“Good grades, Good career, Good life” that was the model that many parents emphasized when it came to education since their kids were young . As seen in Nelson and Dawson article that “there are some children that can read fluently by the end of preparatory year while some children cannot read without great difficulty. This can cause zeal and anxious among parents which yields a de facto form of competition.” As I grew up in Singapore, I experienced first hand on how competitive people got in terms of education. Many of my classmates including myself even had to go for private tutoring to better our grades or even for performance in sports or music. Most of my classmates had jam packed schedules that was filled with many classes just to be one up. There was a pressure that we just had to do better and perform. Every day people subconsciously just have the habit to compete with one another. However, is it really considered unfair competition if we had private tutoring just to help us keep up with the pace of the class? Why do we consider unfair competition when it comes to education, If we look at competition in sports, if you want to improve radically, you must play competitive. The metric for being good is configured around winning. So could we use grades to determine how smart one is?
When we look back in the beginning, there is no evidence of competition in the kind of learning that Socrates expected. However, in most countries these days, there is some form of competition in our education system. As mentioned in @jessiec2708 blogpost, there is a dilemma on whether we should remove or have competition. As if we removed competition in getting good grade and leave it as a pass-fail module, it would reduce the incentives for some students to strive for excellence in their respective fields. Then when we look at having competition in our educational system, it could then reduce the students desire to cultivate affection for the field and the intrinsic value of thinking deeper of the matter. As students would be too focused on memorizing and strategize on how to get better grades than their peers. Personally, the educational system we have today does not justify a student’s capability and we should restructure the way students are graded to improve cooperation. As some students, might take longer to understand a problem, forced to study a major that might not be of self interest but due to their past grades or even in the classroom where one might not be as outspoken as the rest thus suffers on the grade. The way the rubrics of the grading system is so rigid that some students might be put on a disadvantage right from the start while some might even benefit from it as it is tailored to their capability. Melina also did mention from an anthropological point of view that it might not be the individual who acts selfishly in its attempt to survive but the gene. It is in our natural biology that we compete to survive, which is enforced by systems such as our education.
Education should always be challenged, so that students are able to explore their curiosity without the fear of getting bad grades. It should never become a chore for students and to feel pressured and stressed about deadlines and good grades. All students should have motivation to study whatever field they are passionate about. So that learning will grow from within their field instead of the external pressure we get. As when we place too much emphasis on grades, we would shortchange ourselves in learning. As at times I have seen people not truly understanding the topic and basically just memorizing and regurgitating the answer during the exam. When we remove all these external pressures that students face, we would be able to see inspired students potentially be more willing to cooperate with other similar people who share the same interest in their fields. Although it appears that they are getting good grades, we must question on this point and ask ourselves are there really getting educated or we are just churning out students that are good at strategy and memorizing for grades?
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