Johnston High School - 6500 NW 100th St, Johnston, IA

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No benefits to a marching band P.E. credit

Jeffery+Robilliard%2C+Band+Director%2C+gives+the+varsity+marching+band+a+pep+talk.+Robilliard+delivers+one+of+these+pep+talks+before+every+performance.+
Jeffery Robilliard, Band Director, gives the varsity marching band a pep talk. Robilliard delivers one of these pep talks before every performance.

Jeffery Robilliard, Band Director, gives the varsity marching band a pep talk. Robilliard delivers one of these pep talks before every performance.

Sierrah Mangra-Dutcher

Sierrah Mangra-Dutcher

Jeffery Robilliard, Band Director, gives the varsity marching band a pep talk. Robilliard delivers one of these pep talks before every performance.

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As a member of marching band, I have spent years hearing students complain about the strenuous activity that marching requires. It’s not uncommon to hear disgruntled band members grumble about the arches of their feet hurting their calves burning with pains gained from their rigorous marching in a drill. I was complaining right along with them.

Many of these students want to receive credit for their hard work. More specifically they want to receive a physical education credit. The question is, is their desire to be excused from physical education due to their athletic activities legitimate, or a far-fetched dream?

Some students claim they want the credit because they have a full schedule of academic classes. “I think it is necessary [to allow marching band as a physical activity credit] because we are forced to have marching band take up an entire period of our day plus 45 minutes outside of school,” Parul Srivastava ’19 said. “I don’t want 25 percent of my school day to be taken up by physical activity that doesn’t receive credit when I could be taking things that better further my education.”

There was a point in my life when I agreed with Srivastava’s stance wholeheartedly because it’s true, athletic activities take up a lot of time. It wasn’t until I realized that it is still important that students get physical activity throughout the school day when I started to disagree. Providing physical activity during the school day can improve students academic performance.

Physical education provides students the opportunity to get away from the desk and chair by giving them time to stand up and stretch, allowing them to step back and reflect on their health. 

Studies done by the Mental Health Association have shown physical activity can improve students academic performance by relieving stress and increases mental alertness. Physical education is not a hindrance to our academic lives, it is actually a benefit.

“Marching band is a very physical activity,” band teacher Jeff Robilliard said. “While it requires a lot of activity, I can’t say that it would be enough to be excused from physical education because the marching band activity does not in anyway cover or replace all that is learned in a physical education curriculum.”

Other students carry the misconception that physical activity is an equivalent to physical education, an idea that teachers are quick to crush. “I can see that the marching band and other activities work hard, I would never discredit them of that, but they don’t provide the same type of education,” physical education instructor Debra Nicholson said. “Our goal as physical education instructors is to teach a variety of ways for students to stay physically active now and in the future.”

While athletic activities require a student to be physically active in practice and performance, they are selective in what they teach students. Sports are focused on two purposes learning the game and playing it. P.E. classes broaden students knowledge on how to stay active, sports narrow their knowledge into a selective field.

The real reasoning behind why many students want athletic activities as a physical education credit is because they don’t want to be in physical education at all. They don’t understand the classes purpose or have a lack of interest in the activities provided. I believe this lack of understanding and interest is due to mistakes made in our early education.

The physical education system at the high school is very different from the system in middle school. Once students enter the high school hallways they are no longer required to play games that a teacher has chosen on a whim. The pacer test is a memory left back in our adolescent years.

In high school students are given a choice on what type of physical education they want to receive. Yet those memories of the physical activities of the past stay with students. They remember the choices made for them and remember how much they resented that process.

To really solve the problem of why students want to be excused from physical education we must look in the past. For many students, their early physical education classes have failed them. The class may have taught students that games are a way to stay active, but are these games going to encourage them to stay active in the future?

For many students, the answer to that question is no. A fact that is very disturbing with the high rates of obesity across America. According to the National Institute of Diabetes, in 2014 more than two in three American adults were considered to be overweight or have obesity. For the future of our nation, it is pressing that we encourage teens and children to understand the benefits of physical activity and variety of ways to stay active.

If the overall goal of physical education is to encourage physical activity, the best way to achieve this goal is to give adolescents choices. Don’t give them requirements. In the end, they will just resent physical education.

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1 Comment

One Response to “No benefits to a marching band P.E. credit”

  1. Owen Smith on December 14th, 2017 6:23 pm

    I am dissapointed with this article. It mainly has to do with the lack of convensions (spelling and grammar, sentence fragments, et cetera) found within it. Every teacher at the high school would, without a doubt, look at this article and give it a 1 or 2 out of 5 for conventions. Students writing papers for those teachers are almost required to proofread their articles to ensure that it lives up to their standards, else suffer a low score. If the newspaper that is supposed to represent our school can’t even so much as proofread their own articles, what does that say about the school as a whole? It renders this opinion piece almost unreadable, and I expect more from the paper.

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