Philosothons: Rewarding collaborative thinking
University of Birmingham, GB
Competition, and its effect on educational environments, has been widely debated. On the one hand, it is argued that competition raises attainment and, on the other, it is said that whilst it may raise attainment for some, it exists at the expense of a supportive school environment. Should philosophy undertaken as a subject in schools, such as P4C, involve any level of competition if there is a chance of it raising performance? Scholars have argued that communities of inquiry within P4C conflict with the notion of competition, using competition as a contrast to cooperation, as competition implies that only certain voices will be heard and, without it, participation is more welcome and inclusive. Perhaps there is already too much competition in schools, in which case philosophy should be the one place students need not worry about competing with their peers and instead focus purely on collaboration. But what if the very skills that competition undermines are rewarded in a competition? While it stands that competition can silence particular voices and conflict with cooperation, I will argue that competition can avoid these outcomes and improve philosophical performance if such competition rewards collaboration and inquiry, therefore encouraging it.
23 Mar 2022.