Make a list of people you trust, and ask yourself if they know that you trust them. Do you think that their attitude towards you depends on the answer to that question?
I think it does, even though the natural conclusion seems to be that it does not, simply because "trust is something one offers, not something one takes ".
Several weeks ago I had to organize a final exam and evaluate my students' knowledge. I decided that I had better things to do than patrol the class, therefore I came up with a new strategy.
The morning before the exam I wrote a short message on a paper and asked them to sign it:
I hereby confirm that I understand that it is important to maintain one's academic integrity and promise that I shall not employ any form of cheating during the exam.
I made it clear that signing it was optional, no one rejected it. But then, if someone doesn't sign it, it means that they disagree with the statement, thus they do want to cheat. In that case the alternative is to simply walk away (otherwise you are sort of telling your teacher to kiss your ass).
I am convinced that no one cheated, because* the results were practically identical to the students' performance in the labs and in class. But is it so?
Questions for readers (especially my students):
- did you cheat?
- would you have cheated had it not been for that little piece of paper with your name on it?
- would you cheat if you were 100% certain you wouldn't get caught?
- what is your preferred form of cheating? (no options to choose from are given, unleash your creativity)
- do you cheat in other classes?
- The answers must be anonymous, don't sign them with your real name, even if you have no "dangerous confessions" to make;
- I will feel tempted to map IP addresses to people, use a proxy server to submit your feedback (I promise I do not control the one I linked to)
Why I think it works - people need to know that they can contribute, in order to feel self-fulfilled. In such circumstances you see the immediate connection between your actions and the evolution of society, you feel significant because you know you can make a change. Take that away, and a person simply has no motivation to improve or to do anything.
This is what teachers often do - keep the distance and make sure the students know they are "just" students. With such an attitude, cheating is not cheating :-)
Besides academia, explicit trust is an idea that can be applied anywhere, especially in relationships.
* there are other reasons that give me this confidence, but so far they will not be disclosed here.
1. “did you cheat?”
- no! “Points” to prepare were given so clear, that you can’t be ready for this exam only if you’re lazy.
2. “would you have cheated had it not been for that little piece of paper with your name on it?”
- no! Same reason as in 1. Also, during the exam I’ve even forgotten about the agreement… (there was no time to think about how to cheat)
3. “would you cheat if you were 100% certain you wouldn’t get caught?”
- You can never be 100% certain in this “area"… Answer: I wouldn’t.
4. “what is your preferred form of cheating? (no options to choose from are given, unleash your creativity)”
- I keep small cheat sheets in my left sleeve (which is always long on the exams I’m going to cheat at)
5. “do you cheat in other classes?”
- Yes! There are exams that you can’t prepare (because of the given material or even professor’s attitude toward his/her subject). But you are too pissed to know that the mark for this unimportant subject will be like a dirty black spot on the list with all your marks. And this is my excuse to cheat… :)
1. did you cheat? - No. This was one of the exams I haven’t even thought about cheating at :-)
2. would you have cheated had it not been for that little piece of paper with your name on it? - No
3. would you cheat if you were 100% certain you wouldn’t get caught? - at this exam - no.
4. what is your preferred form of cheating? (no options to choose from are given, unleash your creativity) - can’t reveal the secret :-D
5. do you cheat in other classes? - yes, especially in those I really don’t like, such as those regarding economics, Protecţia Muncii şi Mediului Ambiant (all the crappy subjects) or the classes in which the teacher doesn’t give a f#¤k about the subject or students and dictates a huge amount of information, which is very NOT interesting and sucky.
1. No I didn’t
2. Yes I would have cheated if I:
1. Had the sources for cheating.
2. I needed those sources to provide the answer (couldn’t figure it out myself or simply couldn’t remeber the answer). After all you cheat when “it is beyond your understanding” the topic you are trying to answer.
3. Would have the possibility to cheat.
4. Wouldn’t care at all about the subject taught.
5. Would care about my gradebook and being a good boy/girl with good marks.
Basically the paper didn’t mean too much for me. I have other reasons to [not] cheat.
3. Yes if the conditions 1, 2, 3 (by default), 4, 5 were satisfied.
5. Again, it depends on conditions I outilined in 2.
Comment from: [anonymous] [Visitor]
1. No I didn’t.
2. Well, I really had forgotten about that little piece of paper as soon as the exam started. If the subject would not have been interesting for me for the whole semester, that signature would not made any difference in my cheating decision.
4. Asking my friends which are surrounding me about the question which I don’t know how to answer.
5. Yes. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary. If you remember ACSO class you’ll probably understand me. Even our ‘prodecan’ told us once, that he also cheated on the ACSO exam.
Stii, strategia asta imi aminteste de un tip de experiment psihologic. Il redau aproximantiv:
intr/o cladire in hol s-au pus cutii pentru donari. S-au analizat reactia oamenilor in paralel cu suma donata in dependenta daca in fata cutiei era pusa sau nu o oglina/imagine cu om/copil prind drept la privitor . Rezultatele au constat in aceea ca s-au adunat mai multi bani in acel caz cand era oglinda imaginea.
ori , ca alt experiment, s-a observat rectia copiilor de gradinita cand erau lasati singuri intr-o camera unde erau dulciuri. si iar, in fata cutei era sau nu o oglinda. Copii furau mai multe dulciuri acolo unde nu erau oglinzi.
