Essay Topic #46 - Sense of competition vs. Co-operation

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that a sense of competition in children should be encouraged. Others believe that children who are taught to co-operate rather than compete become more useful adults.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Write at least 250 words.

Model answer #1:

Some people view the world as a competitive place, and push their children to win. Others, however, value cooperation, and encourage their children to share, play and work together. In this essay, I will ask if winning always means that the other person loses, and whether teaching our children to win is the best preparation for life.

Competition is undoubtedly good. First of all, it pushes us to do well, both as children and adults. Our physical limits are tested in competitive sports. Competition in business helps companies to produce new products and services, and competition in politics ensures that different opinions get heard and represented. For children, learning to compete is good preparation for the world. A second point is that competition does not just mean winning: children have to learn to lose well and to learn from their mistakes. In addition, competition does not just mean success for the individual. When competing as part of a team children learn the need to share and cooperate.

However, a focus on competitiveness is not always beneficial for children. To begin with, very young children are naturally egocentric. As a result, they have to learn that there are others around them. Children have to be taught the skills of cooperation and sharing. A further point is that by learning to cooperate and work in teams, children learn to share responsibility when things go badly as well as when they go well. Finally, in our highly-interdependent knowledge society, very few breakthroughs happen as a result of one person’s work or ideas. No matter how brilliant an individual is, his or her work is the result of working in a team or a community. In fact, many people now believe that all learning is social, rather than individual.

In conclusion, it is almost impossible to separate these two strands of our lives. We are individuals but we are also social. In his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Steven Covey suggests we need to develop a “win-win” attitude. We need to be true to ourselves and what we need, but also to think about the other person’s needs. If we can help our children to do this, we will be doing future generations a huge service.

This is an answer written by a candidate who achieved a Band 9 score.


Model answer #2:

Although education has been changed a lot from what it was since thousands of years ago, the spirit of co-operation are still kept and encouraged to develop in schools all over the world for years. However, schools also hold many competitions to choose the best ones among students. Some people think co-operation is better than competition while others think the other way. In my opinion, these terms are two aspects of the same object so they always go together and we can't split them out.

Physically, the most difference between people and other animals is that we live in society. As a result of this, everyone must contact with other ones, not only people in his/her family but also outside people such as his/her friends, colleagues. It is the reason why we have been studying about co-operation since we were children. As an example, until now I still remember my first lessons of my life such as sharing the toys, helping people. These lessons did help me a lot since they are always in my mind to prevent me from doing any bad thing.

In contrast, competition is another characteristic makes people and society become better. In order to archive a good position among people, everyone must study and work very hard and it does not only help himself/herself but also the whole society. Consequently, this ability is taught to children via the contests to help them prepare for a competitive society when they become adults. In fact, in my opinion, how to compete is an important subject people should study. It means we should help others in our way to improve ourselves instead of ruining people to reach our target.

In conclusion, co-operation and competition are two aspects of the same subject and they can't be separated. We should always try our best to achieve the target but remember to help others to make a better society.

This is an answer written by a candidate who achieved a Band 6 score.


Model answer #3:

Nowadays, purpose of education being changed in Korea. There are some People who think that competition in children should be made, also others believe that children who are taught to co-operate as well as become more useful adults. There are advantages and disadvantages for both of the arguments.

To begin with, what is good if a sense of competition is children is made? They could develop themselves more and more as they learn and study a lot to win from the competition. To prove this, in Korea, it is popular - even common now - to have a tutor who comes to student's house to teach extra pieces of study with paying a lot of money. They learn faster than what they learn at school. Furthermore, during the vacations, students study abroad to learn English for a month instead of revise school work. If they have experiments such as study abroad, it is one of the greatest plus point to go to the famous well-known high-school. Moreover, there are four big school exam and two national examinations to test students' level of studies. Generally, only the highest 40% can go to the good high schools and colleges. Children learn as much as they can, to win the competition to obtain good quality schools.

On the other hand, as they are busy to enter the schools and study individually with their own tutors, there are problems. They become selfish. They become careless and don't help others a lot if it is about studies. There will be no co-operations for them. Then, why are there companies for many people to work in? Each of them are clever, however, there are weak parts and strong parts for each person. To co-operate is to improve this part. People talk and listen to what others think of them and learn. That could also be a great opportunity to learn instead of learning alone with one teacher.

In conclusion, I strongly agree with that children should be taught to co-operate rather than compete. Nobody is perfect. People learn together, work together to develop each other. Therefore, I want parents and teachers to educate children concentrating on co-operation, not compete and ranking them.

(365 words)

This is an answer written by a candidate who achieved a Band 6 score. Here is the examiner's comment:

Although the answer considers the main issues in the question, it deals much more with the aspect of 'competition' than it does with 'co-operation'. Some of the supporting examples are overdeveloped and divert the reader away from the argument. However, the main points are
relevant and the writer's point of view is generally clear.
The argument has a logical progression and there is some good use of linking expressions, though the use of rhetorical questions to signal topic changes is not very skilful. There are also examples of overusing markers, and of errors in referencing.
The candidate tries to use a range of language, but there are regular errors in word choice and word form, and this occasionally causes problems for the reader. Similarly, a range of structures is attempted, but not always with good control of punctuation or grammar. However, the meaning is generally clear.

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