Is an Academically Competitive Atmosphere in School Positive or Negative

We’ve all seen students and individuals in society that we perceive to be people who excel in life and in some cases are over achievers. Why is it that some people are driven to achieve a quality, purpose driven life while others find themselves just getting by or struggling most of their lives?

We find ourselves in a new millennium at a time when Americans are so career focused that large families are all but a thing of the past. When a person is a member of a large family there can be a healthy competitive environment in the home. This air of competition tends to urge the children to strive to excel in their lives. Particularly in more affluent families it appears that none of the children want to be perceived as inferior to any of their siblings.

Families with only one child seem to lack this sense of competition. “Yeow! I’m in Charge of a Human Being”, is a book from Mary Ellis’ “Child Care” series of books published in 1997. The book infers that a student who is an “only child” has to seek avenues outside of the home to reinforce the motivational base their parents have created. When the student fails to find a mentor or an environment that inspires them there is a propensity to settle for doing only what they need to do to get by. These children develop wonderful survival skills but do not attain the life lessons necessary for consistent growth in life.

For this reason it is vital to create an academically competitive environment for students. My feeling is that it helps the student develop problem solving skills; it teaches them how to work with others and helps the student to establish cognoscenti thinking skills for framing the quality of life they wish to achieve. With a competitive academic atmosphere as their foundation success would likely be assured.

One must, however take it a step further. It is important for educators to provide the student with reasons to compete. For students who have never met a doctor, lawyer or any other professional that they know personally those professions and lifestyles can appear unattainable. By exposing the students to such professionals and making the professionals accessible to the students they are shown a first hand example of what is possible in their lives. This exposure lead awareness of purposeful people who care about their families, community and country is key because it could be the missing link for inspiring a quality, purpose driven life.