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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.

  • 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.
  • Mar 31 2013: I always thought that a students grade was a direct reflection of how well they know the course material and how much effort they showed. The idea that parents, teachers, and other students are comparing grades in a negative competitive way seems silly to me. Each student has a different learning style and ability, the main competition should be between the student and the course material, not between students. Grades are the only way to get an idea of how well the student is grasping and utilizing the material.
    That being said, grades should be based on more than just cut and dry test scores. Effort and participation should be a big part of the grading process.
    In my opinion, "friendly" competition is not a bad thing. Some people are highly motivated by a bit of competition. Friendly competition turns negative when parents and teachers start saying things like, " Why can't you get good grades like Jonny?", and " why aren't you as smart as little Suzy?"
    That is my opinion.
  • Mar 30 2013: Most often, competition is taught incorrectly or inappropriately. Competition is not a bad thing in and of itself. Competition where I pit two students against each other for a top notch spot in some program is not good. You will never eliminate competition from schools. It will just happen naturally among the students.

    Teach the students about competition. How it is healthy. How to compete. That you can compete fiercely during said "competition" and walk away and be friends afterwards. Our society is based on competition for top positions like jobs. So, we must teach it in some way.

    Your main drive here seems to be testing though, which sadly, the country is grasping fully based on what they see in countries like China, Korea, and Japan. It should be noted that Korea and Japan have high teenage suicide rates because of lack of success on these tests. Students attend school then an "after-school" to prep for these tests. So, on that note, eliminating this "mass testing" policy would be a good thing. It is wasteful to actual education and does not seem to make our students that much better.
    • Mar 30 2013: I am familiar with the suicides by teenagers in Japan and Taiwan where the "importance" of getting into a first rate college is considered as tantamount to one's future career success.. I know that, at least in Taiwan, the admission to all colleges/universities was decided by a single comprehensive test. When a proud youth wasn't assigned to an elite college, that could be a very bad disappointment for him/her. For some very pessimistic youth that was an intolerable loss of face (honor), consequently drove him/her to suicide (in Japanese; harakiri). However, if one thinks more thoroughly, why should we put too much emphasis on the "achievement" of a top grade or by studying in an elite college? I know that graduate from a first rate college gains certain privileges in competition, but that doesn't mean that others couldn't also succeed. And it doesn't mean that you would necessarily learn less from a non-elite college.
      When I was in 3rd to 7th grade. I never consider to work harder to go from a 2nd or 3rd to the top rank for the next semester as long as I knew that I have understood all the course material quite thoroughly. Fortunately, there was less of the "competition" craziness that exists today.
      Competition in knowledge and learning is not a healthy system in our daily life, and it's even more "unhealthy" to be incorporated into the school system by the government. When more government imposed mandates and regulations are interfering the teaching to, and learning by, the students, you take out their time and efforts to study and learn freely, even if the intention of such intervention is quite noble. This is rather obvious if we look at the contemporary student skills or scope of knowledge in other nations, or compared with the students in our past.
      It should be pointed out that even the competitions beyond the schools can be "unhealthy". Such as an ice skating champion was purposely assaulted and injured by a hired thug for another skating competitor.
  • Mar 30 2013: Let me first tell my experience in my journey through education. Because of my family financial problems, I had to quit school at the 8th grade, and work at the age of 14, to partially support my mother and grandmother and two younger siblings. But I did have a goal to self study and reenter school learning some times later. However it took 7 years for my father to come back and took over the family support. Then I was able to pass a series of examinations which qualified me as having high school diploma, then a college degree and some test to qualify me to be a medium level government employee. But then I decided to try my luck to apply and accepted as a special student into an American university, I was accepted into the graduate school only 6 months later, and worked out a master and a Phd degree in 6 years. During this period of academic study, there were certainly some tests, but I probably spend more efforts in research and writing term-papers, theses than taking tests. There was an oral examination for the thesis defense, but they are not competitive either.
    In conclusion, personally I don't think "competition" is absolutely necessary. What one needs is a strong motivation and a firm goal and hard work. I have read about the school system in Finland, and I am not surprised that the student skill tests results have always been ranked at the top in recent years. Therefore, I have no doubt that it works. I hope that you should have faith in it also. I am a retired professor in a school of public health. The school dean always told us that regardless of the credentials of the students, as long as we judged them to have the potential of learning, everybody is educable as long as he/she has the strong motivation and perseverance. I agreed with him because I myself am such a person.
    • Mar 30 2013: I'm glad it all worked out for you. Certainly I do understand the sense of ambition, will, self-discipline, motivation and perseverance because I've had lately the same problems. I study in a really good school, but that's after proving (I don't know how, they just saw it) that it was worth the money for me to continue studying there. Afterwards, my step-dad (who my mother got divorced to, leading to all economical problems) started paying my tuition. I'm also an athlete, swimming, so competition is something I know of naturally.
      What I'm saying is not that the stardardized tests is wrong, it's just that it's true that competition happens naturally between students. By 'elminating' I meant that it is taught as to not degrade the other person. Yet when it comes to higher education such as getting into college or getting you highschool certificate I do see it as more healthy as it shows you've got to work as you have an oppotunity for a legal recognition of your education. Yet again, that's where you need your own self motivation and perseverance. I guess it all depends on the nature of the person and whether they're really sensitive to 'losing' or failing at what they wanted to achive and compare themselves to others.
  • Mar 29 2013: What about competing with ones own self? If anything, that should be reinforced because in the end that's the only person you are truly competing against.
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    Mar 29 2013: I question the conclusion that there is a correlation between no competition and better schools.

