer games, for example. They’re fun to play at home in free time, but someone had the ‘bright’ idea of making educational computer games and although teachers think they’re fun, they’re not anything like what you’d play at home.
What else do schools ruin? Music, art, creative writing, poetry, film-making. All the things you enjoy doing in your spare time for fun suddenly lose their appeal when you’re made to do them at school.
Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, sport. Schools ruin that too. They’re just not very good at it.
According to SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand, the government body overseeing sport and participation), more children are members of sports teams outside school than inside school (50% belong to school teams, nearly 60% play sport outside school). Why’s that? Especially when sport is a compulsory subject in many schools? Well, it’s because schools ruin everything…
Clubs are set up especially to train, encourage and allow children to participate in high-quality and well-organised sport. Clubs have the right equipment. There are league and knock-out competitions, friendlies, practice sessions and, if someone truly excels at, say, netball or rugby, they can get talent-spotted or play representative sport. And club coaches know what they’re doing – it’s not a case of the Spanish teacher or the Year 6 teacher coming out to supervise and not know anything about softball or whatever.
What if it rains? Schools are not set up for wet-weather activities. Often rain and strong wind means fighting with other classes for space in the hall or computer room instead of sport. Clubs, on the other hand, often have use of indoor and outdoor training facilities or artificial surfaces to play on. Or it might be the case that at club sport, if it rains, you just get on with it!
There’s lots in the news about children’s health and diet and obesity. That’s not schools’ problem and schools shouldn't have to fix that. Schools are good at literacy and maths and children learning about the world they live in. Take out sport from the timetable and there’s more opportunity to teach children things that really matter.
Schools and teachers are excellent at teaching. They should stick to what they’re good at.

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