Meaning of competition: is it just competition?

In the article “Competition, education and assessment: connecting history with recent scholarship”, Robert Nelson and Phillip Dawson explain the nature competition by discussing several approaches to competition. The purpose of their article seems irrelevant to the previous readings that have been discussed during the lecture because there is no obvious comparison between competition and cooperation in this article. However, Nelson and Dawson have actually made claims where connection can be indirectly made between their article and the previous articles.

Through out this article, they have talked about different kinds of connection between competition and real life social activities. What makes the article distinct from those previous discussed article is that after explaining each approach to competition, they give competition a different meaning.

For instance, in section “Competing creatively”, on page 310, Nelson and Dawson said competing creatively is not aim to marks and grades, and it focuses on achievement and demonstration of excellence. Here they are giving competition a new approach that is more beneficial to individual involved. Not only they have “re-naming” competition in this section, but also the same process has been carries through the entire article.

When we look back to the previous articles, the authors mainly compare the function and influence of competition and cooperation and most them conclude that cooperation is better than competition. However,if we look at what they have done in an opposite way, when they try to emphasize the importance of cooperation, they are “re-naming” competition. For example, in Rubin’s article, on page 880, he states that in economy, competition between groups is for the purpose of better cooperation. Rubin has re-defined competition to be a “catalyst” of cooperation.

In conclusion, Nelson and Dawson are doing the same thing as the previously mentioned articles’ authors. They are giving competition a better definition, which leads to a more positive outcome.



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