Pearson Adult Learning Centre

English 10: Teacher Writing   October 25, 2001

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Teacher Writing Samples:
Current Sample
Autumn Goals Paragraph
A Difficult Freedom
Essay on Teaching and Learning
Boilerplate Sample
Folktale: The Refusal
"If I'd Been on the Train"
A Foolish Language Learner
Keeping Burglars Away (Essay)
Life Without TV (Essay)
More Sample Essays
On Freedom
Persuasive Writing
A Real Jam
Sample Standard  Essay
Short Short: The Bike
Solving Student Cheating
The Senses: Walking on Autumn Days
Solving School Cheating
A Summer Lesson
Two Essays in Revision
Using Past Unreal: The Witch
Writing a Mood: Lingkuan Gorge
Writing: Using Gerunds


The following are a first draft and a revision done for this week's assignment. Note the changes, especially the reduction from 491 to 455 words between the draft and the revision (and the change in title!). Solving School Cheating: Second Draft

Cheating in School (First Draft)

     In all my years as a teacher, no student of mine has ever admitted to a plagiary, even when it is unquestionably true. The closest I get to an admission is that someone "read it over for me," or "I used my dictionary." It is a hard truth: even when caught, the cheaters continue to cheat. There is no harder task in a teacher's job than to give that richly deserved "0"! Cheating diminishes other students' accomplishments and thus needs to be actively challenged.

     Students primarily cheat to make their lives easier. Young people, under heavy parental pressure, find cheating a way to meet their parents' expectations. Better that than having your mom or dad yell at you! In schools these days the question often heard in classrooms is, "What did you get?" Peer pressure, then, is another reason for student cheating. To say, I got a "C" is undesirable, especially in today's competitive schools. Perhaps the most important reason for cheating is what Katie Hafner's article referred to as "mental softness." For this, the Internet itself is mainly to blame. There, ideas and the words used to express those ideas can be accessed easily, from almost any terminal in the world. Why bother thinking if someone has already done it for you? An easy life is available to the student cheater, one without parental nagging, ridicule at school, or the need to work hard.

     With such "softness" evident in our students, the solutions for cheating will need to be hard ones. Parents must come to accept their children's abilities, and to celebrate their accomplishments, however small. Heavy pressure, by itself, cannot make a student smarter. Students themselves must be encouraged to make comparisons based on how much someone has improved and on how much that person has had to work in order to accomplish a grade. A "C" for some is a major achievement. The hardest challenge is to reshape the Internet as a tool for creating higher order thinking, and not one for avoiding that difficult work. Teachers, who have been less than savvy about the temptations of the Internet to potential cheaters, must make themselves aware, instead, of the potential of the Internet for teaching. Good, research-based, assignments (properly cited) that use the Internet should be the norm in every classroom. In these ways, we can work on these soft attitudes and remake them into a passion for disciplined work.

     Cheating is a real danger to student achievement, one that needs to be challenged vigorously. Parents, who harangue children over a percentage or two, can learn to ease up a little. Students can learn to admire each other's accomplishments without resorting to comparisons that offer little in judging a person's true worth. And teachers can learn from their mistakes and begin to bring the Internet into their secluded classroom worlds. If we work on this together—teachers, parents, students—then our success will be assured.

(491 Words; First Draft by Brad Hyde)

Solving School Cheating (Second Draft)

     In my years of teaching, no student has ever admitted to a plagiary, even when questioned. The closest I get to an admission is that someone "read it over for me," or "I used my dictionary." It is a hard truth: even when caught, cheaters continue to cheat. However, there is no harder task for a teacher than to give a richly deserved "0"! Cheating diminishes other students' accomplishments and thus needs to be actively challenged.

    Students cheat primarily to make their lives easier. Young people, under heavy parental pressure, find cheating a way to meet their parents' expectations. Better that than having your mom or dad yell at you! In schools these days the question often heard is, "What did you get?" Peer pressure, then, is another reason for student cheating. To say "I got a 'C'" is undesirable, especially in today's competitive schools. Perhaps the most important reason for cheating is what Katie Hafner's article referred to as "mental softness." For this, the Internet itself is mainly to blame. There, ideas and words used to express ideas can be accessed easily. Why bother thinking if someone has already done it for you? An easy life is available to the student cheater, one without parental nagging, ridicule at school, or the need to work hard.

     With such "softness" evident in our students, the solutions for cheating must be hard ones. Parents need to accept their children's abilities, and to celebrate their accomplishments, however small. Heavy pressure, by itself, cannot make a child smarter. Students must be encouraged to make comparisons on how much a peer has improved and on how hard that person had to work in order to obtain a grade. For some a "C" is a major achievement. The hardest challenge will be to reshape the Internet as a tool for creating higher order thinking, and not one for avoiding difficult work. Teachers, who have been less than savvy about the temptations of the Internet to potential cheaters, must make themselves aware, instead, of the Internet's potential for teaching. Research-based assignments (properly cited) that use the Internet should be assigned in every classroom. In these ways, we can work on the soft attitudes and remake them into a passion for disciplined work.

    Cheating is a danger to student achievement, one that needs to be challenged vigorously. Parents, who harangue children over a percentage or two, should learn to ease up a little. Students can learn to admire each other's accomplishments without resorting to comparisons that offer little in judging a person's true worth. And teachers can learn from their mistakes and begin to bring the Internet into their secluded classroom worlds. If we work on this together—teachers, parents, students—then our success will be assured.

(455 Words; Second Draft by Brad Hyde. Will be revised again for the class held next Wednesday, October 31)

 

 

 

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