Competing vs. Collaborating in Classrooms

Marta Johnston, Writer

There are numerous ways to approach education. The methods by which teachers teach their students vary greatly, and students can learn differently according to each of them. Two rather prominent ways in which students learn are by means of both competing and collaborating. These two techniques of training contrast each other highly, and the opinions of students regarding them seem to be contradictory also.

In regard to the collaborative process of teaching, some students seem to have mixed opinions regarding the ways that it is favorable. Working alongside others seems to be a method of learning that is not beneficial all around.

Sophomore Phillip Aragon expressed what he thinks to be the cons of this sort of course.

I usually have a hard time working collaborative because you have many ideas flowing around the group that sometimes do not work together and it is hard to choose the best ideas,” Aragon said.

However, freshmen Kamea Rice finds group activities to be beneficial due to the variety of ideas and viewpoints it can involve.

I work better collaborating because I like listening to other people’s ideas and then having to come up with them on my own,” Rice said.

Learning on one’s own in a competitive fashion is proven to have constructive aspects as well. Those who enjoy learning on their own seem to also find value in challenging their knowledge against that of others.

“When given the opportunity to work as a partner/group or alone, I most often choose individual work unless I’m personally asked to be in a group,” said Freshman Lexi Parsons.

Parsons expressed her tendency to perform well in competitive environments as she said “I can be very, very competitive and in those cases I tend to do well.”

Aragon spoke in regard to what he thought would be a profitable improvement to make in his current schooling system.

“I feel like it would be a good thing for teachers to weave in some competitive methods of teaching into their assignments,” he said, “Most of the time our schooling is based on collaborative work.”

It seems as though both methods of learning and teaching have their pros and cons though they are drastically different. Both can be used in the classroom in various ways in order to help and encourage students to do well.

Parsons summed up her opinions into what she believed to be an equally profitable compromise.

“I believe there should be a clear choice, not a requirement, in competitive methods and alternatives if a competition is in place,” she said, “That way, those not comfortable with competing can still learn the skills in that class without falling behind.”