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Ranks and Prizes

Updated on October 3, 2012
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It is now commonly known and understood that the education system puts a lot of undue pressure on small children, forcing them to struggle to get good marks/grades/ranks.

To address this issue, many schools have taken a lot of appreciable efforts, including introduction of grades on a wide scale (many grades to assess the different aspects of a subject and not a single grade), elimination of marks and ranks in the primary level, some schools also take an extra step to avoid even exposing children to any kind of competitive exams. Even sports day have fun activities thus avoiding the children to get pressurized to win the race or other games.

With the children growing, when they come to Grade 6 or higher in some cases, eventually they are exposed to ranking, marks and the need to perform is so suddenly thrust on them. Well, my question is, is it correct to just protect them in a shell when it will definitely explode one day, eventually hurting them one day?

The child does not learn to accept defeat which in turn makes him/her very sensitive, thus leading to unforeseen and unpleasant consequences. Though it is perfectly correct to allow the children to enjoy the process of schooling with no pressures of competition at all in the primary level, the world outside is definitely competitive and we end up with the child not taught how to face failure gracefully.

Not having any kind of competition for small kids makes them all feel stress-less, no doubt, but the child eventually has to understand that there are people who perform better. This also kind of gives them an insight into their strengths and weaknesses. After all, most of us are not Jack of all Trades!

When the time comes for them, the performing children will perform and there could be a significant number of children who get inside a shell and never come out due to lack of confidence. The problem with our system is we prepare children to get pressurized but never teach them how to face/cope up pressure.

With advances in the methodologies of teaching, there should definitely be a strategy to build the child's strength to accept defeat/failure and carry forward with confidence. Make the child understand that she/he will definitely shine in his/her area of interest/expertise. After all losing or not performing up to the mark in a science competitive exam is not going to hinder the progress of a child who is too good at sports.

Elimination of any form of competition or ranking just in the primary level is not going to equip the child to face the future competitive world with confidence. Parents and teachers have an equal role in shaping a child's mindset to see failure and success with the same state of mind.

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    • OTEE profile image

      OTEE 4 years ago from India

      Mmm. Interesting. I agree and disagree. Let me compose my thoughts.

    • Deepika Arun profile image
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      Deepika Arun 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      @Otee.. Looking forward for your thoughts.. Sounds like a good topior discussion! :)

    • OTEE profile image

      OTEE 4 years ago from India

      Yes Deepika, this is a topic suitable for discussion as there are multiple viewpoints available.

      If you ask anyone whether ranking is good the answer is likely to vary depending on who is being asked. Those who had consistently performed well and got good ranks during school are likely to say that the ranking system is good, whereas those who did not get good ranks are likely to say it is bad.

      Now my perspective:

      On schooling: The primary objective of schooling is learning, both academic and non-academic, knowledge and skills required for survival in the world. It is not about winning, or being the first, which is what competition is about. In the real world one can survive and even flourish without having to be the first or the best. The need to be first or better than your neighbor creates ego and unnecessary pressure on the individual; it creates a culture where one's happiness comes from whether he/she is better than his/her neighbor. So why create such a culture from school?

      On exams: The objective of testing / evaluation is to determine the extent of learning that has happened. In a sense it is an evaluation of both, the taught and the teacher. The concept of ranking leads to assessing only the students relative to each other and not assessing what they have learnt in relation to what was taught. Unfortunately it is the student who is under pressure during examinations and not the teacher. Food for thought.

      Is competition to be totally discouraged? Perhaps no - people get a sense of joy / excitement seeing winners in competitions/races or people participating in events (demonstrating Dasavathaani skills / mountain climbing / sports / games) that are not a part of daily life. So competition can be encouraged for its entertainment value in such fields.

    • Deepika Arun profile image
      Author

      Deepika Arun 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      @OTEE : Even I am nor FOR exams/prizes/ranks, my point here is children are not able to accept failure/defeat even if its a small thing.

      In my class for instance, I cannot appreciate a child who does something really well in front of other children, as they are so sensitive to even that! I end up appreciating every child in one way or the other!

      Don't you feel the necessity to teach children to take appreciation and criticism equally? If not done in schools, its too late. We should not end up creating a whole generation of ultra-sensitive citizens!

    • OTEE profile image

      OTEE 4 years ago from India

      You have a point there. Ultra-sensitive children, we do not want, :)

      I think inculcating a sense of self-esteem in children would go a long way in making them accept others as equals without themselves feeling insecure. I guess you would know more about this being a teacher. I hope some day you'll write a hub on that. :)

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