I agree but I have a problem with how to go about creating a collaborative atmosphere. It seems to me that students (for highschool anyways) have control over their social setting and atmosphere.
Also, there is something immoral about competition, IYO, and in mine. But what's to say the approach of controlling the social atmosphere (competition is very much social I presume) is itself ethical? Or are we to say that students don't know what they want, or is this a should-be basis thing?
Even though this sounds pessimistic I think that people want competition.
I think even social interaction is competitively based. Look at flirting for example.
That being said; competition has its faults. It just so happens that these faults are present in their purest forms in our school systems (cheating, etc.). Brilliant minds can result from competitive school environments as well as non-competitive ones.
Competition under a capitalistic society, or at least a market one, is not simply man against man, but man trying to provide a better service that another man.
You have to understand that, while one person may seek to outdo another, they are trying to outdo this other individual in terms of satisfying the means of the customer.
It is competition to better serve.
Cheating and all of its relatives are the perverse underside of competition. I think it developed from this idea (to quote a terrible movie, which is fitting for this idea) that "If you're not first, you're last" mentality that seemed to grow out of competitive sports with there being distinct winners and distinct losers. In many cases the incentive to cheat seems to ought weight the potential of getting caught and the consequences due to the minute chance of someone busting the individual for cheating. Until a healthy idea of competition enters schools, coming out on top on tests will outweigh the collective benefit of being challenged by others for the sake of learning.
Competition is not only engrained in the education system of the western world, but is deeply rooted in the psyche as a fundamental part of who we are. Millions of years of evolution have ensured that. Would we be better off withou a competitional mindset? Maybe. Industrialism has made many changes, among them, a reduced need to fight others for survival.
I will say, however, that Government schools in the U.S. are not faulty for encouraging competition, which they do very poorly. In fact, since the late 1960's, a collaborative approach has been instituted within american school systems, with disastrous results. Oddly enough, however, it was not the students that were discouraged from competing, but the teachers.
Because of universal public funding, and the inherent job security of teaching classes in the public school system, even if it is for low pay, many of the worst teachers have flooded the system. These adults have no interest in teaching curiousity or intellectualism in their students. Instead, they teach according to the standard government textbook, created to insure loyal and mindless cogs. No, I am not making this up.
And, as if to add insult to injury, the most competitive Private schools not only make the most money, but also have the highest standards. There has been much publicity about how Public School Students in America are at the bottom when compared to students in china and india. What there has been less publilcity about is how students from private schools are almost equal to the same.
It would seem that Competition not only increases the rate at which new ideas are produced(people want to get ahead, after all), but that the public school systems with a more collaborative approach have failed to produce active, interested learners.
Were we really made to compete or cooperate? Something to consider as we look around today and observe the fruits of competition. In competition there's a winner and there's a loser. In cooperation everyone wins.