Monday, February 4, 2013

Success via Competition or Collaboration?

Success via Competition or Collaboration.
How much collaboration is necessary to assemble something like this? 
Does competition fit into the construction?
A bit shy of the last presidential election where about 129 million voted, an estimated 111 million people watched the entertaining Superbowl game yesterday.  We saw collaboration and competition among teams, brothers, players, and cities with multiple records broke and many firsts.  As we guide and redirect our students (thanks @winfieldsftball) to success, we have noticed three things about our students as well.
They break records. (108 yd return)
The records they measure are personal records, personal bests and growth from their own prior abilities and through their own efforts.  It does them little good to compare themselves to other students but while measuring their growth personally, they find success.  They find and they get better after they exert extra effort and focus on their own goals.
They have firsts.  (brother coaching against brother)
Some firsts are are simple, like completing assignments or confronting issues using healthy methods.  Again, comparing ourselves with others only adds to insecurity but tracking our own progress builds confidence and expands our horizons.  Like digging out of debt, counselors suggest starting with the smallest goals first and pay those off before tackling the home mortgage.  Students that start by completing small assignments and turning those in first learn to accomplish even greater things next time.
They compete among themselves but collaborate with each other.  (While waiting for the lights to turn back on, both teams relaxed, stretched and tried to remain focused.)
Finally, students learn to work with others and not against them, using the joint experiences of each to mutually benefit the union or team.  Just as the teams work together on the same team but against the opposing players, there is collaboration and competition. In a classroom, there is no need to form competitive teams where we celebrate a winner over a looser but enjoy success for all!
For Example, Winfield Middle School:
Our grades are tending upward, meaning there are more higher grades, an equal number of mid range grades and a lower number of failing grades.  (This is competition amongst individuals, where each tries to improve himself!) This positive shift means those bubble students have tended to climb up to the next level.  Considering a simple grade inflation where everyone conspires to bump grades together is simply refuted by baseline objective formative assessments, where we measure ourselves individually, against only our self and only against our prior scores.  (This is collaboration, where everybody works to do better thank they did before, for the good of the group!) This verifies the authenticity of the understanding and we look for MAP testing to justify these trends in the spring.  Our attendance is improved over last year and the number of our discipline incidents had been nearly cut in half.  (This is competition against last year.)

Why is all this happening?  Lets talk about that next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment