Cheating, parenting, and Generation “me”

I just read an interesting New York Times article entitled “Studies find more students cheating, with high achievers no exception.”  The article is available here: 20120907-Cheating.  Allow me to comment on the article a bit…

Internet access has made cheating easier, enabling students to connect instantly with answers, friends…and works to plagiarize. …a major factor in unethical behavior is simply how easy or hard it is.

… the more online tools college students were allowed to use to complete an assignment, the more likely they were to copy the work of others.

Although the Internet is a productivity-enhancing technological innovation it is also a cheating-enhancing innovation.

An increased emphasis on having students work in teams may also have played a role.

It is my opinion that the article is unclear how group projects relate to cheating.  Any thoughts?  I suspect that the point was sense of ownership diminishes with the pervasiveness of free information.  With no perceived ownership there can not be any perceived cheating.   That lack of ownership sense may be present in a group where no individual feels that they “own” the project.    I don’t know.  I do not quite get the group projects lead to cheating connection.

…frequently reinforcing standards, to both students and teachers, can lessen cheating.

Sutdents in my classes: please revisit the Academic Dishonesty section of my syllabi. 🙂

When you start giving take-home exams and telling kids not to talk about it, or you let them carry smartphones into tests, it’s an invitation to cheating.

Agreed.  But do not worry.  I don’t do take home tests nor allow smartphones!

…since the 1960s, parenting has shifted away from emphasizing obedience, honor and respect for authority to promoting children’s happiness while stoking their ambitions for material success.

There has been a time or two I have seen students, even at the MBA level, demonstrate a lack of respect for authority.  However, I do not recall that being a problem with any students who served in the military.  Radical thought of this post: Perhaps compulsory military service should be law in this country.

We have a culture now where we have real trouble accepting that our kids make mistakes and fail, and when they do, we tend to blame someone else.  Thirty, 40 years ago, the parent would come in and grab the kid by the ear, yell at him and drag him home.

My parents were definitely in my corner.  But they also disciplined me.  In the “it wasn’t funny then, but it is funny now” category, I remember an incident where I was being mischievous at school.  The teacher took me to the principal’s office and called my mother.  She told me in a very calm sweet voice “don’t worry son, I will be right there.”  Upon her arrival I noticed the  copper core cloth-braided cord from an old iron (mom’s “discipline rod” of choice).  Something bad was about to happen… to me! She wore me out in front of class.  Unlike the article suggests, she did not drag me home after the yelling.  She made me sit back in my seat, remain silent, and do what I was told.  Thank you momma, I needed that!  You did it because you loved me.

If you received more of the “my child does nothing wrong” treatment growing up rather than the “grabbing by the ear,” do not worry. It is not too late to get the latter treatment.  I won’t use a copper cord, I’ll just give challenging exams and remind you that you are responsible for your grade.  Love you too!

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