It doesn't feel all that festive to talk about cheating around Thanksgiving. But as kids head into their finals, I think it is appropriate to understand how and why we are raising a generation of cheaters. We've created such a fixed-mindset environment in our schools that college-bound students are now more likely than not to cheat in order to reach the seemingly super-heroic levels of achievement required for college admissions.
Fortunately, research shows that kids who have learned to think of their success as being a result of their hard work and practice–those that embody the growth-mindset–are less likely to cheat. Notably, they perform better in high school even without cheating.
I've posted before about the causes of cheating, and I recently talked about why kids cheat (and how kids can succeed without cheating!) with Beth Pickett in this radio interview. You can listen to
Segment 1 here (skip the first minute of commercials) and
Segment 2 here.
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We cheat these days because nobody really cares how much we know. Adults and kids are the same. We live in a society where a piece of paper is more important that what you’ve got in your head. So, it’s more important to get to the paper (by taking tests and working the system) than it is to be actually competent. It really makes perfect sense. There isn’t any shame in it either because that’s the definition of success. If the system is stacked against actual knowledge then you can’t blame kids for learning to work it, right. A good example of what I’m talking about is the lady who came to my blog the other day to tell me I was wrong. I don’t care if someone disagrees with me, but she said I she was right BECAUSE she was a Ph.D. I’d say that pretty much sums up what people think of education. It’s all about the scrap of paper. Who the heck cares what you know if you can just wave that around and earn respect?
Keith Wilcox | 8:51 pm, November 20, 2009 | Link