Reiese ca oglinda/imaginea nu ar reprezenta decat forma fizica al egoului matur din nou, acel big brother care ne urmareste si ne face sa ne simtim responsabili. Cand exista niste ochi care ne privec, chiar daca sunt doar in subconstientul nostru, incalcarea unor reguli sociale ne face sa ne simtim aiurea.
iar tu tocmai ai aplicat acest principiu prin faptul ca ai dat la semnare acel agreement. Ca si cum fiecare student si-ar pune o oglinda in fata , astfel inlaturand orice incercare de a se amagi singur pe sine si pe tine la examen.
Totusi nu pot sa nu ma intreb daca un asa test ar merge si la elevi de varsta mai mica. Agreementul e mult prea detasat de realitatea pentru niste copii care nu cunosc (inca) destul responsabilitatea sociala ce reiese din semnarea unor acturi, altfel spus, nu cunosc frica de a incalca vreun contract. Deci semnarea actului pentru majoritatea ar fi un pas psihologic nominal, superficial, rezultat prin aceea ca oricum vor copia. Am i right?
1. did you cheat?
No, I did not.
2. would you have cheated had it not been for that little piece of paper with your name on it?
I remember signing smth., but I assure you that if it would have been the exam for “Ecomonia ramurii” , I would have cheated even if the dean was in the same auditory telling students about responsibility during exams.
3. would you cheat if you were 100% certain you wouldn’t get caught?
Well, it depends. There are exams at which I don’t cheat, and this was one of them. I think I decide to cheat or not based on the teacher’s attitude towards classes during the semester.
4. what is your preferred form of cheating? (no options to choose from are given, unleash your creativity)
If I’m lazy to print cheat sheets, I just use the notebook. If I had been lazy during the semester or classes have been boring and I don’t even have a notebook, I print cheat sheets the night before exams.
5. do you cheat in other classes?
Depends on the class.
there are at least one cheater that would confess? :))
Why posting anonymously? you’ve cheated? true|false, if anyone finds out will you look differently in their eyes? maybe, is your fault for that? definitely not, will it matter for you? true|false. You are what you are, you have the power to change things, you are in the control. It amazes me how many “innocent” people around.
P.S. That comes from a guy who finished university many centuries ago, the matter may be entirely different for “freshman", I would advice against cheating, try to do your best on your own
@ Ion Todirel:
Domnule Ion (îmi permit această adresare reieşind din contextul ultimului comentariu şi a conştientizării diferenţei de vârstă dintre noi :) ), concluzia pe care am făcut-o după ce am citit opinia d-voastră este că nu-l cunoaşteţi pe Alex prea bine. Eu, personal, nu am asistat la nicio lecţie predată de el, însă am comunicat îndestul pentru a-mi da seama că el e abolut depărtat de orice stereotip, iar metoda lui de COlaborare (accentuez, nu am folosit “predare") cu studenţii se bazează pe: respect mutual (care se datorează, în mare parte, dar nu în plenitudine, micii diferenţe de vârstă), pe încredere şi pe folosirea diferitor metode de predare :)
Iată cheia succesului său printre rândurile studenţilor. Şi anume datorită faptului că încrederea e, pentru Alex, unul din componentele “vital-necesare” într-o relaţie (de orice gen ;)) ), sunt absolut sigură de veridicitatea celor scrise sub anonimat :)
@Ceziceu: Olga, eu tot mă gândeam că anume acest “document” ar avea o oarecare putere de influenţă asupra studenţilor, datorită unui atfel de factor ca “conştiinţa", dar… în fond, dacă ar fi să ne gândim la realităţile situaţiei actuale din societatea noastră, mi se pare că interesul personal ar fi mai presus de o semnătură fără putere oficială. :)
Comment from: gr8dude [Member]
Ion, I asked for this whole thing to be anonymous to make sure there will be no distortion of reality; there is a chance that I’ll be teaching them something else in the next semester - so our future relationship must not be altered by whatever I find out in the comments. It has nothing to do with innocence or lack of it. :-)
Cheating is a bad practice, but sometimes you’re forced to use this method OR take unnecessary risks. My goal is to make sure my class is not one of those classes in which a student thinks it is OK to cheat.
I remember my driving exam, it includes a series of questions about traffic rules, some of the questions don’t make sense (there are logical contradictions between the rules and the questions, and between some of the questions). The only way to get past that is to memorize a table of “questions and correct answers” (rote learning sucks).
I told myself I am not going to pollute my mind with useless and false information (I like the Russian version: “не считаю нужным учить эту хрень"), so I went to the exam being aware of the fact that there are N questions which I won’t be able to answer. I was lucky that the questions that were randomly assigned to me didn’t include any of those illogical ones, and I made no mistakes in my responses. However, if I were unlucky - I could fail the exam.
Was that risk necessary?
Looks like it’s time to think of an article called “When is cheating considered appropriate” ;-)
Irina, thank you for your support, it means a lot.
I think I hit post before reading the whole blog post, sorry about that, I was in a hurry :)
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