Competition Vs. collaboration: which will get you further in the future?

5 July 2021 — Written by Arpit Chhikara

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What do you think will matter in future jobs - competition or collaboration? Well, if you ask someone who comes from a traditional education background, they will say competition. On the other hand, students who pursue liberal education in India and abroad pay attention to collaboration. The difference is what separates these two schools of thought (pun intended, of course).

A classroom is a place where a number of students come together to learn. As the number of students rises, teachers aren’t able to focus on a student as an individual. Add to that the pedagogical pressure to deliver the curriculum and seek results, and you get the model of education prevalent around us. Not to mention, outdated career advice which doesn’t connect with the millennials. In liberal education, we follow an interdisciplinary approach and heutagogy at Beyond 8. This allows us to have a student-centric curriculum based on their needs, goals and natural inclinations. Because of this, the following happens in the classroom.

Learn to lead with empathy

Leadership is what we all are capable of but a few of us are able to properly nurture empathy with it. One major reason for this is the belief that everybody can’t be a leader. This is true in a sense that not everybody can manage a multi-billion dollar global startup and employ thousands of people across the globe. But in our lives, we all have the capacity to empathetically lead those around us, and more importantly, lead ourselves. At Beyond 8, our students choose the what, why and how of their projects. This helps them make decisions, take on challenges when they’re ready and set personal deadlines. When there’s a team involved on a task, students often push their limits with support from their peers. This outlook towards education makes them ready for 21st century careers where independent thinking supersedes instruction following.

Harness the power of teamwork

When you assess students based on their performance, the pressure to outshine the classmates grows. But when you rate students based on what collective outcomes they deliver, the scenario completely changes. A student learns how to manage interpersonal disagreements while working toward a shared vision. This, in turn, takes away the pressure to compete and brings forth the capacity to collaborate and makes a student a team worker. Artificial intelligence may end up replacing some jobs but teamwork is definitely not a skill it would ever be able to replace. This is why a number of employers, says Harvard Business Review, value a degree in liberal arts.

Create balance between soft skills and hard skills

If what you know is graphics design and everybody else also knows the same, the impulse to be better will naturally creep in. This is what happens in traditional schooling where the focus is on hard skills. But in a liberal education curriculum, students learn soft skills alongside hard skills. Soft skills include the art of building a brand, non-violent communication, persuasive writing, public speaking and knowing how to work in a team. This diversity in soft skills allows students to combine their abilities and expertise for the greater good. Let’s say you and 3 of your classmates are good at graphics design and are pursuing an education in the liberal arts. One of you will be good at sales, one at knowing the customer’s needs, one at managing financials and the last one in strategic planning. Which student will be good at what is something that a facilitator understands when designing a heutagogical curriculum. At Beyond 8, we figure out a student’s talents and inclinations by dream mapping.

Use new age networking to your advantage

In a typical classroom, there’s old-school networking taking place. It means that kids get to interact with other kids who are almost like them until they choose a different career trajectory in college. But in a liberal arts classroom, we have students from all walks of life. The ones who have economics as their optional subject study with the ones who live and breathe in images. This brings diversity of thought and leads to significant cultural exchange of ideas - the essence of interdisciplinary approach. Someone from a biology background sits next to a musician and together they make a digital tool which helps people exercise better by listening to certain brain-relaxing rhythms and beats. Remarkable, right? Moreover, when every student is different, they all want to know each other. This leads to a much more inclusive networking. The kind where connections are built with people who vary in their skill sets, experiences and interests. Welcome to the 21st century way of learning and networking that millennials are engaging in.

What is the way ahead? Liberal education

An education in the liberal arts equips students with a lot of useful knowledge. Traditional career advice focused on training students to compete without realizing that the future of jobs is all about collaboration. Students pursuing a liberal education graduate with a high degree of confidence to solve problems which require complex solutions. We at Beyond 8 strengthen the foundational knowledge of the same in 9-12 graders so that they have the best college options after school. To know more, get in touch with us at contact@beyond8.in and let’s together shape the future of your child’s dreams.

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Beyond 8 provides transformative pathways for high school learners to pursue the best collegiate liberal education in India & abroad.

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