February 21, 2006

Alex Halavais » Blog Archive » Cheating Tech

Alex Halavais » Blog Archive » Cheating Tech
via Will Richardson, writes:
In many ways, the propensity for students to cheat on the exams is a symptom of an educational system that has failed. If we cannot teach our students the value of learning, rather than the value of the GPA, we really are not very good at our job.
I was discussing with a colleague today the propensity of students to focus with concentration on getting the credits, passing the course, sometimes to the exclusion of any kind of learning. We wondered, have they given up? Have they been brainwashed by the system? Or perhaps they have been well trained? The system says, "you want a job? You gotta have these qualifications. You want these qualifications, you gotta go through us. We say, you get the qualifications if you show up for 4 years". Then we wonder why students are more concerned about how many classes they can miss without endangering their grade, than about learning anything real. What planet are we living on?!? Perhaps we, the teachers, are the weird ones, the oddballs, who still, quaintly, believe that attending an educational institution is primarily about learning?

My colleague originally developed the idea for dividing a class up into self-contained sub-units, each working semi-autonomously using different media. What prompted him to do so, was when he realized that in one "speaking and listening" class, all he was doing was playing the play button on video and audio machines (why he was doing this is a matter beyond the scope of this blog). We considered the following scenario: the students AND the administration believe that this is exactly what the teacher should be doing. What choice does the teacher have? It then comes down to the extent to which the teacher is willing to tolerate boredom.

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