Thursday, April 5, 2012

One Student's View on Cheating, Plagiarism and 21st Century Learning

My thoughts exactly...
A guest post by Kevin, a high school sophomore:

In today's world, cooperation is an extremely important skill that should be taught and developed from a young age. Although students should not be cheating on tests, schools should be allowing more of a collaborative effort on assignments and exams. If a student is blatantly cheating, that should not be tolerated, but enabling students to work together as opposed to isolating their minds will be much more productive when it comes to preparing them for the real world.

Outright cheating is not something that should be tolerated by any means. If it is clear that a student did absolutely no thinking for himself, he should be harshly penalized. Plagiarism is a growing problem in the modern world and it must be stopped at the high school or middle school level before it gets out of hand. Students need to learn that it is everybody's duty to do just as much work as each other, and a violation of that principle should not be tolerated. A student who constantly leeches off the success of others will be far from prepared when it comes to finding a job after high school or college. It is the job of the education system to prepare children for whatever career path they may choose, and it starts with teaching them to take responsibility for the tasks at hand.

Having said that, the examination process in schools today is unrealistic and impractical. The idea of keeping a child enclosed within his own mind for a full class period or more is not teaching the more important skills of cooperation and collaboration. Upon entering the post-education world, the development of these skills will be severely limited. A solution to this problem is to make tests and quizzes a cooperative effort. If a student feels confident that he knows the material, he can fill in the answers alone. However, if the student is struggling to recall a particular detail, there should be nothing stopping him from asking a neighbor to jog his memory, or even pulling out a smart phone or other device to do some research on the topic at hand. Jobs in the real world provide employees with all of these valuable resources and it is just as important that the student learns to utilize them as it is for him to learn and study the material.

Education today is far too focused on the idea of cramming the minds of students with information for them to recall on their own. It is understandable that the students need to work for themselves; if they are not doing so, that should not be tolerated by the school. However allowing students to help each other out and even look up test answers is not going to hurt anybody. In fact, it will only help them to prepare for the future.