One of the reasons is the way schools and parents deal with or ignore the underlying issues of integrity and character. For instance, one of the most popular things adults say to discourage kids from cheating is: “You’re only cheating yourself.”
When we try to tell kids that when they cheat, they’re cheating themselves because they don’t learn the material, we have to remember that most kids who cheat think what they’re asked to learn is unimportant. They’re quite comfortable not knowing the value of X or the capital of Zimbabwe. As to mastering skills, cynical and worldly-wise students believe learning cheating methods is more useful than learning the material.
Finally, it’s dangerous to promote self-centered, cost-benefit calculations regarding cheating in a way that ignores or minimizes the crucial moral issues of honesty and honor. Nearly two-thirds of all high school students cheat because they’re not afraid of getting caught and because they get better grades by doing so.
To address the problem, we must promote virtues like integrity, not self-interest, and tell kids that whether they get away with it or not, cheating is wrong. Of course, it helps if we really believe that.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.