    Should everyone get a trophy for participating? Obama got a Nobel prize after being office 2 weeks. This is the other end of the spectrum to competition which gives people "self esteem" with no merit. The reality is that does not prepare people for the work a day world, in fact it prepares them to fail.

    I would LOOK a lot harder at why the Finish schools are successful before coming to any conclusions, what you are saying does not add up.
    • Mar 29 2013: I agree Pat.......we love to simply scratch the surface when it comes to enquiry....our Ego's are very easily satisfied with simple claims and conclusions.
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    Mar 29 2013: Grades/marks/scores and competition are not really the same thing. Marks can be a measure of attainment of learning objectives- you against goals, without having anything to do with how anyone else is doing. For example, let's say a small goal is to learn your times tables through 12 times 12. The percentage that you know then is a mark or score. It has nothing to do with what the student behind you knows. You are not competing for the mark against anyone.

    I went to school a long time ago. But my daughters went through public school through high school. My recollection was that their grades conveyed how well the teachers believed from various assessments that they knew the course material. I don't think they were "graded on the curve."

    When I taught secondary school, I marked kids by how well they could use the course content in application. I did not grade on a curve. The school adopted a policy of all the teachers putting up marks online so that parents could use a confidential code to check their kids' marks at any time. They knew how their kids were doing in terms of course goals- not other kids.

    I was not comfortable with such frequent communication of marks, because parents often over-reacted, I think, to single scores as if one sorry mark spelled the beginning of a slide toward doom.

    My son goes to a private school for high school. In that setting few assignments have a grade attached, but there are ample comments to guide students in improving their work. The only communication to parents are mid-term and end of term grades and narrative comments. So grades are attached ultimately but not emphasized. the kids are certainly not graded in comparison to each other. The grading is ultimately much tougher than in the public school, where I considered grades often to be somewhat inflated to relieve anxiety in students and parents.

    Kids work much harder, I think, at the private school that puts fewer grades on papers but ultimately grades harder.
    • Mar 29 2013: I see what you're talking about. Yet, grades/marks/scores are a different kind of competition between the students. Who got the best grade, who is doing better than others by a lot. There are two extremes in who gains how much out of their educational system. In my opinion, there's also a big importance when it comes to parents monitoring a student's grade. If they over-react it's because they assumed their kid was doing alright but they aren't (or maybe something else).

