Side-Effects From Competition

In Nelson and Dawson’s paper, their intention is to avoid the contemporary mainstream of educational practice and to look into the historical evidence of attitudes to competition. Philosophy Socrates claimed that there is no evidence of competition in the kind of learning; competition is used in sports, sometimes music, and wars, but not education. The historical record also mentioned that the grading system in the past does not have an actual score, they used pass grade only. This decrease the competition among students, in other words, decrease the amount of anxiety for students.

   Anxiety plays a big role in competition, it is one of the main side effects caused by competition. Competition means there are going to be a winner and a loser as a counterpart. Just think of ourselves, are we going to be happy if we are the loser in the competition? The answer is absolute no. No one likes to be defeated by others. Therefore, if a student counters failure several times, he will fear the feelings of failure and it might discourage him from learning. In addition, anxiety does not only prevent us from learning but have a negative impact on both mental and physical health.

   Referring to John’s article, he talks about competition leads to cheating and bribery. As I mentioned above, no one likes the taste of failure. In this case, some people might use drastic methods to avoid failures, such as cheating and bribery. As we can see, cheating in school is not uncommon anymore, however, the radical problem is never solved – competition. Cheating and bribery also presence from workplace to school just like the competition.

   From all the examples above, it is clear that competition can bring several destructive side effects to our society. These side effects are well-connected, for example, students who suffered from anxiety cannot study well, when they only focus on the numerical score they received, they will try to apply another way to achieve their goal. Hence, we should learn to avoid competition in education.


  1. Hello, this was a very interesting read!
    I like how you brought in the effects of competition at school, such as cheating and bribery. This reminds me of one of the presentations at the start of the term about how the pressure to get high grades can cause university students to succumb to using drugs. Like you said, it really emphasizes how many students fear failure, and how they let their grades define their self-worth. It’s almost like if they fail in school, then they fail in life.
    I also found it interesting how you mentioned that past grading systems only give pass/fail grades. While this may reduce anxiety in students, it may also make things more vague in some aspects. For example, if there aren’t specific grades for each student, it might be hard for institutions and whatnot to gauge who can enter their program if there are limited spots. So I suppose that with this (and many other things), there are both positive and negative effects.
    Thanks again for this post!


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