Sunday, March 08, 2009

Competing vs. Collaborating

Clarence at Remote Access is thinking about the negative side of competitive learning. I agree totally when he says,

I would argue that it is more likely that global cooperation and collaboration are the skills we should be aiming at promoting in schools and classrooms. Students who can think through problems with others, who know where to go for information and understanding, and who have the ability to see things from the perspective of another culture will be far more valued as employees; but more importantly as informed citizens, [than] the lone wolf who doesn't work well with others.

He notes that collaborative efforts are much more difficult to assess, but concludes,
Competitive learning reduces hundreds of hours of hard work to numbers, rankings and sorting charts. It dehumanizes and standardizes. . . . . We need to begin working more WITH the students in our classrooms and stop trying to do things TO them.
This is the kind of perspective that I really appreciate in the bit of the blogosphere that I follow, but I wonder--are Clarence and I on the same wavelength because we have similar personalities, or because we both live and work in areas remote from the competitive big city (he rather more than I)? Maybe it's also true that there's a big, bad competitive world out there and teaching for collaboration and cooperation is sending lambs among wolves . . .

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