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pe in year 6 boys barechested

Discussion in 'Physical education' started by marshallb, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. I am a history teacher but have to teach some PE due to a lack of staff. This is an all-boys comprehensive.
    Our school has just returned to a shorts-only policy for indoor PE, like it used to be when I was a boy. Pupils are now expected to be in white shorts, barechest and barefoot. It has been introduced on health & safety reasons, as another poster already mentioned. In fact, it was quite difficult to verify that boys kept their shirts tucked-in during PE and we had one near accident because of this.
    I must say that there has been a noticeable difference in boys attitudes. FIrst of all, we have fewer lads 'forgetting' their kit and they seem more active and motivated in PE. In some way, being shirtless, seems to make them more aware of their bodies and eager to exercice. However, this is not true off all boys, as some seem to find the experience terrifying; but of those, most have now setteld in, it is probably just a matter of getting used to it.
    We do not make boys go outside with no top on, expect when they forget to bring their outdoor kit.
    I would be interested in hearing other teachers' reactions to shirtless PE classes as it seems to come back into fashion now.
  2. I have to say that I do find the "skins" thing quite strange. Boys often take their shirts off when playing football etc when they are hot and I always ask them to put them back on as I don't think it is appropriate for them to be semi naked in effect in a mixed environment. That is just my view. A beach or swimming pool is fine. The playground is not!
  3. If boys wan't to be barechested, why not let them. I personally think it has all to do with the feminization of the education system. It is all these restrictions that turn boys off school. There should be more opportunities for boys to engage in 'masculine culture' without being told off for it. I know that my education was quite different, when PE teachers actually made us go shirtless as a punishment or to toughen us up.
  4. Hi, looking for stuff , I found this lesson observation form the nineties on the net of a teacher using shirtlessness in order to punish boys. This took place in a primary school:

    "Three boys too slow in dressing from Y6 P.E. in the previous week had to sit in shorts and underpants only (that is bare chests, legs and bare feet on the floor) during spelling and multiplication tests after P.E.. I doubt if girls would have been treated this way."

    This does suggest that this kind of thing does go on!

    Full link:
  5. loupi, in my school some of the boys have taken their shirts off specifically to exert their masculinity in an effort to be "gangsta". If girls were to take their shirts off it would be wholly inappropriate and I think it should be the same for boys. It is my personal opinion. Maybe I've become more of a prude as I've got older but, for example, I don't like walking down the high street in summer and seeing men with their shirts off. Equally girls walking around in bikini tops.
  6. As a parent of two boys (12/14) at the same school, I have to say that the level of PE kit allowed or not allowed doesn't worry me, additionally it clearly doesn't worry my lads.

    The older boy is allowed to wear "full kit" but chooses to wear just shorts and trainers, I'm told a number of boys in his class wear no shirts or have bare feet. The younger one has a teacher who makes boys go shirtless, but again a number of boys seem to elect to wear just shorts, as he does.

    I would be against making boys strip to the waist outside as a punishment for obvious reasons, but if they choose to do so (as lots of boys do, especially in the summer), why should parents be worried.

    Both boys have to shower, but it seems this is not universal in all schools, whch to me seems more worrying than making a boy take of his shirt
  7. Showering is always an issue in schools these days. For us we simply do not have the time for kids to get good quality PE lessons and have showers. Out of an hour long lesson we are lucky to get 40 minutes of actual PE time when you take into account arrival from previous lesson and changing into and out of PE kit. We do actually have showers that kids can use but none of them do. I, along with many I suspect, remember the draconian way of enforcing showers after PE lessons with teachers standing and watching etc. I suspect that is also one reason why showers are not as common after lessons. If we had longer I would encourage all of them to have showers.
  8. Hi
    I have read the disucssion going on here and want to give you my experience. I am a 6th form student and have had to do PE until last year and we had a teacher who made us strip to the waist. We were only allowed white shorts for PE and I absolutetly hated it. What's the point of making us go barechested?? What's the point of PE anyway? Making us go semi-naked was probavly for the viewing pleasure of our PE teacher (sad git). However, my parents never seemed worried about it, boys don't need shirts for sports is what my dad used to say.
    Thank God PE is over and finished with.
  9. Dear Friends,

    This thread was given to me by a mutual friend. I am a Primary school teacher from America. I have also taught internationally. As our school has no PE teacher, I have had to fill the role at times.

