#Trust30 blog challenge
Prompt 3: One Strong Belief by Buster Benson
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?
(Author: Buster Benson)My one strong belief:
I believe we need to foster, encourage and reward collaboration and sharing, not only competition, in our schools.
This is an idea in one of Ajahn Brahm’s
podcasts,that I share. Ajahn Brahm has suggested one way to implement this would be to change the grading structures for students so that part of their mark is based on their individual effort – as per usual... but part of their mark is also based on an average of the class’s performance. This would encourage the top-performing students to think about what they can do to improve the learning and performance of others in the class, and give them an incentive to help others, merely than just competing with them.
In my own experience, my school years very much taught me to be competitive in all areas of life. And I was good at it. I was always doing whatever I could to seek out tactics and opportunities that would work to my own advantage. Today, with the benefit of quite a few years between me and my school days to give me hindsight, I see this model did not do much to teach me how to share or how to be of service to others – two things that probably would have done more to secure my future happiness (and the happiness of others) than coming first in the class for the sake of an impressive number on a bit of paper. A purely competitive model breeds feelings of separation between people. It sets some people up to win, while the others become the ‘losers’. It can lead to arrogance for the winners, who are left feeling they are ‘better’ people than the rest. Giving students cause to consider each other’s circumstance could help build empathy and strengthen interpersonal skills and problem-solving. Having a whole class focused on and invested in how to improve the learning for the bottom-achievers might lead to some innovative ideas and social support systems for the students who need them most.
Further to Ajahm Brahm’s suggestion, I would like to see models of a similar concept rolled out into other areas of society. Imagine the difference it would make if workplace performance reviews also marked your team collectively on how you worked together, on creating a positive and enabling environment between yourselves? Quite different from the competitive atmosphere that exists in many places, where performance is all about trying outdo your workmates, undermining their work or hoarding organizational information to foster your own advantage.
Imgaine the business power and accomplishments that could be driven by a group of motivated people working together, rather than separately towards their individuals goals, isolated from their ‘competitors’ in the office?
In the modern world, competition seeps into every aspect of our lives, as our default way of being. We compete with our neighbours (keeping up with the Joneses), and we compete to have more talented children. We even compete with our partners, trying to find ways to be better than them, smarter than them, more right than them. We’re so well trained in how outdo each other that we find it difficult to create truly joint solutions to our problems. In fact, we have a hard time even defining them as ‘our’ problems, so separate in our minds do we make ourselves when we are in competitive mode. We tend see problems as their problem
–which they solely caused - completely detached from ourselves. The overemphasis on competition has hampered our ability to create and sustain real partnerships. Partnerships have no room for a winner and a loser. We cannot flourish together in a win/lose model. Imagine if more married couples acted as though points were awarded every time they did something that helped create a collaborative team environment in the relationship. Unfortunately, many people act as if points were handed out for every time they triumphed in being right, while their spouse was wrong.
We need to redress the overemphasis on competition so that people can connect to other people better and create real partnerships, and a real sense of community. And we need to start young, lest we keep setting up the next generation of ‘winners and the losers’ to live unhappy lives of disconnectedness from the people in their lives.
I've started enacting my belief by my challenging myself to work more collaboratively with my work mates and examining any area of my life where sharing makes me uncomfortable. I would love to hear what other people think of the above ideas?!
Labels: #Trust30 education Ralph Waldo Emerson trust30