Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cut back on cheating by encouraging learning

The premise of this article seems so sensible, it's hard to understand why anyone would have a problem with it.
Anderman said much of the reason student cheating is so extensive is that schools place an emphasis on testing, assessment and ultimately performance-based results focused on getting the best grades and scoring highly on tests, which causes a lot of anxiety and stress for students.

"Research that I have done and some of my colleagues (have done has) shown that if you focus in classrooms on intrinsic learning, on learning really for the sake of learning and really get kids involved in long-term projects, in-depth kinds of tasks, they’re going to learn the material, they’re going to learn it well," said Anderman, a former public school teacher.

"They’re going to maintain their interest and motivation for the material, and at the same time they’ll still do fine on the test, but they won’t get all stressed about the test."

When it comes to motivational predictors of cheating, Anderman said when students believe that the teacher’s goal is to have them learn and understand materials and appreciate what they’re learning, it’s proven consistently in research that cheating is much less likely to happen.
Call me a utopian, but I do believe that this premise should apply to our schools. And if it also applied to our workplace, we'd be a lot better off.

Substitute "employee" for "student" and "manager" for "teacher" and I can imagine a workplace that functions a lot better than the results-driven culture we have now. I don't mean that employees shouldn't be expected to deliver results. But I do think that they need to be encouraged to understand what and why they're being asked to do and supported in the process.

I'm not anti-competitive but when everything comes down to "the bottom line," the end result is a negative. The old saying "the end justifies the means" is, for me, wrong. Honesty, transparency, clarity - those are the values that should be driving what we do.

We know that "what" our children are learning is important. Now we need to become as concerned with "how" they're learning and how they'll benefit from it down the road. But we'll need to change a lot more than just our school system's testing methods to make it happen.

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