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Class Supplement, TOEFL Essay, Should PE a required activity at school?


Writing Topic
There are people who think that physical exercise should be a required activity at school. Others argue that school should be concerned only with academic studies, and that physical exercise is something best left out of school life. Which of these views do you share? Justify your answer with specific reasons.

Let’s Think
By the expression “required activity,” the first statement means that everyone has to take PE classes. The second statement means that PE does not meet the purposes of school education and should not be included in school curriculums or should be treated as something optional or extra.

How do we decide which subject is required at school? Do we decide it based on the purpose of education, based on the purpose of school, or based on the benefits PE provides? What are the purposes and benefits of PE? What are the problems with it?

♦The purpose of education
1. To promote physical, mental, and social development of individuals.
2. To develop every individual to their full potential.

♦The purpose of school
1. To promote physical, mental, and social development of individuals.
2. To equip individuals with earning ability

♦The purposes or benefits of physical education
1. Healthy mind and body: Not only can it promote physical fitness and develop motor skills but also it can help students better concentrate on their study if they exercise moderately.
2. Healthy lifestyle: Students who are not interested in sports can learn to stay in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle into adulthood.
3. Familiarity with some popular sports: Having some hands on experience with some popular sports will help students enjoy playing or watching them.
4. Intimacy with classmates and social skills: Playing sports or doing exercise together will help students gain intimacy with other students and develop social skills.
5. Your point:

☆Your tentative conclusion:
I think PE meets / does not meet the purpose of education/school because …

☆Sample response
I think PE meets the purpose of education and school because it promotes physical, mental, and social development of individuals.

♦The problems of physical education
1. No substantial effect: To develop and maintain physical fitness requires regular activity, while most schools have PE classes only twice or three times a week, and this is not enough for the purpose. After school sport activities such as going to gyms or participating in sports clubs actually meet the needs.
2. Obstacle to going on to college for some students: High school students who are not good at sports or who are unable to attend PE classes because of illness or injury cannot receive good grades in PE, while these grades are usually included in their GPA (Grade Point Average).
3. Your point:

Let’s Deal with Counter-arguments
A counter-argument is a bonus-point icon in an essay writing game. If you venture to take it up and deal with it successfully, your essay will jump up to the upper level and you will be awarded with a good score. On the other hand, if you fail to be aware of an inevitable counter-argument, your essay will become vulnerable to the attack on it. Your raters may regard the neglected counter-argument as a flaw in logic. Think of the debate for which you had not prepared carefully. Although you do not have to demonstrate how smart you are, as TOFFL essay writing is an English test, you may well show that you can think and write objectively in English.

Examples of Counter-arguments and Counter-counter-arguments
1. Twice or three times of PE a week is not enough for fitness. ⇔ Some work out is better than zero.

2. Most people with poor sports ability will never play sports after graduation. ⇔ Sports and health control issues are relevant in social life, so they will benefit at least from knowledge they receive in PE classes.

3. Making PE required is unfair for physically disadvantaged students in university entrance examinations because GPA includes PE grades. ⇔ Paper test results and attendance rates are considered in the evaluation, so including PE grades in GPA is not unfair.

4. For some students, PE classes are a torture because they get embarrassed in front of their classmates. ⇔ This is the same with other students who are not good at other subjects. For example, music, art, or math classes are a torture for some students. The important thing is to protect everyone’s dignity in any classes.

5. You can learn how to work as part of a team in other classes or activities as well. ⇔ You can do it more efficiently and effectively in PE classes than in any other class or activity because, in PE classes, you use your body to work with others and usually are required to move and react instantly.

☆Your final conclusion:
I think PE should be mandatory / optional because …

For example, …

Also, …

☆A counter-argument you expect and your confirmation of your conclusion:
Some might say that …

However, …

☆Sample conclusion, counter-argument, and counter-counter-argument.
I think PE should be mandatory because it fulfills the purpose of education: to promote physical, mental, and social development of individuals.
For example, by playing basketball, you can become physically fit, learn to think quickly, and work as part of a team.
Also, you can make friends with your classmates.
Some might say that no one becomes really fit by attending PE classes only twice or three times a week.
However, working out some is better than zero, especially for people like me who are couch potatoes and never try to do any exercise afterschool. Also, not all individuals can go to gyms or join clubs after school. School physical education, which provides appropriate facilities and kits, can give opportunities to try new sports to those who have no chance to try them.

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