It can be hard to deal with competition in school, whether you’re a student or a teacher. But a little competition can benefit you and push you to do your best. Yet, too much competition can hurt your learning.
There are a lot of things you can do to deal with competition and lessen its effects. With us here at Bonneville Academy Charter School, you can learn how to deal with competition in your school environment.
The Learning Style
Teachers often argue about whether it’s better to have a cooperative or competitive classroom. These two ways of teaching are very different—they even go against each other—and people on both sides of the debate are very passionate about the benefits of their preferred method.
What’s the difference between a classroom where people work together and one where they compete? Is it one of these ways to teach better than the other? What would work best in your classroom? We looked at how each strategy is defined and its pros and cons.
Explaining Both Sides
Before discussing the pros and cons of these two methods, it’s essential to know what they are.
A Cooperative Learning
Students are usually put into small groups and told to work together to help each other, and themselves learn as much as possible.
Children can read their work out loud to each other, critique and edit each other’s writing projects, and use flashcards to help each other learn spelling words or multiplication tables. The cooperative classroom structure has some advantages, such as:
- Children learn essential skills for working with others they need when they get jobs.
- Students can learn more when they teach other students.
The Competetive Setting
In a more competitive setting, children who fall behind can be brought up to speed by their peers. The problems with this type of classroom are:
- It can be challenging for a teacher to get a good idea of how each student is doing.
- If students know that their classmates will do whatever needs to be done on a project, they might need more motivation to do well.
- Students can get upset when they don’t get credit for their work.
The more traditional way to learn is in a competitive classroom, sometimes called “individualistic learning.” Students study independently and do their homework while trying to know what is being taught.
Tests and quizzes measure each student’s progress; both are graded with letter grades or percentages. Students may compete with each other for the best rates and attention in this kind of setting.
Yet, there are some good things about a competitive classroom structure.
- Children have to deal with competition in the real world.
- Students are told to do the best they can.
- People are encouraged to think for themselves and are rewarded for their efforts.
- Children can still work in groups, but they can also compete with other groups. This can be a great way to keep things interesting in the classroom.
But the problems with this type of classroom are:
If students fall too far behind the rest of the class, they may get angry or give up.
Getting good grades and the approval of teachers is more important than learning.
Getting along with other people is less stressful.
Is There a Compromise?
Teaching isn’t all black or all white, just like life. Both competitive and cooperative teaching strategies have their good points, so you could use both in your classroom as long as you watch out for the problems with each one.
Trying to use cooperative and competitive ways to teach in the same class takes a lot of time and effort, but if that’s what works best for your style, go for it! Besides, competition can help students do better or hurt them. Here’s how to use it to your advantage.
Compete in a Healthy Way
Competition doesn’t mean trying to be better than someone else. It can also mean finding ways to beat your bests—to keep a streak going, beat a high score, or earn a new badge. Every learner starts in a different place, and it may take a while to get to the level of more advanced learners.
Be Honest & Still Learn
Let’s say you want to make your language learners compete with each other. You tell everyone that you’ll keep track of how many new words each student learns that week and give a prize to the person who knows the most.
Make it About More Than Winning.
Your students will have different skills and strengths. If you give them a group project, they may also have different roles and goals. Think of it like the Oscars, where they give out trophies to actors, directors, writers, composers, and costume designers.
Participation trophies don’t even come close to describing these awards. They are prestigious and competitive awards that show appreciation for the hard work of all the people who helped make something great. They also highlight other, sometimes forgotten parts of the film industry.
Create a Good Sport Culture
Lastly, tell your students to support each other. Have them leave messages of support or good feedback, and show them how to do it by doing it yourself. Tell your students what kind of environment you want to make and why.
Show how they can contribute to that environment, and think about giving learners a badge or award if they are especially good at encouraging or helping other learners.
In some communities, something else might work better. Still, in others, it can be helpful to highlight positive power users who can help newer learners feel more at ease as they start.
Aiming For a Healthy Change
The truth is competitive school environment can change. It depends on how teachers and professionals handle each student’s behavior and processes. Our faculty and board members at Bonneville Academy Charter School can ensure the best competition for your children.
We have after-school programs that can help them discover and identify more of their skills. Of course, with our guidance. Suppose you’re interested in enrolling in our programs and school. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!
We also have other programs and activities that can help your kids upskill further. See you here in school!