The Philippine school stands out as a fertile ground for the realization of values in the individual and society in general. It is seen by our educators as the seed of hope for social transformation. It has been put into the limelight to provide not just the knowledge to survive but also the anchor in terms of values that make survival meaningful.
It is also believed to be the rightful medium through which values are formed and reinforced. It develops the learner with norms of conduct within the accepted standards of society. It makes the individual a consciously valuing person – a person whose values we want Filipinos to possess.
Yet, in spite of the goals of the Department of Education (DepED) in the development of the total human person in the context of society, values education is not doing wonders in creating honest learners. Cheating in the classroom especially during examinations has not been controlled or minimized. It seems that it is a problem that has been ignored outright. It remains untackled. Shall we say that honesty in the classroom seems not to be the foremost value inculcated in the learners? Shall we say that there is failure in the internalization of values among our pupils?
What is cheating? According to Wikipedia, cheating is the getting of reward for ability by dishonest means or finding an easy way out of an unpleasant situation. Examinees resort to it for many reasons.
1. Teacher Pressure. The problem of cheating could be a result of declining culture on a low level of moral atmosphere in the school. Oftentimes, a teacher is guilty of encouraging cheating among her pupils. How?
There are teachers who are “awardees” conscious in academic achievement. They take pride in being identified as the school “best bet” teachers. To maintain or surpass such honor, they go to the extent of resorting to deception to reach for it.
One of the measures of teacher effectiveness or competence in teaching is pupil performance in examinations like the year-end summative test. To obtain a very significant class mean score of pupils, the teacher sits bright and dull learners together, with the bright one allowing the pupil with lower I.Q. to copy. If this is done, then cheating defeats the purpose of education. It manifests that there is an overpriced premium placed on success and an underpriced value on honesty.
A teacher who scolds or punishes a learner who fails in a test is likely tempt the learner to cheat at all costs and by whatever means, so as to score a sufficiency of marks to avoid punishment.
A teacher may also promote cheating when administering a test to her learners. After the distribution of the test papers, she does other matters like gossiping next door, checking social media accounts, lesson planning or reading newspapers, etc. Here, she misses giving proper supervision in the testing process. This makes the testing atmosphere conducive to cheating.
2. Parent Pressure. Parents are very concerned with the education of their child. They want to gift their child with the best education they could afford because this is the best legacy they could give him. They hope for a better life for their child through education.
Most parents highly value academic success. They monitor closely the learning performance of their child. Achievement-oriented parents motivate or prod their child to strive for academic excellence. They crave to be the parents of an “academician.” They are proud that intelligence is in their genes. In short, they view their child as an extension of themselves.
On the other hand, children are sensitive to what their pushy parents want them to be. Such attitude forces the child into the defiant behavior of cheating. When parental aspiration for academic success is unrealistically high, the tendency of the child is to feel inadequate or insecure when he realizes that he is not living up to the expectations of his home members. The last recourse is to cheat in his school work. The “success at any cost” pattern of behavior will really lead to cheating just to please them.
3. Self-Preservation Pressure. The most common motive in cheating is the desire to do well – to get high grades for honors and popularity. This is more likely of pupils who are over anxious about school success. They have to compete with their classmates in order to excel. If their academic success or survival is in jeopardy, they resort to cheating. They think that cheating is a justifiable or legitimate means to survive.
A pupil could be provoked to cheat if he lacks preparation for the test especially if it is a difficult one. He might have been too lazy to read his notes or might have nothing to review. This portrays that he has poor study habits. Because of poor personal discipline, he tries to score high in the test come what may.
Peers and friends have also a big influence on cheating behavior. A learner could be enticed into cheating by observing or watching models not get punished. He cheats because his peers are doing it. If they are, why not him? He believes it to be unfair when he studies and fails while others cheat and pass the examination.
All the cited situations show that the value of self-preservation and self-gain is stronger than fair play to the pupils.
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The child does not travel along the road to moral maturity alone. Groups/institutions such as the home, school, church, peer group, etc. contribute to the values education of the young. They are the primary transmitters of moral standards. They take part in making the individual what he is. They provide the child with skills to change values as the world changes and to apply these values in real life situations. All in all, they help the child to shape his behavior from which he derives his hopes.
It is in this light that the following are recommended to minimize or eradicate cheating in the classroom.
1. Schooling is moral enterprise. To educate someone is not only to develop his intellect but also his values or character. It is expected that the morals of the child are safeguarded in every respect in the classroom. The teacher should exert greater effort in the management of classroom discipline especially in the prevention of cheating during testing. She should prevent pupils from copying each others work.
2. Honesty can be acquired and learned within a social situation, day in and day out. This value abounds in the content and process of teaching. The teacher should provide appropriate situations and the kind of environment in which values like honesty in the classroom can emerge and flourish.
3. The teacher should have an established honor code. The inculcation of moral values can only be done by a teacher who lives by these moral precepts every moment of her life. Her behavior may either maximize or minimize the quality of her educational output.
4. The teacher should be alert to appraise the effectiveness of the Values Education and Moral Recovery Programs. She should see to it that these moral transformation programs help the child about issues of right and wrong by behaving in an ethical manner. She should see to it that the learner practices his theoretical learnings and to live these values as a way of life.
Teachers: What do you think are the factors that push the students to cheat? Is it a big problem at your school? How do you teach academic integrity and handle cheating cases? Share your experiences, strategies and insights, below.