    I have personally never had a problem with my students who chose to play skins for sports outdoors. I would also point out that for sports like Gymnastics, singlets are more commonly the uniform used. Even when T-shirts are tucked in, there is consriction of movement from the material of the shirt to allow the body to move freely. That is why tighter material is used in uniforms for gymnastics and usually the arms are bare.

    If singlets are not availible, for boys, bare chested is the safest way to practice the sport. Usually, genders are separated for PE, and so being shirtless around other boys shouldn't present much of a problem.

    I would have a real problem if going shirtless were a form of punishment, but so long as the kids don't have a problem, I see no reason why I should. For reasons of safety, as mentioned by this PE teacher, I think it is a good precaution.

    I remember growing up, and being skins at time helped me to be aware of my physical development, I played better, and I moved with more freedom. I also grew up more confidently and enjoy recreation still today. I think kids who shy away from how they look are less likely to be physically active growing up and we have a real problem world-wide with obiesity.

    If being bare-chested helps you overcome some kind of self-consiousness and to be healthier, as it did me, I think it's all the better to encourage, not hinder.
  10. Having taught p.e. and various other subjects for just over 20 years I find that so many issues seem to go full-circle.Just over 10years ago I taught in a comprehensive where boys wore just shorts for p.e.. I found no problem with this policy as it made issues around kit so much easier and was certainly excellent in terms of health and safety issues. Now they wear full kit for indoor sports although we usually play shirts and skins in basketball and 5-a-side.Most seem to prefer skins to shirts when given a choice so personally from my experience not wearing shirts in p.e.does seem to make sense
  11. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Just to keep this going!

    A few questions for those of you that insist on the boys stripping to the waist;

    1)What about muslim boys who are expected to dress modestly at all times?

    2)What about the extremes of body shapes (ie the obese or ultra-thin) who get ribbed (no pun intended)/ bullied / teased enough as it is? Would you insist on them going "skins"? I have students who I allow to wear t-shirts in the swimming pool as they are so conscious of their shape / size.

    3)Or do we not bother about these children and accept the "notes from parents" excusing them for all types of weird and wonderful excuses when the real reason is the embarrassment?
  12. 1)What about muslim boys who are expected to dress modestly at all times?

    >>>Men are required to cover thier bodies from the navel to the knee in Muslim tradition. Many muslims in coutries like Banglidesh and Indonesia are bare from the waist up for working the fields. Children even attend classes in just the flowing pants called "lungi" and no one thinks anything of it; freedom of upperbody movement is very important when working with the arms in such work as in the fields.

    2)What about the extremes of body shapes (ie the obese or ultra-thin) who get ribbed (no pun intended)/ bullied / teased enough as it is? Would you insist on them going "skins"? I have students who I allow to wear t-shirts in the swimming pool as they are so conscious of their shape / size.

    >>>Allowing kids to wear shirts in the swimming pool is a risk I wouldn't take. The shirt can restrict movement in the water and make it that much harder for the child to learn to swim. People come in all shapes and sizes, yes. I think if society were to realize that instead of poke fun at the non-model types, we would be a lot kinder a people. Society shows immaturity by the jokes, not the child who may have a different build. And, as I stated, a child who is more aware of his physical development is more likely to be healthier in the long run. I overcame my inhibitions of being shirtless as a teen when I played skins. I was husky and was teased, but now I'm much healthier than I was as a child.

    3)Or do we not bother about these children and accept the "notes from parents" excusing them for all types of weird and wonderful excuses when the real reason is the embarrassment?