      I go to a school which offers both the IGCSE and IB programs (which I'm lucky to be in). There a high level of competition not between the teachers or parents, but between the students in any level. "I beat ____ " "I got a better grade than ____ " and it affects other students' perception on how good they're doing with their grades. It's to such an extent that some stop caring about their education. Because, believe it or not (not you, I mean as the expression suggests) we know that better grades are a possibly a better chance into getting into a good university, and having a good job.
      Although of course, not everything is based on where you go to college or how smart you are.
      And yes, I do agree that private schools grade harder and put fewer grades on papers because they leave harder assignments which require more time and more thought into it. At least in my experience as a student in international programs.
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        Mar 29 2013: Don't you think that if a school gave no grades or pretty much all As, kids would still be conscious of the fact that universities will be looking at ways to distinguish them when it comes to college admission? My daughters went to a school that typically had 40 valedictorians with 4.0 averages. Two each year got into Harvard and another two, maybe to Yale and so forth. If grades cannot distinguish them to the college admissions officer, other measures of academic achievement and potential as well as extracurricular activities will be used, and students know it. Regardless of whether there are grades, good colleges will not admit into their regular student body everyone who wants to go there.

        My three kids all knew growing up to keep their grades to themselves.
        • Mar 29 2013: Well, yes. Good point of view there, and wow, 40 valedictorians. I'm the kind that keeps her grades to herself as well. Also, I don't know how I forgot the other things that affect your admission to universities. I'm looking for a scholarship myself through sports, combined with grades.
          That reminds me about this Asian kid in my school who applied to MIT but because there was no activities he really participated in and his attitude was pretty bad he didn't get accepted. Yet I do think we should be taught to keep to ourselves, mainly in school. Now that I think about it... my school just over-stimulates competition...
          Thanks for making me realize that again. By the way, I think that was going to be expected since I live in El Salvador, Central America where education is something that even the government puts more attention to.
  • Apr 18 2013: I like to suggest a macro-viewpoint from a somewhat wild starting point for student learning. I found a "ranking" of "cleanest countries in the world" from The cleanest top 10 countries are, starting from the best down; Finland, Norway, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Iceland and Denmark.
    If you look carefully, almost all of them are ranked high also on the list of PISA skills test in 2009. That means the countries using less tests are also doing great job to clean their streets and houses. You might wonder what this have anything with student learning. Let me just say that if they are good at cleaning streets and houses, why couldn't they be good at cleaning house of financial messes and politics as well? haha.
    But seriously, clean habits represent the moral and ethical concept of most of the educated citizens in that country. It means that majority of them ENJOYED working for the society without asking for a payout. Also notice that none of them are currently in a financial mess like the PIIGS or CAF (Cyprus, Argentina and France). On the other side of the coin, the Swedes not only contribute their money to the welfare of their countrymen, they also contribute money from Mr. Nobel for high achievers in physics, chemistry, economics and literature in the whole world. I would say that this can only be done by the HIGHLY and PROPERLY EDUCATED PEOPLE, with compassion, in Sweden. If this is so, then I wish you would agree that it is not quite a far-fetched idea that these people who are good at cleaning their streets and houses may also be good at cleaning their national financial order of their "big house"; country too.
  • Apr 18 2013: The following quote is from a report by the Smithsonion Institute:
    ".....A 2003 Brookings Institution study suggests that Iain’s experience may be typical of a few children in pressure-cooker schools, but it’s not a widespread problem. Still, a 2004 University of Michigan survey of 2,900 six-to-seventeen year old children found that time spent each week on homework had increased from 2 hours 38 minutes to 3 hours 58 minutes since 1981. And in his 2001 and 2006 reviews of academic studies of homework outcomes, Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, found little correlation between the amount of homework and academic achievement in elementary school (though higher in middle school and high school). Cooper supports the influential ten-minute homework rule, which recommends adding ten daily minutes of homework per grade beginning in first grade, up to a maximum of two hours. Some districts have added no homework on weekends to the formula."
    The important point here is that if the drill, drill, approach is quite inefficient, then the discouraging (boring) effect of it on the students could completely negate its usefulness. Moreover, if the drill is to prepare the students to take tests, there are other ways to prepare them to such tasks.
    I suggest 3 quick tricks:
    1. Try to use speed reading method to shorten the reading time.
    2. Try to train yourself to do the computations (at least several steps at a time, like a chess player) within your mind without writing them down on paper. When you become quite good at this, you will have a bit of advantages over you fellow students when you could finish your test early and have time to review your answers while others still struggle to finish, or even couldn't finish, in time.
    3. Try to find a pattern in every subject/topic, so that comes to mind quickly to be used in a test. For example, there are many gimmicks in math and hidden rules in spelling and grammar that will shorten answer-time.
  • Apr 7 2013: Let me quote a write-up w/o editing, FYI, from the URL at the bottom of it.
    "There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians. Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators. The result is that a Finnish child has a good shot at getting the same quality education no matter whether he or she lives in a rural village or a university town. The differences between weakest and strongest students are the smallest in the world, according to the most recent survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Equality is the most important word in Finnish education. All political parties on the right and left agree on this,” said Olli Luukkainen, president of Finland’s powerful teachers union.
