Mar 13, 2011

Cheating Students Are Not Alone

According to a confidential national survey, 74% of students admitted to cheating or knowing someone who cheated in school.  This is a highly disappointing number.  Teachers work, not only to teach their students a specific subject, but to promote a sense of honesty and integrity in their students.   When a student cheats they fall short of both goals.  The act of cheating represents three ethical wrongs: cheating=sneaking+lying+stealing.  First, a student plans how deceive a teacher.  Second, a student carries out the act putting his or her name on another person’s work.  Last, a student hands the work in calming to have done the work.  

Other studies have show that most teenagers experienced the desire to cheat.  Many who do, have tried once or twice. Oftentimes feeling guilty or shameful, they do not attempt it again.  However, some of those who succeed, continue to cheat, eventually feeling trapped in the need to cheat regularly. While it may appear odd that someone could be “addicted” to cheating, its a thought worth keeping in mind.  Why do students cheat?  Lets forget the obvious that some students are lazy and don’t want to study and look at other reasons.  Psychologists suggest that many high performing students cheat because they experience intense pressure to earn high grades and compete with their peers.  Many also believe that cheating is also a normal part of a teenager’s perceived need to rebel against authority.  

Whatever the reason, decreases academic competitiveness and cheating lowers a student self-esteem.  We all understand that if a student doesn’t study, he or she is less likely to remember the information needed in the future and more likely to cheat out of “need”.  What about self-esteem?  When a person cheats, they admit to themselves that they cannot earn the grade they want. Traditionally, students who feel unsuccessful perform lower, thus re-enforcing the desire to cheat.  

What can parents and teachers do about this growing problem in our schools?  Teachers need to create a culture within their classrooms that encourages students to try their best and discourages cheating.  Many teachers overlook minor cheating, like students work together on their homework. Others do not take the time or lack the sufficient technology to investigate plagiarism.  If teachers do not sternly oppose all forms of cheating they silently endorse the act.  Parents should take the time to talk to their children about the seriousness of cheating.  They should also check their child’s work from time-to-time to ensure their child is not cheating. 
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