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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Striking harmony: Balance of collaborative and competitive learning environments allows for optimal results

Balancing+collaboration+with+competition+allows+students+to+develop+a+variety+of+assets+necessary+for+the+future.
Armaan Bhagwat
Balancing collaboration with competition allows students to develop a variety of assets necessary for the future.

Calculus tests are handed back to a class of students, each anticipating their scores. One by one, faces display an array of emotions, from exuberance to discontentment. One student, originally pleased with their score, is overcome with shame after their peers heckle them.

Highly stressed focus on academic competition, while disregarding other matters of concern, has established toxic classroom environments in recent years. To combat this, advocating for a balanced approach that combines competition with collaborative methods of learning can maximize students’ potential for success.

Academic competition in classrooms is seen through the prioritization of certain grading mechanisms: scoring better marks than classmates, class ranks and long-term point systems. When students focus on attaining superior grades to score higher than their classmates, it alters the integrity of academic performance. Goals are shifted away from acquiring essential knowledge and into attempting to achieve the highest score.

While a sense of competition may motivate students to work persistently at achieving specific goals, it ultimately weakens their mental health. The competitive nature of learning environments can lead to an increase in stress and anxiety among students and further serve as a drawback in vital cognitive skills. 

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A tunnel vision is often formed when students feed into their competitive environment. There is a narrow focus on scoring higher grades at the expense of holistic learning. Students begin to inhibit creativity and critical thinking skills as their goals have been adjusted. Through this, many students lose necessary communicative abilities that will be beneficial in future situations.  

While the hardcore influence of competition seems to infect academic environments, the implementation of cooperative learning can assist students in reaching optimal standards of success.

Junior Bennett Teitle, leader of the PV media team, has participated in collaborative environments academically and in extracurriculars. “Students learn how to engage with a group and build teamwork skills, which will be beneficial to them later in their careers. In addition to working on group projects, we can implement collaboration through seminars and discussions, as they are a great way to get students involved, as well as encouraging students to bond with each other by randomizing groups and assigning team activities,” Teitle expressed.

With a balance of competition, collaboration fosters teamwork and communicative skills in students that are necessary for future careers. Collaboration in education can be seen through group projects or activities with students actively communicating with their peers or teachers. Students may feel more confident in discussing their ideas with a group with whom they are working. 

Counselor Ellie Curtis believes collaborative environments can give students the skills needed for cooperation in the future. “Classroom collaboration enhances academic learning and develops students’ social capital. We live in a world where ‘it’s all about who you know’. Providing students the space to practice collaboration in a safe and monitored environment sets our students up with essential skills needed to thrive while in high school and after,” Curtis explained. 

By fostering a supportive community through collaboration, students will develop comfortability in associating with classmates to complete work, rather than isolating themselves. Their self-esteem is boosted, leading to improved academic performance and enhanced communication abilities. 

 

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About the Contributor
Armaan Bhagwat, Photo Manager
Armaan Bhagwat is a senior at Pleasant Valley high school and is the Spartan Shield’s Photo Manager. He’s interested in biomedical sciences and anatomy, and he wants to major in biomedical engineering/sciences with an aspiration of becoming an ophthalmologist. At PV, Armaan is a captain of the varsity tennis team, leader of the Future Physicians of America club, and a member of the Wind Symphony band. Outside of school, Armaan finds enjoyment in playing tennis, golfing with friends, and playing piano. Armaan’s favorite movie is The Dark Knight, and his favorite musical artist is Drake. He is excited to work for the Spartan Shield this year!  
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