Origin of Education and Competition

In Nelson,R and Dawson,P (2017) paper “Competition, education and assessment: connecting history with recent scholarship” they argue that the origin of education was free of competition an thus there is no need for the levels of competition present in today’s form of education. This is a statement I partially disagree with as I believe they have mistaken what Ancient Greece’s education was like. I believe that the Ancient Greeks did have competition inside their education system, just in a different form.

As stated by Nelson et al. Ancient Greece did not have a grading system. Instead teachers were paid to help students think and learn without the need for assessment. While this may be true, it does not mean that they had no form of competition in education. As Ancient Greeks loved to compete, which can seen be in them making the Olympics, I find it hardly possible that this competitive spirit did not affect the students or teachers.

The students of teachers most likely competed in a different way. The students would probably have competed among themselves for who could come up with the greatest ideas or for winning the most favor from the teacher. While the teacher most likely competed with other teachers for the paying students. Whether these two examples are true or not though is besides the point as I use them only to show that there are many ways to compete. This in turn is to show that simply stating that because ” they don’t have an evaluation system so they must not compete in education” is an incorrect conclusion to this idea.

With that being said, I do still agree with their take that competition in education is far higher than it should be. Growing up in a white family but from an ethnically Chinese majority city, I have witnessed far to many friends and classmates be stressed out over school. Often their parents have huge expectations on them, causing them to become overly stressed about trying to beat their fellow classmates. This problem although is not only for Chinese-Canadian students but for all Canadians. As stated by @malwedy quite well “Mental health and correct mindsets toward learning should always be the priority for students [and teachers.]” To help with the correct mindset part, teachers should be trying to show the strengths of co-operating with classmates instead of just competing as I believe that just like everything in life, a little bit of both is usually the correct answer.

  Article: https://mschandorf.ca/2019/07/15/competition-in-society-can-we-help-it/


  1. Thank you for your great reading response, I totally agree with your two claims in your response, for the first one, you said that there is also competition in Ancient Greek even there is no grading system. I think it is totally true, competition was everywhere, sometomes we can see it directly, others it exists invisible form.Even children will compete each other for more beautiful cloths, For your second claim,competition in education is far higher than it should be, it is convinced by using the personal experience to proof own dilemma during school period. I agree with that mental health should be regarded as important issue in competition. Unhealthy competition will cause the opposite way rather than motivations or incentives for people.

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  2. I really loved reading your reading response. Argument you made in your reading response is very interesting because this is something what I didn’t catch while reading. Saying that they “mistaken” what Ancient Greece’s education was like, would you agree that Nelson and Dawson was also trying to be clever (if I had to say it in a good way) to lead people to agree to their claim just as Rubin did in his article?


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