Mothers cheating for sons’ grades December 11, 2007Posted by dorigo in internet, language, personal.
My wife teaches in a Liceo Classico – a high school where students learn latin and greek, and where the focus is on human sciences; her school is one which has a long, prestigious history – but despite of that, misdemeanor reigns. Through her tales, I sometimes get to know about common fraudolent practices and trends of teenager students in Italy.
One of the most important criteria for evaluation of a student’s knowledge in Latin and Greek is the written exam, where a short piece taken from the classics is translated into Italian. The students are not supposed to have seen the piece beforehand, but that is not a problem given the vast amount of literature from which the teacher can choose the subject of the exam. The teacher gives the text to the class at the beginning of the exam, and the students have typically two hours to complete the task.
Now, my wife reports that it is becoming common practice for some students to obtain outside help through their cell phones. Usually, before the exam starts the teacher collects all cell-phones from the students: unfortunately, many youngsters in Italy have a second cell-phone, and some use to conceal it somewhere. These rascals are thus able to paste the text to be translated into a message, send it to somebody outside the school, and wait until the text is fetched from the internet along with a perfect translation. They then copy the resulting translation received through an instant message into their translation. A high score is guaranteed. The teacher usually has no chance to discover the fraud, because students have become really skilled with typing on cell phones without looking at the keyboard.
I knew about this practice – it is not applied only in high school, but -even more annoying- in selections for new positions in public administration or other white collar jobs. But my wife tells me in some cases it is the very mothers of the students who stay home in front of a computer to do an internet search. I find the thought simply unbearable. A parent that teaches his son or daughter that the only important thing is the result – a good grade – and not the process, nor the capability to study, is sending a clear message: just be smarter than your peer and cheat if you need to. Quite in line with today’s world, in truth.