It is always interesting when people support or advocate for something in schools based on the “real world” argument.  This can include various scenarios and references.  Much has been discussed and debated regarding “failure” in education lately.  The conversations and writing on it have extended to schooling, raising children, grading and assessment, sports, learning, creativity, personal growth, motivation, and so on.  Yet “failure” may look and be defined differently in each of those areas.  Supporting the conditions for success may be different in each as well.  Many of these conversations lead to a debate about advantages and disadvantages of competition.  I lurked on one recently on Twitter (saved here.)

I often come across articles that present a viewpoint and make analogies between these areas as well.  Parent behaviour is sometimes criticized by the same person advocating for competition, yet competitive environments may be the reason why parents have behaved or responded in such a way in the first place. For example, this opinion piece that linked the areas of sports and schools in regards to competition and assessment.  Yet, this article articulates well the position and rationale of the soccer association referred to the opinion piece.

Many writers and educators examine how different contexts need different considerations in terms of competition, learning and failure.  Joe Bower presents the issue regarding competition within public education in this post.  Chris Wejr discusses learning vs. sports in this guest post and his thoughts about the “real world” of students here on his blog.  This post from Fun-in-a-Box Canada’s author Tami Oudendijk also examines various contexts and questions in regards to learning vs. winning, and assessment.  John Spencer has also posted his thoughts in regards to gamification and learning.

There are many others who address and articulate the complexities and the “gray” around these topics and avoid generalizations.  Does the “real world” access these voices and perspectives enough?  If you have an article or post that addresses these discussions and debates well, please feel free to add.