Do Teachers Hate Discovering Academic Dishonesty? Yes!

In my reading, researching, writing and chatting about the topic of academic dishonesty over the past decade, teachers’ reactions to academic dishonesty can range from feelings of general disillusionment with students to feelings of personal affront by a specific student.    Many struggle with questions like why would students do this, what could I have done differently, what is the right thing to do now?

Beyond avoiding the disappointment that encounters with suspected academic dishonesty entail, as teachers I propose we are called to create the conditions for academic honesty because of our commitment to students’ achieving the learning outcomes set out in our courses as well as our commitment to students becoming the graduates our institutions promise.

Closer to home, I propose we want the sense of personal integrity that modeling authenticity and fairness in our own teaching practices provides and we want to, understandably, personally avoid the awkwardness if not downright conflict involved in responding to academic dishonesty.

This is the first of a series of blog posts about students’ understandings of academic honesty and dishonesty and possible implications for teaching.  The posts have some basis in my doctoral research conducted with small groups of students at the University of Saskatchewan and at the University of Alberta, but also refer to literature and current websites that may be useful to teachers who want to maintain and promote academic honesty in their own settings.

Of particular interest to readers following these posts may be a book titled “Pedagogy, not Policing:  Positive Approaches to Academic Integrity at the University” edited by Twomey, White and Sagendorf and published by the Graduate School Press, Syracuse University in 2009.   This book is available from the Education Library.