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Physical Health Education Should not be Mandatory in British Columbian Secondary Schools

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Every day, secondary school students march to their physical health education classes, and they are dreading what is about to come; however, this can be stopped by giving students the opportunity not to do physical health education, which will benefit both students and teachers. The government should take into consideration the preferences of their students. By limiting the freedom of students, they are taking rungs off a ladder, making it harder for students to climb. Do not do this to students. By putting students through physical health education even though they do not wish to pursue a path in its realm, the ministry is taking motivation away from them.

Indeed, there are students who enjoy physical health education or are pursuing a career path within its realm. Students like this want to be challenged—they want to play against and with people who will put in maximum effort and will improve them. One of the main causes for this being held back is the fact that many students who are in the same class do not want to participate. Often, it can be observed that these students put in minimal effort; in fact, when students are told to evaluate themselves (to rate themselves in terms of how much effort they put into participating), many willingly admit their lack of essay or give themselves a high mark which does not coincide with how much they veritably did. Why is this a problem? Those who wish to do well in the course are halted by these students because they do not perform to the best of their ability and thus bring down the average endeavour of the class. This takes an opportunity away from those who try hard, for unlike other classes, students are constantly grouped or paired with other students who may not be as motivated in the course. These are typically students who wish to pursue other careers. This is the equivalent of feeding an animal something it does not naturally eat, yet because it will die without food, it must eat this food to survive. This can be stopped. What needs to be done is ensuring students can eat their own food, not someone else’s—physical health education must not be mandatory.

Not only will this improve the quality of schooling for students pursuing a path in physical health education but also for students who wish to follow other career paths of success. Students will be less successful if they take courses which they are not passionate about. Yes, some students may not enjoy particular non–physical health education subjects; however, many of these are needed in their life; thus, they typically work hard at it. Many students take honours not because of enjoyment but because they want to be successful. There are also students passionate about non–physical health education subjects but have a negative view of school because of physical health education, and if one lacks motivation, they will not do well. Additionally, lack of motivation spreads because of peer pressure. People’s perceptions of school are often swayed by their peer’s opinions. Impressions, the way students act and dress, and characteristics of someone—these are all easily transformed by peer pressure, friends or not. Peer pressure is inevitable, especially in teenagers. There is valid evidence of this; for example, by monitoring a school hallway, one may observe foul language. Teenagers do not curse because they believe it makes them more mature, at least for most. They curse because everyone else is. Another example is an experiment. A study was conducted on a group of people. When one person said a “joke” which was actually a randomly chosen set of words, all people aware of the experiment pretended to laugh. One person who was not aware of the experiment also laughed. This proves that the mind is easily manipulated by peers’ actions and culture. For all of these reasons, quality of education goes down with students taking physical health education.

Students will often be exhausted. Imagine sprinting to work. One would feel tired and will find it hard to work directly after. When students head to their next class (if their physical health education class was taken before another), they will be out of focus and tired; it is harder for them to work when they had just worked out. Even if one does not work hard enough in physical health education to be tired, these classes often promote more socializing and a louder atmosphere compared to other classes, and when this is brought to other classes, it can become disruptive and bring down the overall quality of education, not just for physical health education. This will make it harder for even students who did not have physical health education prior to the next class to work, thus ranging down an opportunity for success. Students who choose to take physical health education would be expected not to bring this inappropriate behaviour to other classes, and it would be easier to control this when only students who are passionate about the subject are involved, for they are more likely to listen to the physical health education teacher, as students often favourite teachers who teach subjects which they enjoy.

And, of course, we must point out the obvious: By forcing students to take PHE, the government is putting students into a course where they have a great risk of injuring themselves against their will. As students are running, throwing medicine balls, doing pushups, planking beyond what may be possible for them, and jumping, they could tear ligaments, break bones, get bruises, or scrape their knees. It has been observed before—students have injured themselves on many occasions, and sometimes, these injuries can be serious. If someone asked you to involve yourself in something that could potentially harm you, would you say yes? Absolutely not. Not unless it benefits you somehow, and for those not pursuing such paths, it does not. This, in fact, should be illegal. You should not put students in a room with a large risk of injury and a slight risk of death without their consent. It is what should be a fundamental human right. This is not what defines freedom. This is the opposite; this is putting students in chains, taking rungs off a ladder, and expecting them to climb. What if someone suggested that you do your documents by running from point A to point B? You will not be successful.

How will this benefit teachers? Teachers who have students passionate about subjects are less likely to need to force the class to maintain a positive learning environment. Teachers want to teach students who want to do the subject—they do not want unmotivated students who will bring down the average greatness of the class. Teachers who are happier with their class are more likely to teach well. Additionally, if someone in their class openly opposes the subject, there will be tension between the teacher and its student, and this will eventually become negativity from the teacher to the class itself. This is less probable if students may choose to take the class. Teachers are often forced to delay lessons because of less performing students, and these students are typically the ones who are not trying. For example, when students run laps around a school, a teacher may expect them to be back in fifteen minutes; however, students take the opportunity to walk where the teacher cannot see, thus taking thirty minutes. Those who are passionate about the subject will run to the best of their ability and thus reach the end before the students who are not trying. The teacher must now wait to organize and give instructions. Eliminating students without endeavour ensures a better experience for the teacher and their students.

Overall, to make physical health education mandatory is to put a boulder in many students’ paths. It halts the progress for both students who want to take physical health education and students who wish to pursue other career paths. Exhausted students will not be able to work in other environments or will come in with too much uncontrolled energy. Teachers will have to deal with misbehaving students and students who bring down the overall achievement of the class. Not only this, but it affects students in other classes as well, infecting the school with lack of motivation. Physical health education deteriorates opinions of school for many students, resulting in lower achievements; this also brings down teachers’ quality of work—they face students who put in little to no effort, and this also affects those who are passionate about physical health education by damaging the quality of classes. Teachers are thus discouraged and begin to try less hard. This damages the class’ quality further. Whom this concerns is everyone involved. Not only is it good for students in the present; it helps them in the future by ensuring they have the necessary skills for what they want to do in life, not what they are forced to do. For all the reasons mentioned, secondary schools should stop making physical health education mandatory for all of their students.

Today: N is counting on you

N A needs your help with “We need change. Our students in our province need the missing rungs on their ladder to be successful. Help us build the rungs. Stop PHE from being mandatory today!”. Join N and 87 supporters today.