The problem of cheating in Polish schools - Notatki - Język angielski, Notatki'z Język angielski. University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
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Maksymilian22 March 2013

The problem of cheating in Polish schools - Notatki - Język angielski, Notatki'z Język angielski. University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn

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W notatkach wyeksponowane są tematy z zakresu języka angielskiego: phe problem of cheating in Polish schools.
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Maciej Kaleciński

Academic Writing, IIIA

Analytic Essay

May 26, 2007

To: Dr. Sean Hartigan

Can anything be done about the problem of cheating in Polish schools?

There is no doubt that the problem of cheating at schools in Poland is very

common. That is probably due to our historical background and the fact that no one

really ever does anything about it. According to the survey that was conducted on a

large group of people from various cities in Poland and coming from different

backgrounds, only 49 per cent of the surveyed consider cheating during exams as

something wrong and unforgivable, while 25 per cent actually approve such actions

(Boguszewski, 2007). It seems to be so popular at schools that nowadays people

who do not cheat are considered to be either “nerds” or “morons with no skills”.

Moreover, the popularity of this method resulted in the fact that students actually

boast about how much knowledge they managed to write down into their exam sheet

from the cribs they had earlier prepared.

There are lots of reasons for which people turn to cheating. First of all, people

choose this form of dishonesty because they consider it an easier option than

studying and therefore do not even try to learn the material properly. They lack any

motivation for studying, because they can cheat. Secondly, sometimes the students

are to obtain large amounts of book knowledge in a short period of time before the

exam, so they turn to cheating, as they do not manage to learn everything by heart

on such short notice. Additionally, sometimes even the incompetence of the teacher

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of a given subject in explaining the material can be the cause why the students cheat

on exams. “The main reason for cheating is that it is easy to get away with. That

coupled with a tradition of getting round monitoring bodies under the previous political

regime results in an established tradition that shows no sign of dying out of its own

accord.” (Young, 2003) says David Young, an English teacher from Wroclaw.

As it was mentioned before, Poland had a rich and quite cruel history.

Especially during the Second World War, skill such as gathering information an

avoiding detection while forking for the resistance were sought among the people to

be necessary in successful fight for independence. After the war, the winning Russian

Red Army entered our territories and imposed socialistic order upon our country.

Once again, having to cope with strict authorities and teachers at school the Polish

had to resort to cheating, not only at school but also in everyday life.

Sadly, although those times are gone for more than 16 years, we still develop

those deceptive skills. Moreover, the present tolerance for this kind of activities and

pathetic laws controlling such unwanted behaviour does not at all help containing the

cheating during exams and making it disappear. The main problem is that in order to

improve statistics of a given school, the teachers themselves and even headmasters

allow students to cheat during their final exams. For instance, this “help” of the

headmasters can be telling the teachers to leave the examination room for a moment,

which is against the idea of the teacher ensuring that the students show off the

knowledge they possess, but not the one they have “in their pockets”. Such actions

do not at all reflect the values they were supposed to treasure.

Of course there is a law in penal code, which states that when we use

someone else’s words or we summarize or paraphrase his or her work without paying

certain respect to that work and claiming its authorship we commit a crime, namely

violation of copyright or in other words plagiarism. (Agnosiewicz, 2004) However, in

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today’s reality this law is only applied to sophisticated works like Master’s and

doctoral theses, lectures, dissertations and other academic works. If such crime is

discovered, the only thing that happens is public humiliation of the author of the

plagiarized work by showing him or her on the public television and that is about it.

There are not many further repercussions after that. Naturally, the rightful author can

sue the person who plagiarized him, but that is quite expensive and therefore few

people decide to take up such steps.

