Alan’s thoughts on cheating. Blog 2

This subject could go so many ways. Cheating?.Cheating in education has been around at least since the first standardized exams were used to select civil servants in ancient China (Whitley & Keith-Spiegel, 2002)—even though the penalty at the time was death!  Most Humans will always try to gain the advantage over each other. I think this can be a dark rabbit hole to go down if one starts to “Cheat” Where does it stop?.. Who decides the rules? That’s why we have laws.

I agree with Mr.Gustav (love that name). I tend to look at cheating as a dirty word associated with dishonesty and deceit. However, the context, intent, frame of mind cannot be ignored. For example, If a student passes of someones work as their own, that is clearly not right. What if the same student gave credit and simply added a few visuals? Starts to get  blurry. Was it cheating that i had the advantage of reading all the others posts before i wrote my own? I never intended it to be that way but had FD training. It certainly helped me by understanding everyone’s perspective.

In the field, you either know it or you don’t. Whether its performance based or academic is irrelevant. It’s just as important to know how to do a quick stability calculation as it is to put on your breathing apparatus quickly. Make a mistake with either and your life could depend on it. It quickly becomes clear who the students are that are trying to bluff their way through. Out of the four questions asked in Daves article, two resonated with me. What mistakes have others made? Are their good/ best practices? I certainly make lots of mistakes and absolutely learn from them. It is out of the mistakes that we learn the good/best practices.

As educators, we should answer the question. What defines cheating in education? I’ll leave that one open for discussion.

I’ll sign off with a personal story from a young students experience regarding cheating. If i don’t tell you the back story it won’t make much sense. So here goes; I was 14 years old when my step-father died suddenly of a cardiac arrest in front of me. His name was Cpl.David Johnson. He was 42. He was an RCMP officer. I loved him, but yet i was helpless to help him. I knew nothing of first aid. It shook me to the core. I decided in that moment i would never feel that way again. So I started studying first aid on my own. Fast forward to two years later. In health class the teacher accused me of cheating on a test because i scored 98% and said i never opened a book ( i had the same manual at home). He accused me in front of everyone. I got angry and told him to ask me any question he wanted. He said “you would know the answer anyway because you cheated! WTF? (hope that’s ok)…is all i remember thinking. He ended up giving me a different version of the test in a room with just him and I the next day. I scored a perfect 100. I will never forget the look on his face after i told him how I knew the material. He was shocked that i learned it on my own. He made a big deal about apologizing. He told the class and me , he would never accuse anyone again. He turned it into a teaching moment that i never forgot. In closing, because of this experience I always try to see a problem from all angles before i rush to judgement.


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Learning manager at Holland College since 2008.

2 thoughts on “Alan’s thoughts on cheating. Blog 2”

  1. “Was it cheating that i had the advantage of reading all the others posts before i wrote my own? ” I love this. It made me question my take on the cheating topic. I think cheating is still cheating but where is the line between cheating and refocusing or perspective gaining? I think if we allow using other people and their works to test other people’s knowledge then we have to redefine what cheating is and like you said, who makes up the rules? I feel like with this whole topic, the terms were using need to be defined so everyone is on the same page.

    Good story. Sorry about having to go through such a traumatic event so young. It is nice to see that the teacher had the confidence and integrity to apologise and take responsibility for his mistake.

  2. Thank you Rose! I couldn’t agree more with your take on it. Thats my perspective exactly. Your reply even made it more clear to me. Thanks.

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