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I have a room full of highly competitive students. Most of them are first born or only children and their natural wiring towards competition can drive a teacher crazy! Instead of trying to stifle their exemplary leadership skills, I use it for my advantage. Not to the point of pitting one against the other, but helping them channel their wiring in a positive light and turn toward themselves and being the best that they can be.
Each subject we discuss I will give them each an objective, not the same objective, but one that is tailored to what I know each one can give me according to his or her potential.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]Instead of trying to stifle their exemplary leadership skills, I use it for my advantage. Click To Tweet
Since my classroom is all about differentiated instruction, this has not been a problem. If classrooms aren’t set up for individual learners though, teachers risk losing the stragglers who feel like they can’t reach the bar that has been set.
One of the ways I do this is with goal sheets. For example on spelling tests I will have each student set a goal for him or herself. I keep track of these goals and remind them throughout the week to remember the goal that has been set. If the goal is not achieved by the end of the week I revisit the goal sheet with the student and brainstorm on what can be done differently during the next week in order to obtain that goal. For the students who do reach the goal, I encourage them to set a higher bar for the next week. I do this across the board for all subjects.
I do have a few students who struggle with one learning challenge or another. I want all of my students to feel successful and sometimes those students who have learning challenges will feel left out. I especially help those students by modifying some of the techniques I use as a teacher. For instance I may pre-program their spelling tests with lines for each letter so they can visualize the word. We discuss my methodology of giving the spelling when setting up the child’s goal for the week.I want all of my students to feel successful Click To Tweet
In order for goal setting to work though, I must have great relationships with my students. I know what each one can accomplish and I know what limits I can push for them to be successful. Without a personal relationship, this method would not work.
Now during team games I do want their competitive nature against one another to flourish. These times are great opportunities to discuss the importance of sportsmanship and team building, skills that seem to have fallen by the wayside of late. I split my teams up equally according to ability and don’t let the kids choose their own teams very often. This allows an equal playing field for all students. The dynamics between highly competitive students is fascinating to watch, but also needs to be closely monitored so as not to deflate the success of other students who either do not have a strong competition drive or who may feel unsuccessful due to ability.
How do you harness competition in your classroom?