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Teacher Lesson Return to "Why Do So Many Teens Cheat?"
Why Do So Many Teens Cheat?
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The author of “Why Do So Many Teens Cheat?” knows that Stuyvesant HS is a very competitive place when she transfers there, but she isn’t prepared for the widespread cheating she encounters and the indifferent attitudes toward it. She interviews students from several high schools to find out that it’s much the same everywhere. She looks at the reasons kids give for cheating, and in a sidebar (“Cheating Made Me Feel Guilty”) tries to understand why she once did it herself.

Prompts for discussion and/or writing:

—What is your reaction to the writer’s basic point, that cheating is widespread in high school? Do you think it is widespread, or do you think it is less common than she portrays?

—A lot of teens think that cheating is no big deal, that “everyone does it.” What is your reaction to this?

—Students say they feel pressure to cheat because there is so much emphasis on testing and getting good grades. Do you think the blame for cheating lies with the way school is taught, or with the students themselves?

—She condemns cheating, yet once cheated herself. What is your reaction to this?

Group activity: students can work in pairs or small groups. Have each group come up with a list of three things that schools can do to lessen cheating by students. They should also come up with list of recommendations of how students caught cheating should be punished. Go around the room, list on the board, and discuss.
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