Competition is an aspect of everyday life as an adult, and we all encounter it to differing degrees: ‘Who has reached the most targets in the office?’, ‘The best behaved child at playgroup?’, ‘Newest Car?’ ‘Most desirable home?’ The list is endless……
Although it is a healthy, natural aspect of life it is important in education that it is not merely focused on academic results. If a child is not academic naturally they may be discouraged or completely give up if they always seem to be in the bottom group. Rewards and recognition should always be given to all aspects of life. Sporting achievements, social skills, artistic talents are often overlooked.
There is much controversy at the moment about sports day and the competitive factor, but not so much when high achieving academic pupils gain rewards. Why is this? why do some people feel that only children that excel in certain areas should gain recognition of their skills? Why should a child not be recognised for their sporting talents? It is a fact that we all have different talents and each talent is their own gift and should be nurtured.
It is ironic that once leaving education that the talents of top sports people, artists and actors are rewarded higher than that of top academics such as doctors and professors. So why are these talents not equally recognised in education?
Many high achievers in life were not particularly academic but excelled in their own area of expertise. Why then do we seek to turn out all students to be identical in their achievements? Non academic skills are often overlooked in our education system in the pursuit of league table results and examinations. This is going against the nature of the human species and pupils are left to feel inadequate if they do not fit the required ideal.
It therefore should be that all aspects of life are valued equally and all pupils recognised for their own achievements, not just focused on some test that will get them to a certain level on a league table. While tests and exams are of course useful to assess needs of a pupil and give them support to improve, the whole of the education system seems geared towards getting the highest on league tables. The aspirations, achievement and effort a child puts into a piece of work, and functions as a whole person, is far more important than just attaining a government imposed level on a table of results.