Day 174 (of 186) competition = one (and its not an honour just to be in the finals)
I like competitions. With the caveat that its the participants choice. When it’s an “everybody takes part” or “parental decision” I encourage “ribbons for all”
When it becomes the participants choice, Im okay with keeping scores and selecting “a” winner (and therefore a whole bunch of losers….) As its claimed in the movie The Highlander: There can be only one.
A good reminder was this weekend where many soccer teams were competing for two spots in the provincials from our region – except it wasn’t 2, it was only one – as another team had already secured one berth as one of two teams from the host community. So…in a “fun league” everybody but one ends their season with a loss (and usually some parents who are furious over a missed call/unfair reffing/etc etc)
Just like at school when you are select “the one” student for an award/trophy/etc – you are telling one that they are good and the others in the room that they are not. And as much as “we” (adults) like to believe that the recognition is a “carrot/reward” that motivates people, so often it is not – its already known who will win which award (because they have over the years) or who the top 2 or 3 are.
I preferred seeing a strategy of certificates my niece and nephew experienced: everyone gets a certificate of achievement and each certificate has spaces for stickers when a certain “performance level” is reached – its not about rewarding the “best” but acknowledging everyone who has worked to attain a certain achievement on a rubric where descriptors can be seen and achieved.
But – if you are only looking for “the best” – be honest and blatant about that….or don’t. The reason why awards ceremonies are being challenged so well by educators like Chris Wejr: http://chriswejr.com/strength-based-education/thoughts-on-awards-ceremonies/ and are being used so well by educators like Dean Shareski and his “Deanies” (where the points don’t matter and if it feels right, it gets a shoutout!).
This year I am giving class awards. But inspired by the book/movie Wonder: everybody deserves to get a standing ovation – and they will. They will get to choose the award that they would like to “win” and I will present it on our final day….because sometimes people just want a bit of recognition – and really are scared about being “the one kid who didn’t get a ribbon on a fun/sports day” .
If still dong awards – give some consideration why? because for every one winner there are hundreds of losers – and we may say “its an honour just be be recognized/shortlisted/in final group” but thats almost as big a lie as saying:
And nice to see in Mr Browns Precepts (from Wonder) that mondays precept is:
Even if you don’t
win, listen to
the small voice inside
of you that say you
are always a winner.