Sunday, February 19, 2006

PBs, Personal Bests and learning skills

from Wendy

We hear a lot about PBs from our athlete son, and then I think of my grandchildren in Suva and their classrooms with about fifty kids in each class, and I want to talk to their teachers about what we can learn from athletes. Instead of success being measured against other children, what about using the idea of personal bests as a measure of a student's progress?

Dr Andrew Martin of the University of Western Sydney writes, 'Sportspeople make wonderful use of personal bests to motivate athletes and improve their performance but there's hardly any usage of it in education. By using a personal best approach each time rather than aiming for a particular grade, you demand a little more personal excellence and that's uncompromising. Kids respond much better to it because it's much catchier than goal-setting. The personal best approach takes the sting out of an explicitly competitive environment in that you compete with yourself, but it retains the energising properties of competition.'

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