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Getting there


Thursday, June 10, 2004

Having mulled over the cribbing incident from last Thursday I decided to dock the marks for both students involved. When I said this to the student who offered the work up for copying, they did not agree, saying they have been working really hard for the course and had merely wanted to help out a fellow student, and they would not do it again in future. I still hummed and hawed, and they said "It's your class, you're the teacher, do what you like" and "I'm going to really get demotivated if I don't get the marks." I asked if it was ok to discuss with the whole class but they refused to agree and said they wanted to get on with the vocab assignment, cutting off the conversation.

When I then approached the other party, they said there was no evidence they had been cribbing (the paper was identical in all responses, down to spelling mistakes, and the original had been placed openly between the two when I discovered the situation) and that the copying might have been the other way round. "So you're implying the other student might have been copying your paper?" I queried. Then the student said "I'm really worried about getting the credits for the course" (absent three out of six classes) but I explained to him last week that he still had a chance of doing well if he attended regularly and worked hard. (The mark is an average of the ten classes minus the worst three, so the three days absence can be disregarded), and said "What about the exam? What will it be like?" I explained the exam would be on the things we are studying in class, and that only an average of over 90 would guarantee a dispension, otherwise he would have to sit the exam.

It was time to start the group focus, so I called in the vocab sheets, and went into my spiel about the ethics in the room being the same as for real life: you don't always get found out, so you may do shady things for various reasons, but the question of whether it is ok remains in your own heart, and that my students are the future leaders of Japan, they've had a lot of examples of lying and covering up things in the news, with the prime minister and mitsubishi company, and that their choice of whether to be honest about their learning or not, to lie and be like the lying people in the news, or live in fear of that, was the same kind of choices they would face in society.

Then a quick blackboard rerun of the graph vocab, the basic pattern of graphs going down or up, and the adjectives or adverbs of degree or speed of change, the basic concept of the business cycle, and lastly how two sentences are joined by reference items and vocab repetition or hyponymous terminology.

After the break, the students broke into groups to work on presenting the bank investment role-play, and I dashed off to make extra copies of the roles for people who had forgotten or lost their papers, or else been absent two weeks back. They worked well in groups, reading and discussing the role, and then it was time for the group test, translating the basic investment criteria list and filling in the parts relevant to their role, with a strong role statement of where to invest below.

At the end of the class I went back to my problem, trying to find a way to create a win-win decision, and the one student said they had heard my spiel, but there was no space to discuss (they didn't want to do it in front of the class, understandably)...as they were dashing out first to go type thing I didn't think to invite them for coffee, but I suggested they email me, both of them, to discuss at more length.

Feeling so glum and undecided, packing up my things...when to draw the line, be the sword of justice, as it were, and when to let it pass, in the knowledge that it won't happen again...I am always inclined to the latter, still a bit mystified what's happening here myself. Telling myself to believe in myself, and that I will work it out for the best....I hope the email works to establish a clear line of communication...