Should swimming units in gym class be banned? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 03-24-2016, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Should swimming units in gym class be banned?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/...into_pool.html




wondered what people thought
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#2 of 18 Old 03-25-2016, 12:44 PM
 
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Here's my assessment of the situation, as someone who had swimming classes

Is it awkward?
Yes, but can be less so when schools divide the classes by gender.

Does the hair thing come into play, as suggested by the writer?
Yes, but I think that's a good thing. I had to do this as a teen-ager, and it sucked. But it taught me how to deal with difficulties, and how to balance exercise with life.

Is it necessary?
Depends on the kid. Some children learn to swim because their parents teach them. Others do not. I think it's a lesson that can be valuable, and even life saving.

In summary, while I know it's not a popular class, I think it's worthwhile.

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#3 of 18 Old 03-25-2016, 12:51 PM
 
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I don't think swimming is more traumatic than regular PE. If schools have access to pools, then it should be taught.
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#4 of 18 Old 03-25-2016, 04:50 PM
 
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I hated it so incredibly much . . . but I was also so motivated to swim a mile to get an "A" that semester that I did it. Me, who had probably never swum more than a length at one time before that.
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#5 of 18 Old 03-26-2016, 03:11 PM
 
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We live on a lake, in an area full of wilderness where kids roam in a fashion that was normal in the 1950s but is unusual now. We do not have a pool in our area, and the lake is only swimmable without wetsuits during the summer when school is out. But if there was a pool then I would say that absolutely, for our kids here, water safety / survival / rescue techniques and swimming should be taught. Here water safety is a matter of life and death. Four teens have died here in the past few years (out of a population of about 100 teens) so it's huge for us. I wish there were a way. They've increased the dry-land teaching of water safety but pool training would add a lot if it were available.

Other places, I don't know. It seems a pretty expensive use of precious education dollars to travel to a pool or build and maintain one on site and provide quality levelled instruction. And I agree that the educational value (if the purpose is simply to teach swim strokes and improve fitness) is probably negligible the way most school swim classes are taught (20:1 student: teacher ratio, eg.).

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Last edited by moominmamma; 03-26-2016 at 03:20 PM. Reason: to take out the :tea smilie from student : teacher :)
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#6 of 18 Old 03-26-2016, 03:46 PM
 
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I think that if a school has a pool, swimming instruction should be available. I would be okay with having it as an elective class or after-school activity, but I agree with Moominmamma that swimming is a valuable life skill.

Gym class messing up your hair was an issue when I was in junior high at a school with no pool--just changing clothes, exercising, and showering alters your look. Oh well. As for menstruation, I think girls who aren't comfortable using tampons should be able to sit out of swimming, but teachers need to keep a record of when this happens to avoid fakers. Cramps shouldn't be an excuse for skipping any kind of exercise because exercise can help; if the cramps are truly incapacitating, the girl won't be able to focus in any class and should be at home today and seeking treatment if they're persistently that bad.

My son's K-8 school has a pool. Grades 3-8 have swimming once a week. He's in 5th grade now and has learned only the most basic skills, but that's still better than he was doing with my taking him swimming only a couple of times a year. Locker-room behavior has been something of an issue starting this year: The boys and girls are unsupervised in their separate locker rooms, and my son tells me this one boy gets naked, yells, "Look at me!!" and then if you look, he hits you--and he says the girls have been taking cellphone photos of each other semi-dressed.

When my dad was in grades 7-12 in the 1950s, they had swimming in gym class and EVERYONE SWAM NUDE except the teacher! This was to avoid discrimination against students who couldn't afford swimsuits and avoid the district having to provide suits. He says it was no problem at all, but I have difficulty believing that everyone felt that way--I know I wouldn't have, by that age.

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#7 of 18 Old 03-27-2016, 11:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Other places, I don't know. It seems a pretty expensive use of precious education dollars to travel to a pool or build and maintain one on site and provide quality levelled instruction. And I agree that the educational value (if the purpose is simply to teach swim strokes and improve fitness) is probably negligible the way most school swim classes are taught (20:1 student: teacher ratio, eg.).
I agree with this, too. But then I don't have a very high opinion of PE the way it happens in most public schools. I don't think kids will refine their strokes or improve their times in school swim class. But learning basic water safety and enough to prevent drowning is infinitely more valuable than dodge ball, IMO.

And yeah, most schools don't have pools. They're expensive to build and maintain and probably not a great investment. But for schools that have them or easy access to them (one of the local high schools busses kids to the YMCA at which I occasionally teach classes), I don't think "don't want to get my hair wet" is a good reason not to use the resources available.
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#8 of 18 Old 03-28-2016, 09:18 AM
 
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I say deal with the issues ahead of time-teach girls (or boys with hair issues) how to protect their hair in the water, teach them about tampon use during your period, I dont know. Deal with the issues that arise with *information.* Definitely separate the sexes, and give the girls an option to wear t-shirts, or something to cover themselves up if they so desire.

Otherwise,kids from low income families who cant afford swimming lessons, will never learn to swim.

Is it best taught in a school setting? Like many things, probably not. But thats all there is for many kids.

