This is a quick excerpt from the Helping Mothers book (pg 84) about a school that uses boys competitive nature to make school enjoyable and productive for the boys. The book tries to help parents see that the same strategies can be used at home in a variety of ways from discipline, to chores, to having fun.
There’s a private boys’ school outside of Washington DC, the Mater Dei School, that uses boys’ competitive nature to help in both deportment and scholarship. They divided the school into two groups, the Blues and the Whites. When you enroll in that school you are assigned either to the white or the blue team. From that point forward everything you do creates points for or against your team. If you get straight A’s, your team benefits, do more community service, your team benefits. If you excel in sports or extra-curricular activities your team gets points. The rivalry is fierce. The boys push each other to get more points and when they have more points they get both special privileges and bragging rights. Needless to say, the boys do much of the policing and the grades are top notch. Compare this to our default public schools that have removed competition from the curriculum. Schooling has become increasingly buffered from all things competition. The focus is not on who is first, second and third, the focus is on getting along, being nice to each other, and staying quiet. It doesn’t take much to notice where the boys are doing better. Give them some competition.
This school also awards a young boy once a week with the school prize for best school citizen. The boys strive to get the award. The older boys also have an award but theirs is monthly and rather than be decided by the teachers and administrators, the older boys vote on a winner among their peers. This school is very wise in giving boys the opportunity to succeed with recognition and also giving the older boys more responsibility for their own behavior and evaluation of their peers. My hat is off to this school.