    Ninety-three percent of Finns graduate from academic or vocational high schools, 17.5 percentage points higher than the United States, and 66 percent go on to higher education, the highest rate in the European Union. Yet Finland spends about 30 percent less per student than the United States.
    Still, there is a distinct absence of chest-thumping among the famously reticent Finns. They are eager to celebrate their recent world hockey championship, but PISA scores, not so much. “We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test,” said Pasi Sahlberg, a former math and physics teacher who is now in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. “We are not much interested in PISA. It’s not what we are about.”
    Read more:"
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      Apr 7 2013: I wish our schools were as good and as efficient. In my state, public schools supporters are petitioning the state legislature for another $ 5 billion to make things better. The public schools have asked for more funding each year for the last 50 years? We have head start programs that seem to last educationally until about the third grade. I guess we can honestly call them publicly funded day care centers. It's not so much about teachers, it's about public school management. They can not seem to get a good education program in place. So they have gotten into food services, transportation, social services, police, after school sports promotions, so that in many districts, nearly half of the employees are not teachers. Now, schools are not entirely lacking in educating youth. They have successfully taught political correctness, self aggrandizement,
      narcissism, haven't done that well in reading, writing and arithmetic. The surprising thing is that there are bright, articulate, educated young adults coming out of these schools. Not a great number, maybe 10 %.
      I have always wondered what these youngster could have done if they had gone to school.... in Finland.
      • Apr 7 2013: Mike, I agree with you. The problem in education here is that our government also believe in "equility" in education, however their approach, or the interpretation of this word is drastically different from the Finnish government. Here the government approach is that of a (false or harmful) nanny state concept, actually agreed on by both the major parties.
        Let me use an analogy. two farmers started the spring plantation by sowing grain seeds into the ground. And soon the sprouts from the seeds come out. However, the sprouts are not growing to the same height.. One farmer takes the attitude like our government says "let's make equality of these poor sprouts, so he worked very hard by pulling all the low growth sprouts up a few inches to make them all of similar heights. The other farmer says, these sprouts will later grow to nearly similar heights anyway, we just need to help them with fertilizers and irrigation. Now a week later, the first farmer finds half of his sprouts are withered to death, while the other farmer eventually has a good harvest, with most of the plants having similar, but of course not identical heights! Do you think that this is a good analogy?
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          Apr 13 2013: Sorry. been off line for a week. Your analogy is well taken, I got a dozen more. B/L is the founding fathers in establishing a public school system allowed the local school board to be an independent political system not associated with other governments. Makes you wonder.
  • Mar 31 2013: No NO NOOOOOO! sorry but just because finland doesn't have as many SAT's doesn't mean it gets rid of competition the whole world runs off of competitiveness and the reason america's school are some of the worst in the world is because we care to much about the tests and we remove competitiveness by making sure no one feels secluded or different which is a terrible thing to do because nobody is the same some people ARE smarter/better than others and competitiveness produces better people and makes sure the people who aren't better go where they should this is proved by simply looking at how the world works and why it works
    • Apr 4 2013: Charles,
      I have a little different opinion about what you said. First, for your idea of "... the reason america's school are some of the worst in the world is because we care to much about the tests and we remove competitiveness by making sure no one feels secluded or different which is a terrible thing to do" seems a little off the topic of this discussion. Like Amanda(Dobson) said "Each student has a different learning style and ability" , so any "simple tests"are not the real competition meant by Amanda(Obando).
      Second, in ".. because nobody is the same some people ARE smarter/better than others and competitiveness produces better people", This argument is not applicable to students who have different aptitudes or interests. Some students may be good in math or science, others maybe in art or music,and others may be in speech or logic. For example, a math whiz may not be a good lawyer to be able to present a good argument before a judge/jury because he is not necessarily a good speaker. So your argument of "some are smarter" is a little simplistic.
      The 3rd point in " ..and makes sure the people who aren't better go where they should this is proved by simply looking at how the world works and why it works" is a little dangerous even. For instance, Adolf Hitler is certainly "smart" in tests or competition in "political organization and speech making". IT WORKED FOR HIM TO MAKE THE LARGEST WAR IN HISTORY.and before his defeat, HE SENT THE JEWS WHO AREN'T BETTER (BY HIS DEFINITION) GO WHERE THEY SHOULD. I wouldn't characterize this historical event as how the world works and why it works.
      Anyway what most of us said here are not that we advocate to rid the competition entirely, but to hold down the effort spent on it. However, it is impossible to teach individualized study by the teacher(s) alone, thus the self-motivation by the students guided by the teacher(s) is probably the best approach. Do you agree?
      • Apr 5 2013: if everyone is different why don't we teach everyone different? there's a reason if you didn't know but, having a standardized test IS a good thing it accurately portrays how your skills reflect with what the rest of the world demands and if you come short even if you are really good at something else you still fall short of the rest of the world's conpetition for the best, competition gives drive and direction and if we have more of it in the direction of knowledge that the real world uses of it we will have an educated furture. Now, have saying that it is also known that having school focusing on just the test scores or funding schools off SAT scored makes real knowledge for the students less i believe we should have just one SAT an ban schools from focusing on it until junior or senior year but still grade it highly.

