Schools should be aiming to promote success in their classrooms and a good motivation for doing so is to have competition.
Competition provides a goal, an aim for learners to aspire to. I believe that is needed to inspire learners to submit their best work and achieve the best they can. I am firmly convinced that some competition aids achievement in Schools.
The arguments against competition is that learners who never come out on top in competitions consistently will eventually be deterred and their learning will suffer. That is fair to say but it only happens if you only consistently do the same type of competition which excludes those learners. If anything that is done in the classroom is done thoroughly and well planned; if the educator finds ways in which everything, including competitions, is inclusive; if it is put forward in an interactive and creative way in which the taking part is reward enough you will always be able to motivate learners through whatever you do and especially in the case of competitions.
And if those against competition in school use the argument I stated at the beginning of the previous paragraph, then the flip side is also true: if those learners who could possibly come out on top have nothing to aim for then they to will become despondent because they do not have the sufficient challenge they need.
And that is what is needed for success to happen, for sufficient challenge to be given to pupils. Challenge they can cope with, and it’s possible for them to succeed in, but that also stretches them. Children learn best through interaction and through doing things, completing projects, group work and such like. You could do group competition and strategically place children of different levels and abilities in the same group so that the level of ability in each group is equal.
This would not only provide a good opportunity for kids to interact with each other but to succeed together and to stretch each other. Creating an environment where every ones contribution is needed and important. Some will be intellectual and do the research; some may prefer to sort out the research and put it together; and others may be able to present it better in some way, verbal or written. But the fact remains that you are giving the needed stretch just enough to help the learner in their development and every individual learner achieves something that is meaningful to them personally through doing the exercise. If you accomplish that you are creating a positive learning environment where competition aids the success and achievement of the learners.
The only thing that is harmful to learners in schools is educators who do not know the best way in which to use different tools to inspire and motivate success and learning. Anything in the hands of a good educator will be of enormous benefit to the learners, and that is definately inclusive of competition.