Several students nowadays feel like they simply are not smart enough to be in the level of classes they have been used to for their whole lives. It can be seen on a daily basis in schools: copying answers from Quizlet, asking friends for the homework they did not have time to finish at home, or even something as serious as cheating on a test. Is it a problem in this generation’s way of learning, or is there something more complex going on in the way students are taught? There are two common factors seen in high schools around the country: unhappiness and cheating.
Stressed and unhappy students tend to not enjoy their high school experiences. They are too worried about making mistakes that will determine their whole future and potential success. Christina Hinton, a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), recently conducted a new study about the correlation between a student’s happiness and their GPA. She concluded that “students often reported that happiness, or positive feelings like enjoyment or fun, promotes learning.” Although it seems like a simple solution to teaching students in a positive way, many teaching curriculums do not have the time to go slow and allow students to enjoy learning as much as they used to back in elementary school. Teachers rush through what they are required to teach, and if they did not finish their plans, the work gets transferred to the growing pile of homework. Because of this burden students take home with them, they do not have time to spend with their families or deal with their persistent anxiety; therefore, unhappy students are left with no other choice to be able to pass their classes: cheating.
Cheating has been an ongoing problem in schools for a reason. The competition between students around the world to get into the best colleges gets harder every year and many cannot keep up with the pace. In fear of losing in the game of life, students cheat mainly because they believe that what they are learning in most of their classes will not apply to their future careers; therefore, they simply want to pass the class and forget about it. It is not uncommon to see a group of students sharing the portions of the homework they have each completed, allowing the rest to fill in the gaps. According to Professor Michael Bishop, “53% of my upper-class students have cheated on a test or plagiarized a paper…, 91% know someone who has, and 18% know someone who has been punished for academic dishonesty.” It is almost as if the population of honesty is fading away.
It is important to teach students at an early age that cheating will only make their future harder. Not understanding a subject as fast as teacher expects students to learn it should not determine how smart a student is. Another important lesson to teach is how unfair cheating is towards honest students. There is still a great number of students that genuinely try their best to understand everything that is placed in front of them and those that cheat their way through life will not be as successful in the long run.