Dodgeball Discussion Needs a Reset


Physical and Health Education Canada - Ottawa, June 2019 - What’s in a game?

Recently, members of the physical and health education community have posed this simple but fundamental question. The answer, as you might guess, is complex.

The current debate around dodgeball arose during the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), held recently in Vancouver. There, Joy Butler, professor of curriculum and pedagogy at the University of British Columbia put forward that dodgeball reinforces violent behaviour, bullying and an uncaring learning environment, does not align with “anti-oppressive” teaching practices and is, therefore, “miseducative”.  Dodgeball, either as part of physical education or schoolyard games, leaves students powerless, is "tantamount to legalized bullying," s, and wholly unhelpful to the healthy development of citizens in a liberal democracy, she says.

Not surprisingly, the reaction on both sides of this debate has been swift. The debate has garnered much global media interest and reporting, even trending on social media.

Matthew Achtymichuk