When your pupils lie or cheat at school icon

When your pupils lie or cheat at school

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When your pupils lie or cheat at school

Honesty is the best policy.

One of the shortage of child’s behaviour is lie (falsehood). It is something that you know is untrue (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English). We must note that not all the child’s distortion of truth can be considered “a lie”.

In particular, pupils fantasy is not lie, they can change different facts, dates and numbers just to exaggerate the whole situation. The most frequent reason of pupil’s lie is fear of punishment and they try to safe themselves from any form of reprisal.

Silly basting and talkativeness is the basis of frequent lie. Some pupils just try to attract the attention to his/her figure, provoke an astonishment among adults or pupils of the same age and raise his/her figure.

Peter Kapterev (a famous child’s psychologist) and his colleagues distinguish IV stages of child’s lie, the first one is:

- striving to use prohibited joy;

It is the simplest kind of lie, which is rude and elementary. It needs no professional skills to know whether a child lies or not. The reason is simple: he/she wants to use prohibited joy which offers an interest.

The second stage of lie is:

- feeling of fear. Fear is the feeling you get when you are afraid or worried that something bad is about to happen (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English). Children are afraid of teachers, administration at school and parents and elder members of the family at home. He/she is afraid of being punished by parents, school authority, which bring him into an agonizing condition. So, one of the ways to escape from suffering is lie for them

Excessive strictness causes lie in families and at schools. Wherever and whenever a child is, he fears to be punished. Authoritarian atmosphere makes us more sensitive. The reason of the second stage of lie is the sense of fear.

The third stage is:

- an adaption, it is the process of changing something to make it suitable for a new situation (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English). Saying “I will not do this any more” a child makes a promise to adapt. Quite often children flatter to their parents, play with their weak points just to get what they wish.

The aims of “little liar” are to excite, scare, confuse, cheat and stump somebody.

The reasons are:

- to blind someone just for a minute to support oneself;

- to attract general attention and praise.

The fourth stage of lie is the highest one. We mean simulated disease (hypochondriacs). Hypochondriac is someone who always worries about own health and thinks of a possible illness, even when he/she is really not ill (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English).

It is not unusual for our pupils to imagine some kind of illness for himself/herself.

It is almost impossible to come across a hypochondriac among five-or six-year old children.

But there are many cases of imaginary diseases among children of 11-15-year old. Elder pupils (16-18-year old) were almost unnoted.

Making a conclusion we can ask a question: “Who is more eager to imagine false disease, boys or girls?” French researcher Dyuphestel explained that in 79 cases of hypochodriacs he noticed 49 girls and only 30 boys.

Another researcher, who studied 19 children with false disease, noticed only 2 boys among all of them.

There are some kinds of disease which are frequent occur in children’s lie:

- headache;

- feeling of giddiness;

- bad eyesight;

- cast in the eye (squint);

- lose of voice;

- dumbness (muteness);

- lameness.

But there is a little note:

There are many little pretenders who imagine their disease just for joy or pleasure but not for

getting something they want very much.

Searching ways of fighting with a child’s lie Arkin E. A. said: “The main means of fighting with falsity is upbringing which based on the truthfulness and courage.”

Krutetskiy V. A. gives us the following recommendations:

- teachers should remove any form of reprisal in bringing up children;

- teachers and parents must be set up as a model of thruthfulness and honesty for a child;

- teachers should trust children, they mustn’t offend and insult child’s feelings by his unfounded suspicion and distrust;

- it is important to aim that no one fact of the child’s fault is not to remain a secret or punished;

- techers and parents must make a child believe that falsity is a bad human’s feature which gives him no right of trust and respect from others.

Peter Kapterev says that methods of fighting with child’s falsity are formed by the reasons of its rise and development. As to intentional child’s lie we shouldn’t take some measures to it, this kind of lie disappears itself. Teacher’s task just to help develop all-rounded person and master right style of child’s speaking.

Kapterev suggests us some measures of fighting with deliberate lie. They are the following:

- abstention from any kind of prohibition;

- teachers and parents must give a child absolute freedom;

but this way is wrong because a child can’t accept our world correctly and can hurt oneself, so in this case we must pay attention to the following:

- it is necessary to make as short list of prohibitions for a child as possible;

- it is necessary to explain the meaning of every prohibition;

- it is necessary to show a child how it would be painfully for parents if he/she is not honest and what a sound decision it would be if he/she confesses at one;

- it is necessary to support unpleasant child’s feelings by first experience of lie;

- it is necessary to make everything possible for a child not to reach the aim with the help of lie.

Peter Kapterev offers common recommendations for future teachers and parents.

So we must:

- exclude child’s fear from education (upbringing);

- not to be lazy to check up on what pupils tell us about;

- pay attention that there is one kind of lie: lie for noble motives.

Children feel heroism and they are much more sensitive when they are told to reach a gospel truth. But we must remember that each child understands the truth in his/her own way.