If they dont participate in the lesson, then like anything else, they need to make up for it another time, no need to resort to violence like the kind described in the article. ( I kind of feel sorry for the most likely well meaning teacher, more than the hair proud student)

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#9 of 18 Old 03-28-2016, 04:50 PM
 
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I meant to add that I agree that no child should be physically forced into water--not only is the use of force inappropriate in general, but being pulled into water is NOT going to decrease any fear of water she may have or otherwise help her learn to swim. However, there should be consequences to refusing to participate in a class activity--points deducted from grade, written assignment substituted, something like that.

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#10 of 18 Old 04-01-2016, 06:27 PM
 
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I really don't see a swimming unit as a big deal. If a school has a pool, then you should put it to use. If there are students or parents who object for whatever reason, have a meeting at the beginning of the year to explain why the unit is part of the phys Ed curriculum and address those concerns.
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#11 of 18 Old 04-01-2016, 07:50 PM
 
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I say deal with the issues ahead of time-teach girls (or boys with hair issues) how to protect their hair in the water, teach them about tampon use during your period, I dont know. Deal with the issues that arise with *information.* Definitely separate the sexes, and give the girls an option to wear t-shirts, or something to cover themselves up if they so desire.
Why separate the sexes? People swim in mixed-gender groups in public all the time.

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#12 of 18 Old 04-02-2016, 03:01 PM
 
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Why separate the sexes? People swim in mixed-gender groups in public all the time.
You're right. I should have said 'maybe' separate the sexes. Swimming in public in a mixed sex setting is different to swimming in your middle school age peer group where you just *know* everyone, especially of the opposite sex, is checking you out...I dont know, something to discuss....Some people might want to skip the swimming for that reason alone.
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#13 of 18 Old 04-03-2016, 09:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Other places, I don't know. It seems a pretty expensive use of precious education dollars to travel to a pool or build and maintain one on site and provide quality levelled instruction.


Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children 1-14 in the US (car accidents are first)
http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreation...factsheet.html


I live in a warm climate and many high schools have pools. Swim team is a big deal here. The pools (and sometimes pool complexes) are seen as community resources in terms of financing and use. For example, in the bedroom community I live in, one of the two high schools has a multi pool complex that was built with a combination of school district monies and city funds. It is used for classes and teams for 2 high schools. It is also used for swimming lessons and diving lessons through parks and rec, a swim team through USA swimming, a diving team, an adult swim club, and has open times when anyone can pay a minimal fee and go swimming. The pool is in use from 6am to 10 pm for most of the year.


I teach in our nearby city in a rough neighborhood. The high school that my elementary feeds into has a pool and a swim team. On Saturdays the pool is open and for 50 cents, kids from the neighborhood can walk over and go swimming.


During the summer, the city parks and rec offers swim lessons for $20 (they were free until a couple of year ago, and there was at outcry at the change because many feel that if even one life is saved by swim lessons, it is worth the cost to tax payers). Most of the expense of operating the pool and paying the lifeguards and teachers is paid for with city money because children learning to swim is seen as a pubic safety and health issue.

but everything has pros and consĀ  shrug.gif


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#14 of 18 Old 04-03-2016, 10:43 AM
 
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Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children 1-14 in the US
I think I had forgotten how ubiquitous private pools are in the US.

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#15 of 18 Old 04-03-2016, 11:09 AM
 
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I think I had forgotten how ubiquitous private pools are in the US.

Miranda


especially in places where it is warm year round.


By law, where I live all pools must have a fence around them, and this is enforced when houses are sold. However, a lot of people don't like the look of a fence around their pool. People get around the law by putting in removable fences. There are permanent holes in the deck of the pool that the fence post can be put in, and the height and gate meet the legal requirements for a pool fence. Once the house is sold and closed, the new owner can easily remove the entire fence, roll it up, and store it in the garage.


(We get ours out and put it up when we have people over who have small children. It takes about 15 minutes to put up or take down. Lots of people don't bother with it until they get ready to sell the house).

but everything has pros and consĀ  shrug.gif

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#16 of 18 Old 04-04-2016, 11:26 AM
 
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It's great if swimming is offered, but it should not be required.

Swimming was an option at our high school and pretty much no one took it, and if you asked why all the girls said the same thing - periods, body issues, etc. I was not using tampons in high school, most of the girls in my dorm were not. There are plenty of other sports and PE credits to choose from.

As for safety issues, schools can't solve all the problems in any given community. If swimming is offered as an ELECTIVE then everyone has access to it. It doesn't need to be required.
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#17 of 18 Old 06-02-2020, 03:07 AM
 
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I think that swimming is a very necessary thing to learn, in gym classes or elsewhere. The swimsuits are another topic and this one is a little more sensitive. They shouldn't be baned in gym classes as long as they are decent and modest, but with fashion nowadays, even the shoes can become a taboo accessory. Swimming is more than a way to develop the body, but it also teaches not to renounce and to be resistant, so for me, this is a huge plus and I'm glad my kids have the possibility to learn this at school.
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#18 of 18 Old 06-02-2020, 03:55 AM
 
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I think that swimming is a very necessary thing to learn, in gym classes or elsewhere. The swimsuits are another topic and this one is a little more sensitive. They shouldn't be baned in gym classes as long as they are decent and modest, but with fashion nowadays, even the shoes can become a taboo accessory. Swimming is more than a way to develop the body, but it also teaches not to renounce and to be resistant, so for me, this is a huge plus and I'm glad my kids have the possibility to learn this at school.

I totally agree with you and I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks the same. Sometimes this can be a real problem but overall it has many advantages.
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