11 Feb Who cheats and why: the “Why do this?” student
Pressure is one reasons students cheat, but another reason is that students sometimes don’t feel motivated to work hard in subject that they don’t find meaningful to them.
Meet Jasper. He’s excellent at computer programming. In his spare time, he creates his own video games and blogs about the newest advances in gaming. He knows that he want to go to a college that specializes in technology because he knows he wants to work in the field of video games and/or technology-based activities.
Jasper aces all of his assignments in math and science, and absolutely crushed the specialty class he took in engineering. But Spanish and History? Not relevant (meaningful) to him, so he really doesn’t care. He even wonders why spending all that time studying those subjects that he will hardly use is worth it. It’s a waste of his time (he thinks), so he cuts corners to get by and focuses on what he really loves.
When assignments lack meaning, many students find cheating an acceptable way to manage. The thinking goes something like this: “If I am forced to do something I don’t want, especially something that is meaningless, I kind of feel that’s wrong. It’s a waste of my time. So you know what, since it’s wrong that I even have to take it in the first place, I don’t think it’s so wrong that I ‘bend the rules’ to pass.”
When you look at it from this view, you may think one of two things:
Wow, that makes a lot of sense. We shouldn’t have to do things we don’t like. If we just focus on things we do like doing, then the world will be a much nicer place to live. Cheating is definitely a way around this.
Wow, that’s a bit of a cop out. Your life will be full of doing things that you may not like, but will be part of getting ahead. Just figure a way to make it meaningful and get on with it already, don’t cheat.
Which way you think is completely up to you, but do realize that we live in a society that has profoundly increased its rates of cheating, even though we do not value cheating. We value honesty and integrity. What you value is up to you, but when you think about cheating, think about how that will represent who you wish to be.
Can Jasper challenge himself to find meaning and relevance in Spanish? Maybe he will have an opportunity to teach technology overseas to students who only speak Spanish and don’t know the first thing about making a robot. How cool would that be?
And in history class, Jasper decided to be creative with the assignments. Most teachers are there to help, and since technology is Jasper’s thing, he asked if his assignment could be on the history of space technology or mechanical engineering or something in line with the historical content being studied. After all, without history, we wouldn’t have technological advances in the first place;-).
Name a subject that you don’t think is meaningful to you and then name one way it maybe, sort of, just possibly might be some day;)