Life is competitive, folks. There is no way around it.
Job opportunities, especially the good ones, will require us to compete for them. Other career choices, lifestyle choices, living arrangements, etc., can all be very competitive. Whether we like it or not, competition is part of life.
Competing for things in life is not bad. On the contrary, competition can be a wonderful motivator, provided we don’t take it too far.
In the school classroom, competitiveness is often a controversial topic. Some feel it is detrimental to encourage competition of any type in youngsters. We see this all the time in youth sports today. “Making the team” definitely has a different meaning in today’s world as many parents try to protect their children from hurt feelings.
In addition to preparing them for what they will no doubt encounter as an adult, competition also encourages and motivates youngsters to work hard and perform better. Classroom competition should be designed to help students learn and improve.
How can competition in the classroom help our students achieve?
1. Encourage Hard Work and Effort – Everyone wants to win. If the only way to make that happen is to work hard, this is a powerful motivator.
2. Learn how to cope when they don’t win- As mentioned earlier, this is a necessary life skill.
3. Helps students learn and identify what they are good at, in relation to others- By competing with others, students can learn where they stand. This is how they may learn that they are better than other students at math, or science, or language arts.
4. Builds Confidence. Once students learn what they are good at, they feel good about themselves.
5. Students have fun- The more fun students have in the classroom, the better their attitude will be towards learning. Better attitude= better performance, in almost every aspect of life.
Classroom competitions should also be organized to be fun. Competition should be enjoyed. This is also a wonderful opportunity to teach a lesson to those that may not come out on top. No one can always be a winner, and it’s good for children to learn that. This is a chance for them to learn how to be a “good sport” and deal with that accordingly. They must learn to deal with this internally within themselves, as well as externally in how they treat others that may have come out higher in the competition.
Competition in our schools, both academically and athletically, will help prepare our children for the adult world they will one day be part of.
That is our responsibility as adults, is it not? It is our job to help prepare our children for the future.
For more information on competition in the classroom, take a look at these wonderfully written articles: