Teachers’ Day 2011:”Understanding Competition” by Pooja Sukhpal

Pooja Sukhpal is an educator and  partner at iDiscoveri Education Pvt. Ltd.,Gurgaon

Recently, I was asked about my views on competition among students. And here is what I said

I think Competition if approached in a constructive manner could lead to healthy results.If it is not  just a comparison but an exercise in creating awareness, it works as an inspiration and motivates children. What I mean is, if a child is shown the traits  of another  and the benefits one has because of that, then it could work wonders. For example, a child who does not have healthy eating habits  is not just compared with someone who follows  healthy food habits but shown how it has a positive effect, then he/she might be encouraged to do so as well. Or a child who is wondering about what path to take in life, if shown the stories of struggles and successes of other people,  might be inspired to choose something that is of interest. Sports is another big example which promotes competition but at the same time has tremendous potential to promote teamship, excellence and an eye for detail. It prepares for both successes and failures.

In saying this, I wont choose a competition of marks but a competition of study habits. I wont choose a competition of grades but a competition of strategy. I wont choose a competition of success and rewards but a competition of ideas. So it’s constructive and productive. You could then say that it is subjective . And it is.

How we use it in schools is a big question. The answer is not so simple. I dont think we promote competition with this objective. We do have competitive exams, inter school competitions of art/sports/cultural events but the understanding of the above objective needs to be promoted so that competition prepares the child for both success and failure, so that competition  prepares one not to just ‘win’ but  to strive for ‘self excellence’.

Happy Teachers Day 🙂

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