At Pine Grove we encouraged all our student to “be the best they could be.” This was the unofficial mantra espoused by our Physical Education teacher Mr. D., when working with kids in the gym, on the track or in class.
By striving to be their best the students would always be putting forth an effort toward getting stronger, faster, more skilled with greater understanding in athletics and academics. As well being the best you could be was not about being the best and beating all others. It was about striving and monitoring your own progress from where you started to where you wanted to be. It was challenging yourself to strive and attain your goals. It was not about judging your progress and your self worth based on how you compared to your classmate’s/teammate’s achievement. This is similar to the goals setting and monitoring progress that is used by Olympic athletes.
Ultimately this approach supported all the kids. Our intent was to teach kids not to compare their achievement to others but, if they had truly given their best and achieved their goals, to be satisfied with their progress and development. As well, high achievers learned that the achievement of others should not be diminished, even though it may have been less than theirs.
We felt this was a positive approach that promoted inclusivity, reduced the effects of comparison to others and increased the importance of self improvement as the vehicle for success.