Mindset, we have a problem
Posted September 5, 2012on:
A teacher laments that we have a problem when she finds out that a student cheated on a class assignment. I agree with that teacher, but not in the way you might expect.
While the article says that the problem lies with students (the erosion of values that comes with ease of access to information), I think that is only half the story. The missing half is the problem that lies with teachers.
If you set questions that a student can Google answers to, the problem is yours. You set the wrong type of question. If a student would use Google in real life, why would s/he hesitate in the classroom context?
If you set a complex question that a student can get a complex answer to thanks to an answer mill AND you have no idea that this happens, you have a problem. But in this case I agree that the student has a problem too.
You cannot just blame the cases of cheating on the ease of access students have to resources and to each other. This is the world we live in. As technology evolves, behaviours change and so do some values. One teacher acknowledged this:
What the educator needs to do is adapt to the age of technology and change the question… Maybe what (students) are learning should change. Maybe how they’re learning should change. Now the challenge to me is to match that technology and say what I’m doing needs to change.
Not maybe. Definitely!
I think the deeper problem lies with the mindsets of teachers and students.
I think some teachers do not recognize that they are setting bad questions and/or not keeping with the times.
There will be an erosion of student values if teachers do not go beyond talk to walk. Talk example: Plagiarism is wrong and this is why. Walk example: I caught you cheating and this is what is going to happen. Another walk example: I was tempted to plagiarize but this is what I did instead and why I did it.
I am not absolving kids of the blame. I am saying that they are a product of their environment and their nurturing. We, as adults, shape both.
The other interesting thing about the article was right at the end. The author mentioned that the root of the cheating could also be attributed to the need to do well in tests:
Anderman, the Ohio State researcher, said one thing has been proven to cut down on cheating, but installing it would require a sharp cultural change in an educational system that is placing ever more importance on test results.
“The bottom line in our research is pretty simple,” he said. “Where teachers are really emphasizing the test, you’re more likely to get cheating. When teachers are emphasizing the learning more than the test, you get less cheating.”