On the other hand, in the countries of Western Europe like the UK or in North

America, there is no public consent for cheating and it is regarded as something foul,

abominable and disgraceful. Such an approach to cheating is quite understandable,

since this kind of behaviour in those early stages of our lives may lead to the state

that we cheat at everything, not only writing something, but also at work, at home and

such. The students themselves consider it unjust and unfair towards the other

students. (Zamoyski, 2005) As Professor Zygmunt Zamoyski, a famous activist

against cheating in Poland, who came to Poland from Great Britain in 1989, says to

his students: “Cheating during exams and tests is unfair, being a form of theft of good

grades other students have been working so hard for. The result of cheating is

decreasing the quality of degrees and qualifications acquired at schools of higher

education in Poland. Cheating corrupts the youth and depreciates the education

system in Poland and brings embarrassment in the eyes of other

countries.” (Zamoyski Z., 2005)*

There is a number of ways to deal with the problem of cheating in Poland. For

instance, we could introduce stricter laws and regulations to prevent the potential

cheaters from cheating. One of the main advantages of this solution is the fact that

people will think a couple of times more before resorting to cheating. Another

advantage, actually directly connected with the first one is the fact that such strict

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regulations can turn out to be a perfect motivator for student to get down to some

serious studying and can of course result in better overall knowledge of the students.

However good such a solution may seem, one has to remember that this is only a

medicine for this problem and that it would only cure the symptoms, not the source of

the problem.

Another possible solution can be series of lectures on dishonesty and cheating

for the youngest at primary schools. This method, on the other hand, is aimed at the

young generation, so if conducted properly might significantly help us to eradicate the

problem of cheating. Unfortunately, this solution’s major drawback is the fact that the

effects of those lectures will not be visible from the very beginning. To see the effect

of this method we would have to wait a few or even more than ten years. Another

major disadvantage is the fact that such lectures need to be supported by another

series of lectures, but this time for the parents and teachers as well. The best solution

for that would be to educate the teachers on the matter and let the teachers educate

the parents, probably during parents’ evenings.

Of course introducing such solutions would require not only large amounts of

good will and determination, but also funds from the government. To fulfil the first

solution we would have to cerate a special group or employ a company that will take

care of preparing a proper bill that will later on be approved by the government and

the president of Poland, introducing those stricter laws. Such procedures are very

slow and bringing those laws into life would require also a certain amount of time –

about two to four years. In addition, the headmasters would have to be acquainted

with the new laws, so some lectures, brochures or an article on the Internet site of the

Ministry of Education would be required as well. In order to bring the second solution

into effect we would, as I mentioned before need lots of government funds for special

trainings for teachers who would later on, pass their knowledge on to the young

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generation and their parents. Actually despite those trainings, we should also

consider when such lectures would take place. It would be both sensible and

relatively cheap to conduct those lectures once a week during school time for children

and during parents’ evenings for their parents.

To sum up, we can say that definitely there can be something done about the

problem of cheating in Polish schools. In fact, many schools of higher education have

already begun to fight plagiarism and they gradually achieve success in getting rid of

cheating at their university. The only choice left to decide is what solution to this

problem would be the best. Anyone who reads this essay should choose the solution

he or she thinks is the best.

* - Translation from Polish to English performed by the author of this essay

Bibliography

Agnosiewicz, M. (2004). Odpowiedzialność karna za czyny naruszające

prawa autorskie i prawa pokrewne. Racjonalista.pl. Retrieved May 27,

2007: http://www.racjonalista.pl/kk.php/s,3381

Stadnicka, L. (2005). Co z tym ściąganiem? Wywiad z Zygmuntem Zamoyskim.

Idź pod prąd. Retrieved May 26, 2007: http://www.podprad.knp.lublin.pl/

archiwum- 2.php?idg=15&tyt=CO%20%20%20Z%20%20%20TYM%20%20%A6CI

%A1GANIEM?%20%20WYWIAD%20%20Z%20%20%20ZYGMUNTEM%20%

20ZA MOYSKIM

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Boguszewski, R. (2005). Wartości I normy w życiu człowieka. Komunikat z

badań. CBOS - Public Opinion Research Center in Poland. Warsaw

Płońska, P.(2007). Do oszustwa przyznało się 80proc. badanych uczniów - Ściąganiu

kontra KRONIKA – official magazine of the University of Łódź. Retrieved

May 26, 2007: http://www.uni.lodz.pl/portal/kronika.php?

akcja=pokaz_tekst&id_tekstu=186

Young, D. (2003, September). Cheating in Poland HLT Magazine. Retrieved May

27, 2007: http://www.hltmag.co.uk/sep03/sart3.htm

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