Bad Beginning of a (Nice) Adventure – about Physical Education in Polish schools several years ago (and hopefully not now)

Why did I hate Physical Education?

Physical Education was a subject at school that I always hated. Straight A’s from everything else and barely D from PE. I was slim, I was healthy and fit so why? When I think about it, now I know it was due to Polish educational system and my teachers. PE wasn’t about being active and having loads of fun, it was about passing tests.

I can still remember how at the beginning of elementary school my best friend and I tried to throw a 3kg ball behind us to score A. And however hard we tried, we never managed to achieve that since we were so skinny, we could barely hold the ball above our heads. Or later when we were learning how to play volleyball and our teacher right at the beginning of that school year picked a few girls who were afterwards adequately trained to represent our school at tournaments, and the rest of us were just given a ball to kill time with. Of course, at the end of the semester, we had to pass tests from playing volleyball, and I guess you know who was not doing well then 😉 And since I did not like the feeling of doing badly, I hated Physical Education even more.

My daughters have been attending international schools, and that is why I have had a chance to see an entirely different system of physical education. It focuses on making sure pupils are active and engaged. It realizes not everyone is going to be a champion, but everyone should be given an opportunity to try different sports. It grades students by an approach to the subject and not achievements. It results in students loving their PE classes, and I am sure it also results later in adults treating physical activity and fitness not as a must but as a regular part of a balanced lifestyle.

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  • I don't understand why you dislike this approach to PE it appeared to be more balanced and holistic than one just based on physical abilities. Seems to address a more balanced approach to to a totally healthy life style addressing both mental and physical well being

    • Thanks for your comment, Robin. The approach to PE that I like is based on trying different sports and doing your best but not being judged on your performance as this can be (and was for me) very discouraging. Isn't it a more balanced approach? :)

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