Competitive vs. Cooperative Classroom Essay Example

In attempting to maximize student learning, one may wonder whether a competitive or collaborative environment best suits this goal. Both presented mentalities have advantages and disadvantages. However, given the academic benefits as well as workplace benefits of collaborative learning, it is the superior method.

A collaborrative environment encourages peers to share their resources, granting more material to learn from. This can be demonstrated in study groups sharing notes and motivating each individual to keep studying. By doing so, students are exposed to different forms of notation and memorization techniques, and they can choose ones that best suit them. Furthermore, motivation from other students allows them to study for longer than they typically would. Oppose this with a competitive environment where students are not encouraged to collaborate-- they lack benefits from other's resources, and they must motivate themselves. Therefore, for the sake of academic learning, collaborative environments are better.

Collaborative learning also prepares students for the workforce more effectively than competitive learning. Lee states in the following, "As an adult, working a job, I realized that the ability to collaborate was the one skill that everyone I knew who was successful and well-liked had." (Lee). The most successful individuals in the workforce are able to collaborate. It follows, then, that it would be more valuable to foster this skill in academia to produce more successful individuals. Contrast this with an individual who learned from a competitive environment; they may be less agreeable to coworkers, less willing to teach or learn from them, and, ultimately, less successful. Given these reasons, it is clear collaborative learning creates successful workers.

Brewsinger would disagree that collaberative learning is more effective, stating "Carrying competition into the classroom, pushes students to work harder and to be the best that they can be." (Brewsinger). To him, given that there are always individuals that are smarter and work harder, and, therefore, more successful, this is necessary motivation for individuals to work harder. Motivation, however, comes in different ways to different people-- his statement may apply to competetive minded individuals, not to others though. Furthermore, motivation may be necessary for success, but it is nothing without resources to learn from. Instead of trying to compete with the smarter, harder working individuals in life, they can be worked with to expand a students pool of knowledge. Brewsinger's analysis is narrow minded, and does not consider the additional potential that comes from collaboration.

Sedalia makes a salient point about the broader debate-- each students is going to find one or the other more succesful for them. After all, "'It all depends on the students.'" (Sedalia). It is difficult, however, for institutions to cater to each individual student, so they must decide which type of learning is beneficial to the most students. Given the academic and workplace benefits of collaborative learning, it is the best option for an institiution.


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