I wrote the following article years ago. And, I think it still applies to education today:
Teachers! Do you want to stop the Cheating?
It is really very simple. Just turn the clock back to a time before technology gave them the ability. I am talking about way back when we had to use pens and pencils to do our school work. Allow me a moment to further explain.
Before technology gave use the world of information, we had a world of information. But, it came in books. Sure we could plagiarize a little. However for us to plagiarize, we had to physically write the information. With today’s technology a simple “cut-n-paste” from two or three different sources, and you don’t even have to read to have your term paper given an “A.”
If the student is required to hand write school work, they still have to read it. If they have to read it, (god bless their little sponge brains) they at least have a fifty-fifty chance of learning something. The neat part is the requirements to hand write schoolwork, also improves the student’s comprehension, teaches them how to spell, increases their vocabulary, and believe it or not . . . teaches the student how to write legibly.
The additional benefit of being able to recognize when students have others do their work, by the differences in handwriting should also be a consideration. Sure Bart can still turn in his sister Mary’s report from a few years ago. But, not without reading it.
If you really want to help your students do not try to catch them cheating, try to prevent them from cheating. And, the best way to prevent them from cheating while making them at least expose their minds to the material is to ensure they read.
Oh, before you say, “that doesn’t work with math . . . Yes, it does. Require the student also turn in their scratch sheet with their work. If the student that has a blank scratch sheet is not able to do the same math on the white board at the front of the class, then you know.
The only time in a person’s life to instill in that person the need to learn is when they are young. After that, they have already chosen the path their life will follow. Teaching is one of the noblest professions, and one of the most difficult. But, I believe Teachers chose the job out of love for knowledge and children. Keep striving to teach that one student that doesn’t seem to get it. And, if you haven’t yet tried it, make them read it.
I have no idea if anyone ever gave this idea any real consideration, but a number of sites related to education did post it to their web sites. Presently, a different issue relevant to education has caught my attention and I find it troubling.
A few years back when my daughter was in “middle school” I had the opportunity to stand outside of her classroom and observe her class for a little while. What I observed was ridiculous.
Students were not listening to the teacher as she tried to teach. Many students did not even remain in their seats. Many more were observed talking amongst themselves, and did so loudly. And, I do not see how a student can learn anything in such an environment. Now, I really had not given this situation much more thought as I thought this had to be an abnormal occurrence. Until, a friend of mine stopped by for a visit this evening.
Her son is in first grade at a local Elementary School. She had to drop of an assignment that he had left at home a couple days ago so she also had the opportunity to observe her son’s classroom for a little while. She told me much of the same things were present in her son’s classroom. Students running around in the classroom, students talking, and students not paying attention to the teacher teach seemed to be acceptable activity for the class.
She said that during all this student activity the Teacher was teaching, or attempting to teach the class. But, how does even the best student learn in such a disruptive classroom? And, who is responsible for the way the students misbehave in class now?
My generation was different. If we disrupted class we got warned, kicked out of class to stand in the hallway, or sent to the Principals Office. And, after a couple visits to the Principal’s Office we got to meet the justice provided by the “paddle” of the Vice-Principal. It usually did not require more than a couple visits to the Vice Principals Office to get a students attention.
I recall when I was a youngster, how I said that no School Official was ever going to take a paddle to one of my kids. Did we, I mean my generation bring about this acceptable misconduct in schools? If we did, we need to rethink this situation, and do so quickly.
There is absolutely no excuse for our children to not be listening to the teacher teach the class. There is absolutely no excuse for our children to be disruptive during classes. We must want them to learn, to progress, and to achieve the education that will allow them at least the chance to commence a satisfactory life as an adult. This is not an option, it is a must. As a parent, it is necessary that you ascertain the quality of education your child is receiving. If it means you visit the school and observe from the shadows, then do so.
If you observe the rampant misconduct we have observed, what are you going to do? I do not have an answer for you. I just know we have to find a way to fix this. I suppose the place to start is with our own children. But, I cannot provide a solution there either. As much as I want to say, do not touch my child, am I correct in doing so.
I do want to offer my apology, to all the hard working Teachers out there, if my generation had anything to do with the inability of teachers to control the classroom. Hopefully those of my generation reading this will try to help you make the classroom a place to learn again.