Before this week comes to an end I would just like to highlight some thoughts that I conjured up upon reading this week’s article.
To be honest, when reading this article about competition in education by Nelson & Dawson I felt a sense of nostalgia in a way. The use of having competition in education does benefit the capitalists who consider the “best” and “worst” students based on grades and the scaling system itself. Competition is seen as a problem in education due to the fact that it makes us feel lesser than ourselves; it gives us a reason to compete for the top score and to be the best based on the standards that achievements are everything in society. However, I do not think that competition in itself is a bad way of perceiving education. It gives a reason to learn for the greater and strive for something more than what we were/had before. Similar to a couple weeks ago when we discussed this idea of competition being a factor of evolution and that we would not be in this industrialized global world today without competition.
In Tuesday’s class we discussed how if we can consider removing competition from education as a whole, and in what way would it effect the educative system. When Michael talked about this school that has done this by removing the whole marking system as a whole, what surprised me was the fact that even if there were no scaling system the students who study there are generally intelligent. This gave me a sense that even if we remove competition from education, we would still see competition everywhere we went whether at school or at work especially. The concept that we could try to remove competition from education but it would not work is something that I learned during the presentation today. People have tried to remove competition from different discourses or tried to change peoples perspective on negatively perceived competition such as last week when we talked about stereotypes. Yet, I do not think that competition is all that bad. Yes, competitive education does give us anxiety, stress, and depression all the time throughout our life, but if we take it away how do we strive to become a better person and learn more about life without these experiences.
Comparison is a big thing when discussing education because we always compare ourselves to others on a daily basis, that even today it could be considered a stereotype threat as we unconsciously do this. Last week during my presentation on competition in psychology I gave an example on how when your friend does better than you on a test and you do not do as well, we would feel bad about ourself which would end up giving us a perceived idea of competition. We can see this example through Cheryl’s identification on Garcia’s piece of how “we are more willing to help strangers than our friends and feel more threatened by the success of our friends than by strangers.” In education we unconsciously compare ourselves to others due to the fact that they are smarter or better than us. It is not something to feel bad about though, instead, we should take into consideration that we as social individuals are not perfect. No one is better than another and a test mark is just a number. If we can take into reasoning and understanding that we all have our own faults and we continuously make mistakes, would society become less competitive?
The answer is “it depends.” Everything depends on our own experiences as people. Therefore, it’s just to say that in education even if we fail, make a mistake, or do terribly in a course it does not make us less of a person than any other human being on campus.
Through Bateson, Hutcheon, and Van Loo I can see that collaborating with others is really the best solution to the whole problem of competition in education. If we work together as a community, as a society, then will we then be able to achieve greater things compared to individuality. Because everyone has different opinions and experiences to convey to the world, we can all help each other strive for a better sense of individuality; that we can only find our own self by first clearly understanding the differences of others. Hence, we would not be in such a world without competition and cooperation.