I think learners should be taught about competitiveness in terms of 'the real world', however, in the classroom I feel learners should be, wherever possible, working as a unit and a team. It is of great importance that all learners feel they are seen to be 'as good as everyone else', if not by their peers then most definitely by their teachers.
Role play's of competitive scenarios may be useful to the learners but discussions and reflections of the experience should be dealt with as an equal collective.
Introducing competitiveness in a class could create issues and develop tension. Having said this, if a teacher feels that they know the class well enough and a safe competitive atmosphere is created then I don't see how this could be a problem.
After all, it's not about being better than others, it's about reaching your PB (personal best) whilst knowing what you need to work on and also what you have to offer that makes you different from the rest. Perhaps getting learners to find their 'edge' in comparison to other learners would be a good way to introduce a healthy competitive environment. E.g. 'He's brilliant at picking up dance moves, but I'm great at adding dynamics'
... maybe?! :)
I think that there is not much harm to encourage your students to so the best you can, especially if you know they're capable of more than the work they're producing.
However I agree with Emma in that they should all also feel just as good as their peers and not left behind in the curriculum, or made to feel stupid or worthless. It is always worth showing that you respect your students and feel that their work and contributions have meaning and value
This could go either way depending on the learners as individuals, some learners may like a bit of competition and others may feel threatened by it which could result in a lack of creativity or even behaviourial issues.
I feel once you get to know your class then it will enable you to discover whether this specific group contains learners who can deal with the competitive side.
However as a previous FE learner i was very competitive with other pianists in my group, i wanted to be the best and would be very competitve and would work overtime to develop my skills on the piano.
so yes competition is good but needs to be applied carefully.
I observed a 'summative assessment revision' lesson where the teacher split the group into pairs and tasked them with researching and making 6 multichoice questions on the subject of H&S (not exactly an exciting subject) Second half of the lesson all groups works were combined into one quiz which of course everyone wanted to win. When your questions were being asked you didn't answer but were evaluated on there quality, inventiveness and originality by your peers.
It was great way to build teamwork and research skills, as well as help the students revise and give the teacher a good view of general knowledge wihthin the group. Outcome of summative assessment was 44 out of 45 passed, more than half of which at merit and distinction level. Resit student was a regular absentee.
In short, yes teaching using a competitive element has a place but probably not every week. Used as a monthly formal assessment task, it could probably become a regular activity that students look forward to and want to win!!