        And Ok??? i don't know where that hitler stuff came from? you know that isn't what i meant. People who have no education or a very poor education be it thier fault by laziness or genetics should never be given jobs that are over thier capabilities. Also vise versa a Extreemly hardworking or brilliant person should not have thier talents wasted by working under.

        Yes self motivation is good but, requires dicipline and maturity schools must highly motivate young children until they can properly motivate themselves. Be this by competition or pain (mental or physical)
        • Apr 6 2013: First of all, when you said that competition leads to how the world works and why it works, this must mean the competition among adults. Then Hitler must be quite good in his competition in his election campaign to be elected to be the Fuhrer of Nazi Germany. So I said that he was a competitive winner but, unfortunately not a good leader. If one thinks carefully, there are really very few competition that one can classify them as "earth shaking" or the world depends on such event, or even greatly benefited from it. Certain achievement in athletic competition might elevate the prestige of certain country, but not for the whole world, because if there are winners, then there must be losers as well. And if we extend the competition in nuclear armament among nations like the situation we are in currently, then it is VERY BAD for the world too.
          The purpose of competition among school children is likely to prepare them to be good workers and good competitors for their adulthood. Your view in "...self motivation.. requires discipline and maturity schools must highly motivate young children until they can motivate themselves" sounds like the talk of General Powell. Instead of arguing about this point, why don't we ask Amanda or any one from Finland to find out from the policy makers there as to their reason why, in justifying their rule for omitting tests of school children before the age 16. If their purpose is to avoid the time and effort wasted on the preparation of a test which may or may not what the children are interested in, then this might also discourage some to quit the school altogether. Even though most of these tests are the basic skills for children, but believe me, certain children are distracted not because they couldn't learn these, but because they think they could've learned the skills by themselves in much less time than following along the pace with the mass of their classmates.
          You are still entitled to your opinion, but we won't resolve it here.
      • Apr 6 2013: once again with the nazis nothing i'm saying or even slightly implying has to do with the nazi's in any way so please stop using them as a result for competitiveness because the world IS competitive it's what makes it constantly improve and better.Also we didi have a competition with nuclear weapons it's called the cold war we survived it we know how to work with it. and i don't get what you mean by the finland part? are you implying they have none to very little competition? and if they are finding it easy they should compete to be the best of the smartest there i agree with you on that

