An LYS principal submits,

“SC, I have a funny story to share — well, it’s not funny from the kid’s perspective, but it’s funny from the adult perspective.

Good student — second grader — very active in Accelerated Reader program — has earned 200% of his goal for the year, participating in incentives, earned lots more — keeps reading and taking tests. For some reason, he decides to break our “Honor Code” and cheat by writing down the answers to the comprehension questions to share with a friend. The teacher catches him — asks him what he’s doing — he innocently looks up and says, “Critical writing!”

We gotta start somewhere!”

SC Response
Forget TAKS, have that student sit for the LSAT. Three topics related to your story that I want to elaborate on.

First, is the concept that “Honesty” is contextual. And before the LYS Nation disagrees, when was the last time you looked for the rightful owner of a dollar bill you found in a parking lot. What we as adults see as dishonesty, the student often sees as a way to either help a buddy or win the “game.”

Second, is the concept that school is a middle class game. If you come from the middle class, you understand the rules to the game because you have been exposed to them from the cradle. If you aren’t from the middle class, sometimes you don’t know, misunderstand, or forget the rules. In that context, teaching kids the how to play and win the game is more productive than penalties and punishments. And that is not lowering expectations, instead it is teaching expections in order to level the playing field.

Third, is the concept of cheating and who we believe should be the purveyors of knowledge. In a teacher centric classroom, the teacher is the purveyor of knowledge to the individual student. In the student centric classroom knowledge comes from many sources. This is fine in theory, but in practice, adults have a hard time understanding how to make it work. The Davis Rule makes the student centric room actionable through the understanding that… “The only way to cheat is to not help your buddy.”

So by that rubric, you found the only “non-cheater” in the school.

Thanks for the smile,

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…