Feel-Bad Education – Alfie Kohn On What Schools Do Wrong

If there is cheating, the pedagogy needs reform.

  • Cheating is a much a function of environment as of individual character. Cheating is more common when academic tasks are boring, irrelevant, or overwhelming. If students see the goal as getting good grades, they are more likely to cheat. Think of cheating as a symptom of problems with the priorities of schools and the practices of educators. Competition of any kind increases cheating as does giving rewards. The practice of making rewards artificially scarce intensifies negative effects. (See my summary of Drive by Daniel Pink for more on problems with motivation.http://bit.ly/jl7ara) Closed book individual testing deprives students of the resources and social support that characterize well-functioning real-world environments. Most collaboration is considered cheating. Efforts made to curtail cheating turn the student-teacher relationship into a criminal-police relationship.
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