Dodgeball in school 'reinforces oppression' say some educators

well you probably played it in gym class and on the playground and there are even adult leagues that exist today but a group of educators say that dodgeball in schools is harmful a trio of professors are giving a presentation in Vancouver this week stating that dodgeball reinforces oppression players in the game throw the ball hoping to hit others who don't get out of the way in time and that eliminates them from play joining me now is one of those educators David Burns he's also a professor of Educational Studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University good morning David glad you could be with us so what is it about dodgeball that is so concerning to you well I think you need to start with games in general in school when you play a game in a school rather than simply playing it at home with your friends or something like that we're doing that for a particular educational reason and we really need to know what that reason is so in the case of something like dodgeball we need to ask what kind of practice students are receiving in how to behave one of the ways you can think about this is that if someone's going to be a good person when they get older to have the kind of character that we want them to have as healthy productive and helpful adults they need to have practice when they're young and in school exhibiting those characteristics so if we want them to be empathetic we need to give them a chance to be empathetic in school which is why a lot of schools have kids take care of small pets or rabbits or things like that to practice caring for things and dodgeball and most of its iterations it reinforces a lot of those things that we say we don't want so let me just say what I think you're saying are you telling us that people that throw the ball and try to get someone eliminated may grow up to be you know unpleasant unsuccessful not so nice adults well it unsuccessful things taking it too far but if you want people to practice the disposition of ganging up on people or if you want them to practice really enjoying throwing things if you like that it can lead to all sorts of other things in future so if you actually look at the National Post article that was published on this just yesterday in the comments section you see exactly what the problem is all of these people saying I love dodgeball when I was a kid and then proceeding to just vent all of this pure discomfort and anger you know and it's because it's easy to do that if you've been practicing letting out your anger like that for a very long time is it anger is it just a competitive spirit well the competitive spirit can be competitive in the sense of helping people do something and trying to do the best job of it or it could be competitive in the sense that we're trying to isolate particular persons you know especially the smaller kid in the class who's already bullied for being small ends up being the one that gets ganged up on in dodgeball so what do you want to see happen as a result of this report that you are presenting for the most part what you want teachers to do in particular is to thank very carefully about the kinds of lessons the game is meant to convey to students so if you're choosing dodgeball I think you have a responsibility to children to choose it for a particular reason to know why you are and to be clear about what we're trying to learn from it I'm sure you heard the lead up people adults sign up to play this game so how damaging could it really have been if they want to play it when they're all grown up and they're off this schoolyard well of course adults in a free society can do as they please and I wouldn't pass judgment on those kinds of adult recreational activities but there's a really different thing from a mandated activity in a public school because of course we all must go to public school and if I were to say to you that you must play dodgeball during the course of your work day you'd probably say that's not appropriate you can't force me to do that I need to choose that I need to know why I'm glad you came on this is such a great talker David Burns really appreciate you being with us I hated dodgeball but I'm glad that you played along with us for this all the best appreciate your time


  1. 3:24 By your definition then school in general or a least GYM CLASS as a whole would be oppressive. They teach you sports like basketball, soccer, baseball, trac-field, etc.

  2. David Booo-urns. Booo-urns.

    David was always picked last in gym class. Take away all these things that he wants and nothing will change.

  3. ARE YOU KIDDING? You are raising a bunch of emotionally crippled snowflakes. I was not picked first, ever! Moving on…..

    Maybe allow options? If a helicopter parent doesnt want their baby in this game? Have a study session in another class? Or sit in a row and play patty cake……. Nobody feels bad.

  4. Who is this weenie? This guy probably was the last kid chosen for games on the school yard and he’s has resentment still and wants revenge.

  5. letting the teachers run the schools is incredibly counterproductive, they already work less than 50% of the time, people go into teaching not for the chance to form future citizens but for the time off and the pensions, its really a case of the haves teaching the have nots, hope I am around when the country gives up on this useless system, and really, making some nut case who doesn't like dodge ball a news item, what, there was nothing else to report on

  6. So next is football, hockey, rugby, duck duck goose because people will pick the slow kid, on and on and on. Tissue on isle 3! sorry was that too offensive of a comment? Geesh!!

  7. This guy was bullied in school, dodge ball was something fun we did and it had and has NOTHING to do with what we are going to be as adults. This man is a complete fool in his misunderstanding of what physical activity is and that healthy competition is positive and that notion of “ganging up” on someone at the end of the round is a negative spin. Let’s take this in another direction and say the act of for example 5 vs 1 and strategizing how to eliminate someone from the game is the act of Team work. This is being looked at by a fool and a “Nanny State” pawn

  8. Life is full of mean people. Kids need to learn how to be a little tough. Otherwise when they grow up and are completely useless in real life in the face of minor adversity.

  9. Probably no one picked the educator for dodgeball and now they're salty and trying to ruin it for everyone.

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