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Recess Coaches

 
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 10:24 am
As part of my ongoing rant about the weeniefication of kids, I bring you "recess coaches".

I can't find the article on the newspaper's website so I will copy off a few quotes:

Quote:
... This is one of Hall's many attempts to make recess at Woodlawn School more peaceful and organized.

Kids seem to play instinctively and to yearn for it. In class, they fidget and squirm, impatient for their 20 minutes of running, skipping, chasing, racing, tetherball, basketball and four square.

But school staffers say play isn't always safe or fun. Some students get left out. At other times, playground fun creates chaos and fights."

<snip>

...The coaches organized games during elementary and middle school recess and taught classroom games to students and teachers.

<snip>

We want to see a structured time to learn social skills, learn sportsmanship, thinking and movement.


Kids seem to play instinctively and to yearn for it.

By God we'd better hammer that instinct right out of them. Playing is too dangerous! Without an adult to "coach" them kid's will never learn to get along.

What do you think of the idea of recess coaches?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 1,510 • Replies: 11
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 10:45 am
@boomerang,
I think it is crap. This is free time for the kids. They can play, stand and talk or whatever the h*ll they want.

I'll all for having recess monitors - just in case a fight breaks out or just to make sure no weirdos wonder onto the playground.

But to ruin recess by organizing stuff - just rip whatever creativity the kids have in play and their choice of who they would like to play with. Actually by allowing the kids to choose who they prefer to play with, could encourage a child who is a brat to learn that they need to be nicer if they want others to play with them - sometimes peer pressure is a good thing.

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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 10:50 am
@boomerang,
Recess coaches?

Bleh.

The whole point of recess is, ya know, RECESS. Stop the whole structure and learn and do this and do that for a bit. Run around and go crazy.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 10:52 am
@sozobe,
Recess rant I wrote a bit ago:

http://observationalism.com/2009/02/03/annals-of-scientific-i-thought-sos-recess/
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 11:10 am
@boomerang,
Quote:
We want to see a structured time to learn social skills, learn sportsmanship, thinking and movement.


Another thought... isn't that what gym is supposed to be for?
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 12:42 pm
Good rant, soz. I didn't know you were a blogger!

I think part of the problem is that recess is the new P.E., here at least, since many schools don't have the money for P.E. teachers. Mo's school, for example, has a foundation that raises money to pay for a full time P.E. teacher, and music teacher, (parents run the art program, and, while there is a librarian, parent volunteers really do a bulk of the work). Without the foundation we wouldn't have P.E. or music.

But yeah, if kids get in trouble in class they have to forefit part of their recess which just makes them crazy when they get back to class.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 12:48 pm
@boomerang,
Oh yikes! That makes some sense then though. I do think that P.E./ gym is important, and if it doesn't exist... but plain ol' recess is still so important, anyway. Truly sucks that any district would have to make that choice.

(I'm kinda-sorta a blogger, a group of us started the blog before the elections and post-elections I haven't had nearly so much to say re: politics and not that much to say about anything else, either.)
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 05:03 pm
Gawd, I used to hate recess duty and that wasn't even as far as this goes. I hated telling kids they couldn't climb a tree a few feet off the ground (school rule), couldn't shoot imaginary guns (swords were ok, though), and couldn't play on part of the play structure if you were under a certain grade level. Bah! Maybe I'll stay in middle school (no recess at all).
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 01:42 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
What do you think of the idea of recess coaches?

Until I read this, I actually liked it -- the idea of recess coaches, that is. But having read your thread now, it seems to me that schools are screwing up this perfectly good idea in the application.

But maybe I was starting with the wrong conception of what a recess coach is. I first heard the word in on NPR, when a teacher from a tough Philadelphia neighborhood talked about her work. As I remember it, her story was that schools in this neighborhood had had physical education choked off by budget cuts. (Sounds a bit like your story so far, boomerang.) And now, during recess the kids started knife fights with each other because they didn't know what to do with themselves. They didn't know how to play dodge ball and other classical games anymore. So the teachers became "recess coaches" and started organizing games for the children. Children found playing much more attractive than fighting, violence on the schoolyard quickly receded, and everyone lived happily ever after. That's the image I got away with.

Ever since this broadcast, which I heard maybe half a year ago, I'd been thinking of recess coaches as enablers of play, not as enforcers of stupid school rules designed to stifle it. I thought recess coaches were pretty cool. Did NPR instill the wrong image in me? Are play enablers the exception among recess coaches, and play quashers the rule?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 02:52 pm
@Thomas,
I think it's more that it's pretty unusual that kids don't know how to play, left to their own devices. Knives et al is pretty extreme I think.

My own kid at recess plays:

-Soccer
-Foursquare
-Tag
-A bazillion varieties of made-up games, including but not limited to house, superheroes, zoo, pet store, get-the-rock, walk-and-talk, and chase. (As well as many other random activities that are too random to warrant a name.)

Her school has recess monitors (who seem pretty lackadaisical, mostly there for a quick response if someone gets hurt) but no recess coaches.

In your scenario though that does make sense to me too, even if it's very sad that it's necessary.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 06:21 am
@Thomas,
Interesting!

Now I'm wishing the article had gone into more depth about the history of the idea. Often good ideas get screwed up in the application.

Our paper didn't talk about violence at all -- just about some kids not having fun and sometimes getting hurt.

I think I need to do a bit more reading on the topic.

Thanks!
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 08:48 am
Interesting. I've never heard of a recess coach either!

When my daughter was in elementary school, we parents took turns and watched them during recess. Usually, the kids came up with their own games
and parents interfered only when it got too rough.

Now in middle school, they have no recess but PE every day. I like that!
0 Replies
 
 

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