There have been many changes within the curriculum of Physical education in schools in recent years, not only is there the ongoing debate of whether PE lessons should be compulsory for all students up to the age of 18, there is also the issue of not allowing their lessons or sports days to be competitive.

Is competition good for students?

It is important to remember that competition is meant to be fun; without competition there would be no motivation for students, although some students can struggle with the pressure that competition brings it is something that is unavoidable in life. There is competition everywhere, sport teams, exams, achieving the grades for university and working your way up the career ladder to name just a few. This needs to be reinforced to students from a young age, as without competition they will assume everything comes naturally without hard work or pushing yourself beyond your limits.

Regular competition teaches us to manage our nerves when something experienced is out of a comfort zone and pushes us to perform to the best of our ability. Competition ignites those nerves, and teaches us how to manage and cope with these to the best of our ability. This is a trait that is not only needed in competitive sport but also when sitting exams, interviewing for jobs or giving presentations.

Schools are typically reluctant to introduce or encourage competition with their students because some students will not necessarily always perform to the best of their ability when under that sort of pressure. This could be because they are rarely in those kind of situations and will not know how to cope with different kinds of pressure. Even though this is normal for students who are not used to competitive environments it needs to be addressed as it unrealistic for students to think they can avoid all competition.

Failure to give pupils the chance to play competitive sports within school has an impact on their education. The Ofsted Chief Schools Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw believes too many schools are treating the chance to compete as “an optional extra” when it should be a priority.

It is important for children to experience that they will not always win everything; sports day is one of the only circumstances where children are able to compete with each other outside of the classroom. It doesn’t do children any harm for them to learn that not everything will always go their way.

Although many students and teachers will think differently, there is no real difference between competition in sport teams and within the classroom. Without even knowing it a lot of students will be constantly competing with each other within their lessons and exams in order to get the best mark or the highest grade in the class, how is this competition any different to that of a sporting event or team? Schools should be encouraging students to have competition in sport as it is the only part of a child daily routine where they can let off steam and potentially feel less stressed. It is important to remember that all students are different, some find competition within the classroom natural and motivated by this, whereas sporting competitions could motivate others more effectively.



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