Competition in Education: a Good or Bad Form of Motivation?

The article “Competition, education and assessment: connecting history with recent scholarship” by Nelson and Dawson, it is structured in a way that shows the of how competition relates to education and the effects of it.
As time passes, high school students are faced with harder and harder material. I agree with @tiffanyma2018’s view that “pedagogical disadvantages of competition far outweigh its advantages”When I think about education or academics, I immediately feel stressed. Whether its because I know that the people around me are very competitive in their studies, or if it’s my parents constantly asking about my grades. And I think about how many students take classes outside of school just to make sure they are at the top of their class. But the difference between academic competition and other types of competition is that there can be many winners because there can be multiple people with A+ as a grade. 
In the article, they mention competition between students as a way to help the students stay motivated. Although I agree on this point, I feel that there are other ways to keep students motivated during their time in school. As a student, I often tie competition with stress. And something from this that relates to the psychology presentation I was a part of (ASTU 101 P04), competition in academics is something that is rarely talked about between friends. And so stress is hard to get rid of.
The authors see competition as an ideology in society. And it becomes more obvious that the standards just keep getting higher and higher, hence the competition levels get increased. And so in order to prove how smart students can be these days, more and more educational systems have come out with ways to challenge us as students and test our limits. For example, the SAT, ACT, AP, and IB. Where I went to high school, it would be considered weird that you did not take either AP or IB courses. And in a competing high school close to mine, you had no choice but to take the IB or else you could not attend that school.
Education is such an important part of our life, and as competition in this field increases, stress levels for students increase. I feel like this has a great link with the presentation on anthropology about competition and the use of drugs (in ASTU 101 P04). The use of drugs increase a reason being due to stress in school and in order have better results, people are going out of their way to get the highest grade possible. In fact, Studies have shown that normal children today experience more anxiety levels than child psychiatric patients in the 1950s.
I believe that there can be other ways in which students can be motivated in a way that requires much less competition, and therefore could lead to reducing stress. There are so many aspects as to whether or not competition is a good way to motivate people. Because on one hand, yes students do well. But the end results are that stress builds up, and personally, I believe that health (and even more specifically, mental health) should be seen as more important than grades.
Hence, although competition does serve as a way to motivate people, I feel that it should be limited. However, a question that follows this is; in what way can we put a limit on competition?
Image Credit:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s