Thought competitions

Hi everyone,

I was surprised by this article from the Wall Street Journal. It tells how some schools discourage or do not allow students to compete in academic competitions such as science fairs or creative writing contests. I was shocked because my interest in creative writing spurs from competitions and writing fairs that I remember from my elementary and especially my high school years. Contests and publication were always a major motivation for me. I think the same goes for many students. It seems that some of the reading we have done in 541 and 505 encourage such positive purposes for writing. What does everyone else think?

Allison

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Thought competitions

  1. sunyprof

    Whose post? K

  2. traverse02

    This is an interesting article, especially if you look at some of the blog responses. Since I don’t know how to embed a link in the reply box, I will just cut and paste the URL to one particular blog response I found to be very interesting:

    http://betsyspage.blogspot.com/2007/11/frowning-on-academic-competitions.html?referer=sphere_related_content

    I am reminded of a talent show when I was a Sophomore in high school. My friends and I were in a band and had spent months practicing for it. We were going to perform a cover of ‘New Skin’ by Incubus and we had written an original instrumental song that we were all very proud of. It came to the day of the talent show and we went out on stage. The curtains opened, we started playing, and less than a minute later the curtains closed on us and that was the end. They wouldn’t let us play and they gave us little explanation aside from it being too loud or heavy (keep in mind that I went to Catholic high school). It was very discouraging and it made me hate school.

    We weren’t in a math or science competition like those mentioned in the article, but we were attempting to exhibit a literacy we enjoyed and wanted to share with our school community. Although I don’t think anyone in the administration was attempting to save our self-esteem (we were a decent high school garage band), they definitely managed to bring us down a notch or two. We never attempted anything like it again and grew even more alienated from the school community.

    My personal experience is different from the experiences described in the article, but I feel that they are one in the same. I still don’t understand what happened the day of the talent show and, as far as the article goes, I definitely don’t understand what they think they are protecting students from.

  3. sofiapenna

    Raph,
    I am very sad to hear that your school principal rejected your literacy in music. I, too, went to a Catholic High School, and we had a few talent shows as well. As long as our performances were free of sexual suggestions and swear words, we were in the clear. It was a rule that I understood, however, I do not understand your h.s. principal’s motivations for turning off your creativity.

    Allison,
    I, too, developed a love for creative writing through competitions. I knew I wanted to be an English teacher on the day I won first place in a poetry writing contest in seventh grade. I consider that moment to be a hallmark in my life. I’m sorry to read here that some kids will not have that same opportunity now. -Sofia

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