Opportunity Cost in Education: Making Tough Choices for Student Success

Polygamous peacocks have massive tail feathers which they display to attract females, a bit like me with my fashion clothes, but not the polygamy bit. The peacock feathers are so ornate that they limit the birds’ ability to fly.  At best, when a bit worried, they can just about launch themselves into trees but that's about it.  Peahens, also (I presume) polygamous, don’t have these funny feathers but they can lay eggs.  So there’s always a tradeoff. 

There is an opportunity cost to every activity in education.  If you’re focusing on one thing, you're not focusing on another: it’s pretty obvious really.  In class, for example, I spent a great deal of my early career devising methods to keep children quiet because behaviour was quite bad.  The activities were frequently meaningless.  I could have spent that time creating more challenging lessons instead.  

It’s a constant battle to consider the worth of what we do and the impact.  Are we spending too much time on one child at the expense of another?  Can we give less time and effort to a problem and invest more in an opportunity?  

It’s not easy to do this, but even the showboaty peacocks with their attractive, big bouffant feathers manage to fly occasionally.