By Halie Wingo
Competition in classrooms can improve students’ learning experience and impact them in a positive way, but the question many people ask is how it can actually be beneficial to students’ education. According to owlcation.com “competition in the classroom is quite healthy; it should, in fact, be encouraged. It allows students to extend themselves, to exploit their real capabilities and maximize their true potential.” Many students have a competitive mindset which is shown through wanting the highest test score or winning a game of “Kahoot.”
Girls basketball coach Kyle Shipp uses competition in a positive and helpful way in his classroom to make sure his students are learning based on personal goals.
“I like for students to compete with themselves according to the goal they set, according to what grade they would want to earn,” Shipp said.
When a person is competing, they tend to give more effort in sports and in the classroom. It teaches the person to be a valuable part of a team or group, according to Shipp.
“When you are competing, people tend to give their best effort. When someone gives maximal effort, it helps them grow as a person. Competitions teach us how to win and lose while allowing us to prepare for something,” Shipp said.
Math teacher and former tennis coach Brian Lukich believes that competition can be a valuable thing, but sometimes students become too competitive and do not retain the information they need.
“Competition can have a negative impact on student learning because while trying to ‘win,’ students may rush through a problem and not focus on the skills or concepts needed for long-term success on that topic,” Lukich said.
Lukich knows that competition can be a good thing, but only for certain people.
“Almost everyone likes competition if you are winning. Whether competition has a positive or negative impact is really determined by how an individual reacts to setbacks. Some people will work even harder in order to reach their goals if they were not successful in a recent competition. Some people will quit when things are not going their way,” Lukich said.
Junior basketball player Nick Sullivan says it is important to have a competitive mindset on the court to help you win against another team.
“It adds a different layer of competitive edge and makes people better. A lot of people feed off of other people’s competitive edge and that really helps chemistry and brings out the better side of how they play,” Sullivan said.
In the classroom, Sullivan thinks it is good to have some competition where people can compare scores on a test or brainstorm as a group and have group discussions to better the class.
“When it comes to English, I think that adding competition to how well people write or seeing people’s ideas bounce off each other can really add success to a classroom,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan also believes that taking competition too far on the court can negatively affect the team and their performance. Other players putting them down or “trash talking” can make the players feel bad on the court and can be taking the fun competitive nature of the game and making it no longer as enjoyable.
“When people use competition in a negative way to diminish someone and trash talking or getting in someone’s face,” Sullivan said.
Students can be affected by competition and the way teachers and coaches handle themselves when they are instructing students and athletes and they can positively affect the way students learn and grow in the school and in their future.