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Should the concept of competition be eliminated from schools?

Recently I've learned about Finland's educational system. Eliminating the sense of competition between students. No standardized test until they reach the age of 16. The least number of school hours in the world and the best resutls in the standardized tests.
I, as a student myself, I'd see it as a solution to self-esteem issues when it comes to grades and trust in abilities. I get As but I've been wondering how well other students would do if there was no pressure about tests and gradual, self-understanding would do help them achieve what we deserve as a result from education.

Please give your opinion in terms of school experience, and if you're from Finland (or studied there in that system) please don't doubt in sharing.


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  • Mar 31 2013: If you just think of eliminating competitoin from school,then how about society?when all people are in good education,we wouldn't worry about competition issue.At least in my understanding of good education is:everyone likes to keep learning in their whole lives,not learning for comparision but ourselves lives.
    • Mar 31 2013: I fully support your view about learning. Let me also expand on your philosophy on "learning for one's life". After my school study, I worked as a consultant (as a job responsibility, not for profit or fees) with many colleagues from medical fields. During the consultation, I always try my best to learn the background and their research purposes in their specific fields. So, after a few meetings I occasionally could even suggest a few procedural or protocol improvement in their research. As I understand, this kind of attitude were rare among many consultants in the same specific field as mine. In other world, I really didn't have to do that, but I was always eager to learn ANYTHING TO SATISFY MY CURIOSITY WITHOUT ANY INTENTION FOR COMPETITION OR FOR MONETARY REWARDS. And of course I still enjoy learning even after my retirement.
      In summary, my advice to all students while you are try to study, the most important ingredient to become a good scholar is to ENJOY LEARNING AS A LIFE DEVOTION. This is perhaps the only change of your attitude you need to be a successful person in any field which you choose to enter. If you take this attitude, you won't feel that it is always a burden to complete you school work, instead, it becomes an enjoyment, Furthermore, it doesn't need you to work 20 hours per day to satisfy your parents, teachers or yourself. The only requirement is that when you are studying whatever you choose, concentrate in it and try to enjoy it with all your attention.
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        Apr 2 2013: I very much agree, it's just that unfortunately most children cannot come to this conclusion themselves, when their parents and teachers are pushing them to egocentrically compare and compete with everyone else their age. We reward and punish (by shame and "disappointment") our children for grades and after-school sport success (a heavy emphasis in the States) rather than for expressions of curiosity or efforts in social bonding. We grow up believing that money buys happiness, and so that one must compete to earn the money to access happiness, when in truth as we now know well, happiness is socially built. If an Earth in which human competition is secondary to broader social wellness and collaborative exploration is to be possible, we have to start by taking steps like Finland, as Amanda says, to encourage children to prioritize social collaboration over egocentric competition early on. Several TED Talks on play hit on this, as social bonding through play is extremely significant to creativity and to social well-being. The desire to do better THAN others can take you far, but the will to do better FOR and WITH others will take us all much farther, and those principles have to start in the classroom alongside other students.

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