Competition in School
Schools vary greatly in their competitive natures. Sixty-three percent of the students from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, for example, feel their classmates are extremely competitive, and most say they study very hard. On the opposite end, Yale University School of Medicine has a unique evaluation system in which there are no grades. This system produces an extremely non-competitive atmosphere. It is up to us to decide whether competition is healthy or unhealthy. However, there is a difference between trying to do our best and trying to do better than everyone else. There’s nothing wrong with setting high goals and working to achieve them, but strong competitive feelings often produce unnecessary stress and anxiety which can get in the way of success. Even worse, competition can also cause death or even create serious problems in our society.
Competitive games are detrimental to children’s learning. A warm, friendly, relaxed, and safe environment is the best environment to encourage children to acquire language. Yes, competitive games can motivate able children, but they also discourage those with less ability. In the classrooms, children are eager to play games, but once a child feels there is no chance of winning, he or she “switches off”. If the child begins to mess around with the game equipment (card, dice, etc) or use it in a laborious or exaggerated fashion, then that is indication that the child is not focused on the activity. And if the child is not focused, then the value of the activity is nil. However, the desire to win games can also make children much more interested in learning. In the worst cases, victory in games can become a horrible one-upmanship. English is not enjoyed for its own sake but becomes a means to put down others. In his
essay, “Stop Trying to Beat Your Competitors”, Oren Harari says: “Attitude implies that the competition is leading the market, and that the only possible solution is to eliminate that competitor” (1). By definition, competition is working for a goal in such a way as to prevent others from reaching their goals; however, in our society, we simply put it this way: I win by making sure that you lose.
At a Cyber Internet Café (CIC) place last year, death actually occurred because of competition. Counter-Strike is a very popular game for teens; since most of them don’t have fast computer and internet connections at home, they usually go to Cyber Cafe and pay two dollars for an hour to play games with their friends or other people online. James was just enjoying another day of online games at CIC; however, the game was getting rough because people were cursing at each other in the game and were competing to see who can kill their enemies the most. At the end of the game, James got really frustrated because he lost and his friend, Nathan, wouldn’t let him win. An hour later, James came back with a screwdriver and stabbed Nathan in the head, and he died immediately at the scene. James, of course, was arrested and will spend his life in prison. Games are supposed to be fun and for entertainment; however, the desire to win can be a powerful motivating force.
Competition can also create serious problems in our society. Throughout high school, far-relative Annie studied into the wee-hours of the night while her gifted sister Caitlyn had to do was to look at the
paper once, and she’d remember everything. Caitlyn was everything Annie is ever wishing for—pretty, smart, attractive. Being pressured by the parents, Annie had to take many courses in college even though she was still in high school, so she could be like her sister or even better. Finally, Annie’s effort was paid off by the acceptance letter of University of California-San Diego. For once, her parents were proud of her, and she couldn’t be happier. During her freshmen year, she handled it pretty well. However, the classes became harder and required more time to study, which was impossible because she was a full-time student and had two part-time jobs at the same time. Therefore, her grades started dropping, and her parents, once again, were yelling at her for being so stupid. Never been so disappointed in life, Annie went out for a walk; suddenly, the idea of using crystal—one of the drugs that can relax people’s mind and help them stay awake—didn’t seem as bad as people said it is. Unfortunately, Annie has never been so wrong in her life; as the result, she is now a drug addict and had to drop out of school immediately. Annie put a lot of efforts into school because of her desire to be better than Caitlyn; however, she has ruined her life by trying to hard. Many college students use crystal nowadays, which is the only solution to keep them awake, so they could get better grades than their classmates. Instead of helping themselves, they end up dropping out of school because of the damages of crystal has caused to their bodies.
Though competition can make the world a better place to live in, it also causes rivalry-specific hatred and violence. People and companies push harder in order to out-do the competition, which often results in dishonest practices and ruthless betrayal. Even if one person rises above the others in terms of sports or academics, their achievement is not necessarily a good thing. Alfie Kohn, the
author of “Why Competition?,” says: “One extremely successful debater on my team used to invent names of magazines which ostensibly printed substantiation for crucial arguments he wanted to use” (178). Even today, many producers give false information to get consumers to buy their products, giving them higher profit margins than companies with honest procedures. Somewhere along the way to free-market capitalism, the United States became the most competitive society in the world. Although capitalism is a system that ensures that some always do better than others, a negative aspect is that success is not always based on either talent or hard work, but on opportunity. Many bright and talented poor people work extremely hard but have never had the opportunity to get an education. On the other hand, many rich people who lie on their backs and enjoy their underserved wealth have as many as opportunities as they want.
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A board game is a game played with counters or pieces that are placed on, removed from,