Antonina Movchyn (honoured teacher of 2004) made a code of honour for pupils using Sukhomlinsky’s pieces of advices; it consists of 12 items, but we’ll show you only 3 of them, which help us to understand and explain our children the real serious consequences of the true and false.

A code of honour:

…3.It is unworthy to use the results of someone else’s work (to cheat);

to be a workaholic is honest;

to be a sponger is dishonest.

…8.It is unworthy to lie, to play the hypocrite, to lick someone’s back;

…9.It is unworthy to play upon words.

School must be sacred place where predominates honest and steadfast word.


In spite of all rules and prohibitions, our pupils and students use cribs very often. This kind of cheating is the easiest one. But it gives us only bad results in studying.

Learn young and learn fear (English proverb). Don’t use the results of someone else’s work, don’t cheat! Never! It’s bad for you and your reputation. Modern pupils invented some ways how to cheat insensibly, they use cribs (Dnipropetrovskaya Gazette, Elizabeth Ivleva).

Very often they can be helpful not just for cheating but for students who have good motor memory. Laborious making of “notes notes” can help to memorize the material better. For someone, crib can add self-assurance if it even wasn’t used. So the correspondent has made her own research and found out that there are nearly 7 mainkinds of cribs. So she describes them to us:

  1. a variety of “bombs”;

  2. a crib in the pen;

  3. a crib in the limpid file;

  4. “accordion”;

  5. a crib on the nails;

  6. a crib on the legs;

  7. a crib on the watch.

So be careful and remember that cheating in any way is a form of lie.

Exploring the problem of cheating at schools we made a list of reasons why children are cheating. They are:

  1. a fear to be punished by teachers because of bad results in studying;

  2. children have no wish to do hometask (laziness);

  3. pupils don’t want to be considered lazybones;

  4. children have a fair to make a bad reputation for themselves;

  5. children want to satisfy their needs in studying by doing nothing.

Among the mostly-spread reasons why children don’t tell the truth are:

- to protect oneself;

- to avoid hurting people;

- to change the situation when you are not allowed to do something;

- to cope with the case when there is no alternative as the truth is not acceptable;

- to participate in a conversation in order to annoy people as a joke or to humour people whose feelings one doesn’t want to hurt;

- to keep oneself out of troubles;

- to sound “cool” (it’s not really dishonest, it’s just that you don’t want to sound boring).

There are different ways how to fight with cheating and lie but there is no direct one which can help each of us. We must remember that every pupil needs care and understanding.

We mustn’t bring up children in fear of punishing or something else.

We must find a right way of upbringing to every child and then we’ll see the results of our work. Our aim is to bring up well-educated and all-rounded person, so it is necessary for all us to make a list of rules for teachers and students (pupils) which help us to control a process of education and breeding. As the problem of true and false is very actual and for centuries, we can find its reflection even in languages. For example there are many proverbs about lie in English, so read then and remember properly!

Ask no questions and you’ll be told no lies.

Better speak truth rudely than lie covertly.

Better suffer for truth than prosper by falsehood.

Clean hand wants no washing.

Clear conscience is a coat of mail (a sure card).

He that deceives is ever suspected.

He that talks much lies much.

Honesty is the best policy.

Ill deed cannot bring honour.

Ill got, ill spent (ill-gotten gains never prosper; ill-gotten, ill-spent; ill-gotten wealth never thrives).

Liar is not believed when he speaks the truth.

Liar have need of good memories (liars need long memories; a liar should have a good memory).

One lie makes many (one lie needs seven lies to wait upon it).

Not only proverbs teach us to say true and be honest but also famous writers, philosophers and pedagogues expressed their thoughts about falsity and truthfulness.

“The right sign of truth is simplicity and clearness.”

L. N. Tolstoy

“ The truth bends and suffers but not dies.”

R. Gamzatov

“Truth is a conscience of each art.”

J. de Gonkur

A liar is always generous on oaths.”

P. Kornel

So, bringing up children each of us must remember that every child is a personality in the first place and only after that he/she is a pupil (student). And our tasks are:

- to develop a conscience in our children;

- to find a common language with them;

- to discipline our pupils;

- to leave a decision to the child etc.

If you do all these tasks, you will be able to say that your life passed not in vain.

The list of the used literature:

  1. Krutetskiy V. A. The psychology of teaching and upbringingof the children. Moscow, 1976. p.248-268.

  2. Kapterev P. “About child’s nature.” Moscow, 2004. p.205-250.

  3. Vitenko I. S., Teplitskiy G. I., “Wisdom of life.” Kyiv, 1990. p.30-41.

  4. 1340 English proverbs and sayings with Russians equivalents. Moscow, 1992.

  5. English Learner’s Digest №24, December 1997. “When don’t you tell the truth?” p.7

  6. English Learner’s Digest №15, August 1996. “What have I done to deserve this?” p.7

  7. English language and culture weekly №19 (115), May 2002. “Serious and funny rules”. p.26

  8. English language and culture weekly №47 (239), December 2002. “Going back to school”. p.14-15

  9. Divoslovo. 11/2005. “ The ethics.” p.55-59.


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