So who says competition in the classroom is inevitable?

Jul 10, 2016 by

In this extract from her new book Beautiful Failures, the Guardian’s Lucy Clark tackles the culture of contests and rankings at school, arguing that for children – indeed all of us – it is unnecessary and damaging

When I talk to my daughter about what it was about school that was so alienating for her, what made her so, so anxious, she has a one-word answer.

Competition.

She couldn’t bear the ranking of individuals. Somehow the lottery of life has blessed this girl with a personality that rejects ranking or assessment of any kind. She can’t even watch the Olympics – actually has to leave the room – because she can’t stand the thought that someone has to come first, second, third, and that someone has to come last. And my girl opted out of the competition early.

She believes it’s natural for kids to be competitive – “Haven’t you seen little kids at an athletics carnival?”

But that’s

Certainly if you watch kids at a sports day it might seem that way. Think of a child running a race. They crouch, they look up at the finish line, the gun cracks and sparks a whole collection of physiological responses that add up to running as fast as possible. GO!

As they cross the finish line with a blur of other bodies, one thought enters their head.

Where’d I come?

Source: So who says competition in the classroom is inevitable? | Lucy Clark | Australia news | The Guardian

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