        and hahaha yeah i guess so we could always fight about it ya know?
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      Apr 4 2013: So, we focus on competitive tests to give out the scholastic goodies. And that competition leads to cheating on test, harassment of teachers to get better grades, computer hacking... the list of padding grades is endless, and no real thought as to the education. I have to agree with all those who are concerned with education. The implication is that each student is given the tools he needs to be a successful adult. The current system is about as meaningful at giving highest grades to the tallest, most attractive children. It would seem that American schools are more interested in nutrition, social interaction, political correctness, amoral focus and if the student gets a little knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic on the side, well good for him.
      • Apr 5 2013: we should have one SAT and promote high competition with strict penalties as always for cheating competition is what the world lives off of i think schools should have it.
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    Mar 31 2013: .
    We should eliminate the competition for score (to invalid happiness);
    but increase the one for symbiosis (to valid happiness).

    (For details, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 14, at
  • Mar 30 2013: Stumbled onto this today while reading.....
    "Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.”
    -J Krishnamurti
    • Mar 30 2013: This made me chuckle. What a coincidence
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    Mar 30 2013: I think the amount of competition is exaggerated. I got straight A's in school, but I didn't do it to compete, just because I enjoyed the material, enjoyed learning, enjoyed pleasing my teacher.
    • Mar 30 2013: I do too, and I share your point of view. As are self-rewarding when you know you enjoy all those 3
  • Mar 29 2013: And what is the Purpose of this Education? How do you know which train to board if you do not know your destination?
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    Mar 29 2013: No competition => No achievement.
    No competition => No rules.
    No competition => No ambition.
    No competition => No opportunity to have a go, get a taste for personal achievement.
    Everyone who takes part does better than those that wimp-out and deserves credit for trying.

    Measuring a student's attainments is a vitally important part of the education process. It should be happening continuously in many small ways. Comparing within a cohort is a good way to spot poor relative performance.
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      Mar 29 2013: You are funning us, right? And I was taking this as a serious conversation. I am so gullible.
  • Mar 29 2013: I just saw the new TED talk on Neuroscience competition etc. Take a look. Are chimps really more status conscious? Poor animals.
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    Mar 29 2013: I think competition is healthy. Learning to loose is one of my biggest achievements.
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      Mar 29 2013: You don't need go to school to learn to loose. You can do that almost anywhere.
  • Mar 29 2013: Are you suggesting that we get rid of sports in schools? No one seemed to care so much for grades.
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      Mar 29 2013: Sports don't belong in a general education school. Young adults need to learn who to become full functioning mature adults. Reading, writing, arithmetic, respect and responsibility, a little work ethic or focus.
      Now there is a value to exercise after some time of brain work, gets blood flowing. But, even in my local school system which is petitioning the state for additional funds, has a 7 to 8 figure after schools sports programs, but the drop out rate and the low scholastic scores really need more money.
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    Mar 29 2013: I have to believe the success of Finland's Education system is more then the lack of competitiveness or the lack of standard testing until 16.
    But, I have to agree that if the school promotes competition through reporting grades openly, I would be concerned that the achievement of high grades would be the goal of student rather then the achievement of knowledge. There has been evidence of student cheating to get higher grades. I have never heard of a student cheating to gain more knowledge.
    I realize that the school needs a mechanism to measure success of their educational efforts so test are given. I would
    believe that the test results of students be kept private, if the student wanted to announce that he/she got a grade or score then that would be their choice. The most the school should do would be to announce a pass or fail status if anything.
    • Mar 31 2013: Let me supplement your comment about cheating, You probably know that there were cheating by the school administration in order to make their student achievement look better on paper. This, of course doesn't make the students more knowledgeable either. And occasionally even assign falsely better grades than what the students deserve. And sometimes, this is sanctioned by the school board because they mandated the so-called automatic promotion (under certain conditions) for all the students from one grade to the next without regard to the students' performance. As a matter of fact, these cheating gimmicks have given our school systems a very bad name/reputation. For example it is a common complaint by colleges that many high school graduates couldn't even write an essay which is comprehensible by the admissions officers or the faculty on the admissions committee.
      Of course this kind of anti-competition is exactly opposite to too much competition, but this is also not good by any means.