Achievement And Related Issues: Different Aspects Of a Common Phenomenon And Practical Implications

Por: Ralf Erdmann.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The topic seems to be so familiar that we do not need to talk about it or is it just, that we are not sensitive to the problems and difficulties implied? It will be indicated that the term achievement is seldom differentiated in relation to its various manifestations and/or associations to specific situations and activities. This might explain frequent uncritical, unreflecting decisions and consequences that can be observed related and often excused by the nature of achievement focused in terms of competition for instance.

Being socially constructed and consequently culturally bound, achievement is reflecting social values and standards. This can be illustrated by the differentiation between achievement and success, the latter referring to the appraisal of a result and reflecting its social focus. For a hermit on an island, which has lost its memory, neither achievement nor success do exist; the poor guy cannot relate the result of his action to any standard of reference and thereby is lacking of a constituent for achieve­ment and (in principal) a pre­requisite of success.

High competitive sport is seen as paradigmatic to achievement and to modern societies. What about the problems and critics related to the phenomenon? It will be argued that many difficulties and proble­matic developments in conjunction with top athletic compe­titions are related to misunder­standings. Connotations and misunder­standings associated with the terms achievement, success, competition and rivalry will be illustrated. The facets of the phe­nomenon "achievement" will be identified with its implications in sport practice. The Preolympic Congress suggests a focus on competitive sports, yet the pedagogical per­spec­tive will not be ignored.

The purpose of the paper to be presented is to focus on identifying the four typical varia­tions of achievement, which are seldom differentiated. Indicating its specific impli­ca­tions for the individuals´ trai­ning and/or its education amazes such a lack of awareness.

Empirical results from investigations conducted by pedagogues as well as psychologists nou­rish the arguments and critics on the unclear mixed terminology, which fosters unre­flec­­ting consequences. In contrast to many superstitions, it will be demonstrated how prac­ti­cal the - at first sight - sophisticated, complex analysis will be.

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