    >>>I have never encountered such a note. Should one come to me, I would respect it, of corse, permiting it does not compromise the safety of the child. At which point, I would work out a compromise with the parent, perhaps a white tank top instead of going shirtless for swimming and gymnastics.
  13. My school has same policy for boys PE kit - shorts and no t shirt for indoor PE. I don't have a problem with this policy and neither do the children. With all policies, there has to be some degree of flexibility - if a child was unhappy about being barechested for religious reasons or possibly obesity, the school would discuss the child's viewpoint and try to reach a sensible compromise. However, in my experience it appears that most boys actually enjoy doing PE bare chested!
  14. I would like to respond from the viewpoint of a now 40 year old man who as a boy growing up was one of the shy boys who was uncomfortable going shirtless. I was allowed to wear my shirt, whether in PE when other boys did not, and even in the swimming pool. As a result, it became ingrained in my subconscious that it was wrong for me to ever be shirtless in public (for example at the beach, or at the pool with friends, or even in my own backyard in fear that a neighbor may see me). With considerable effort, and with the support of my wife, I have mostly overcome this phobia. But I cannot help but believe that if, as a boy, I was made to participate in PE shirtless, I may have had a few uncomfortable days but would have quickly gotten over the shyness. It would have become a natural thing to be shirtless with my male peers and I could have avoided years of painful anxiety, and may not have turned down all those invitations to the pools parties or the beach trips. Just something else to consider.
  15. I agree brgriffin. We shouldn't stop boys doing PE barechested because of embarrasment (unless of course it is extreme embarassment, when i think we should look for an alternative). When boys swim at school for the first time, they are often embarassed to be seen in just swimming trunks, however, they soon forget about it and happily take part in the swimming lesson. this is similar to the thorny debate of whether children should be made to shower after PE. Some belive no, because it embarasses them. I disagree, boys may be embarased at first, but they soon get over it and it is much better to be hygenic. having said all that, if a child had a real issue with showering, I would encouarge him, but I would never force him. ahnd the same goes for being bare chested.
  16. hi jimbohot, with reference to your posting about the boys doing indoor pe in just shorts and no tops and the policy at your school. Is the policy based on health and safety aspects of the kit or performance being better or the fact that the kids themselves just prefer it.
  17. Hi Marshallb

    Can I ask your advice.

    I am a PE Teacher at an upper school in Bedfordshire and have recently been approached by the school head, who wants to sort out the school's dress code.

    I take a class of twenty 15 year old boys for two hours of PE on a Tuesday morning. For the last few months at least half of them have been turning up in outdoor rugby sweaters despite my telling them that they should be wearing the correct kit for indoor PE, which is a white gym vest, shorts and bare feet.

    Last term I decided to get tough and forced them to go back to the changing room and remove all inappropriate clothing. Miraculously, they all walked back into the gym a few seconds later sporting clean white vests. However, four of them had to go topless because they had no vests with them.

    I am now being accused by one of the parents of being a pervert and she is trying to press for my dismissal. Can anyone tell me what I have done wrong?


  18. Jon, thats an awful position to be in and i really feel for you, ive been reading these comments with interest, as a female pe teacher in an all girls school this propblem doesnt apply to me so i guess im lucky in that respect.
    As for your actions towards these boys i fully support you, children need to learn that PE is no different to any other subject, if a child comes into a classroom without their books/homework/equipment approproiate action is taken and you did what you felt was right in your situation and again i agree with your actions. What is your school saying about this parent and what they are asking for?
    Dont mean to be nosey but out of interest are you new to teaching/the school?
  19. Was the parent the parent of one of the lads who had to be in his 'skins' for not having a white school PE top?
    If he was, then ask that parent why their son did not have the correct kit?
    If he has no top or there is genuine hardship, then could the school have a supply of white tops to lend such lads so they are not discriminated against?
    I'm afraid I have gone past this kit issue; I was always happy that they took part.
  20. Thank you for replying sexyfootball03 and gigirl

    I am relatively new to teaching at this school and the Head Teacher has commented negatively about my tactics, stating that I should have been more lenient.

    The complaint originated from a parent of one of the boys that did the whole lesson with no top on. Ten minutes into the lesson he asked me if he could put his top back on because he was cold, to which I refused. I'm now starting to regret that decision.

    I recall that there was some embarrasment incurred when a female PE Teacher and a group of girls entered the gym to pick up some net balls from the cupboard and inevitably there was a lot of wolf whistling and laughter at their expense, but at the time I regarded it as being tough luck on them for not having brought the correct kit.

    I know for a fact that this boy has a white vest, but he doesn't wear it because he is slightly fat.

    I don't feel that I have done anything wrong but I am failing to win any kind of support from my colleagues.


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