Let’s Ban “the ball”

Recently, a school in Toronto banned “the ball”  from school. The whole school. They are opting for something safer like badminton and bean bag tossing. My old school board, TDSB (Toronto District School Board) is considering a board wide ban. What’s next? Banning pencils?

Watch the video below for a great response to this issue. It would all be farcical if indeed there weren’t some really serious issues involved.

One of the joys of working outside of North America as a teacher has been not being overburdened with issues of  “student safety”. Filling out reams of forms for the simplest of “outdoor” activities and excursions.  Constant monitoring of students wherever they are, whatever they are doing (are we “guards”?). Etc….

In the U.S. and Canada, teachers (and by default school boards) can be held accountable under civil law for student injury. So the issues are serious and wideranging. Here’s one interesting case as an example, one of many. This is one cause of the fixation on student safety.

Further, beyond issues of civil suits and legal negligence, there is the issue of just “what is school?”.  I mean, school is often seen as a place for “the neck up” as Ken Robinson would frame it. That despite all our progressive rhetoric, school is still seen as a place where we filter kids for academics and “brain power”. The arts, movement, sports – all just add ons and if issues of safety do arise, they can be easily sacrificed because our philosophy of education  doesn’t really take them seriously.

Listen to Rex Murphy and let these issues stir and simmer. What do you believe? How is it in your own part of the world?

Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

2 Responses

  1. T Bestwick says:

    Great video, David – thanks for sharing it! I’m a British teacher living in Spain and it took me a while to break down my barriers and connect with very young learners. The Brit in me was screaming, “Don’t touch them. You’re an adult and affection and natural human contact can be misconstrued as paedophilia!” But Spanish people are very touchy-feely and it looks foreign and odd not to hug children when they run up to you in the playground or let them sit on your lap when you’re watching a DVD in class.
    Also, I can’t imagine them banning balls in Spanish schools as football is incredibly popular here – in fact the best-selling daily is a sports- (primarily football) related newspaper!

  2. ddeubel says:


    good point I didn’t mention – about how difficult it is to show affection in our schools. We even make being human and caring difficult. I hear you!

    Yeah, I don’t think, especially S.Europe, will ever go for these very prohibitive (and essentially dehumanizing) measures. But it is something teachers who go to other cultures have to come to terms with and it takes some time to “be free” again…


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