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Academic Integrity——A Letter to My Students

2006-07-23 17:08

  Here at the beginning of the semester I want to say something to you about academic Integrity.

  I'm deeply convinced that integrity is an essential part of any true educational experience, integrity on my part as a faculty member and integrity on your part as a student.

  To take as easy example, would you want to be operated on by a doctor who cheated his way through medical school? Or would you feel comfortable on a bridge designed by an engineer who cheated her way through engineering school? Would you trust your tax return1 to an accountant who just copied his exam answers from his neighbor?

  Those are easy examples, but what difference does it make if you as a student or I as a faculty member violate2 the principles of academic integrity in a political science course, especially if it's not in your major?

  For me, the answer is that integrity is important in this course precisely because integrity is important in all areas of life. If we don't have integrity in the small things, if we find it possible to justify plagiarism3 or cheating or shoddy4 work in things that doesn't seem important, how will we resist doing the same in areas that really do matter, in areas where money might be at stake5, or the possibility of advancement, or our esteem in the eyes of others?

  Personal integrity is not a quality we're born to naturally. It's a quality of character we need to nurture6.We can only be a person of integrity if we practice it every day.

  What does that involve for each of us in this course? Let's find out by going through each stage in the course. As you'll see, academic integrity basically requires the same things of you as student as it requires of me as a teacher.

  I. Preparation for Class

  What Academic Integrity Requires of Me in This Area

  With regard to coming prepared for class, the principles of academic integrity require that I come having done the things necessary to make the class a worthwhile educational experience for you. This requires that I:

  1.reread the text (even when I've written it myself),2.clarify7 information I might not be clear about, 3.prepare the class with an eye toward8 what is current today (that is, not simply rely on past notes), and 4.plan the session so that it will make it worth your while to be there.

  What Academic Integrity Requires of You in This Area

  With regard to coming prepared for class, the principles of academic integrity suggest that you have a responsibility to yourself, to me, and to the other students to do the things necessary to put yourself in a position to make fruitful contributions to class discussion. This will require you to:

  1.read the text before coming to class,2.clarify anything you're unsure of (including looking up words you don't understand), 3.formulate9 questions you might have so you can ask them in class, and 4.think about the issues raised in the directed reading guide.

  II. In Class

  What Academic Integrity Requires of Me in This Area

  With regard to class sessions, the principles of academic integrity require that I ask you seriously and treat you with respect. This requires that I:

  1.show up for all class sessions, unless I'm simply unable to do so, 2.come to class on time, and not leave early, 3.not waste class time, but use it well to fulfil the objectives of the course, 4.do my best to answer your questions, 5.honestly acknowledge when I don't have an answer or don't know something, and then go out and get an answer by the next class, 6.both encourage you, and give you an equal opportunity, to participate in class discussions,7.contain you if your enthusiasm for participating in the discussions make it difficult for others to participate, 8.assume that you are prepared for class and that I won't embarrass you if I call on you, even if your hand isn't up, 9.respect the views you express and not make fun of you or of them, 10.not allow others to ridicule you or your ideas, or you to do the same to them, and 11.make clear when I am expressing an opinion, and not impose on you my views on controversial issues.

  What Academic Integrity Requires of You in This Area

  With regard to class sessions, the principles of academic integrity require you to take both me and your fellow students seriously and to treat us with respect. This requires that you:

  1.show up for all class, unless you are simply unable to do so,2.come to class on time and not leave early, 3.make good use of class time by being engaged in what's going on, 4.ask questions about anything you don't understand, and not just for your own sake10 but because other students might not realize that they also don't understand, 5.participate in the class discussions so as to contribute your thinking to the shared effort to develop understanding and insight (remember that even something that's clearly wrong can contribute to the discussion by stimulating an idea in another student that she/he might not otherwise have had), 6.monitor your own participation so as to allow for and encourage the participation of others,7.respect the other students by not making fun of them or their ideas, and by not holding side conversations that distract them (and me) from the class discussion.

  教学上的诚实与正直

  ——致学生的一封信

  在开学之际,我想和大家谈谈教学上的诚实与正直问题。

  我深信,对我做教师的和对你们当学生的来说,诚实与正直都是任何真正教育过程中的首要部分。

  举些简单的例子。你们都不会希望让一个曾经在学医时经常作弊的医生为你做手术吧?你走在一座桥上,而这座桥却是一个当工程学院学生时一直作弊的工程师设计的,你的感觉会怎样?你会将你的退税事务委托给一位曾在考试时经常抄袭邻桌卷子的会计师吗?

  这些例子都很简单。但假若你们做学生的和我这个当教师的在政治学课程(尤其是该课程不是你的专业课)中,都违背了诚实与正直的原则,那会产生何等影响?

  我的答案是,诚实与正直在本课程中很重要正是因为它在人生的各方面都是重要的。如果我们在小事情上不诚实,如果我们在一些看来不太重要的功课上进行剽窃、作弊或作假却认为无关紧要,我们是否还能在一些重大问题上抵御剽窃、作弊或作假?我们还能否在钱财遭风险、在有晋升机会、在别人评估我们价值等等情况下抵御弄虚作假?

  人的正直并不是天生的。它是一种需要培养的人格素质。我们只有每天锻炼才能成为一个正直的人。

  本课程中我们每一个人要做些什么?让我们在课程的每个环节看看该做些什么。你们会看到,教学上的诚实与正直对你们做学生的和对我做教师的要求基本上是一样的。

  一、课前准备

  教学上的诚实与正直在这阶段对我的要求

  在做课前准备时,诚实与正直这一原则要求我做好一切必要的工作,让你们觉得整堂课的学习经历很有价值。这就要求我:

  1.重读教材(即使教材是我编写的)2.弄清我可能还不明白的信息3.用现在的眼光去备课(即,不只是依赖过去的笔记)4.计划好课堂教学环节,使上课时间很充实而非浪费。

  教学上的诚实与正直在这阶段对你的要求

  在课前准备阶段,诚实与正直这一原则要你对自己、对我以及对其他同学负责,尽可能在课堂讨论时做出卓有成效的贡献。这就要求你:

  1.课前阅读教材2.弄清楚你尚无把握的地方(包括查生字)3.准备好在课堂上要提的问题4.思考教材阅读指导中提出的问题。

  二、在课堂上

  教学上的诚实与正直在这阶段对我的要求

  在上课时,诚实与正直这一原则要求我对你们认真提问同时又尊重你们。这就要求我:

  1.有课必到,除非我上不了课2.按时上课,不提前下课3.不浪费课堂时间,充分利用上课时间完成课程目标4.尽己所能回答你们的问题5.自己不能回答的或不懂的问题老实承认,课后找答案,下次课回答6.鼓励并给予平等机会,让你们参与课堂讨论7.你过于积极参与讨论而影响他人时就加以限制8.认定你已做课前准备,即使你没举手,也可能请你回答问题,但不为难你9.尊重你表达的观点,不嘲弄你和你的观点10.不允许其他同学讥笑你和你的观点,当然也不允许你如此对待他人11.清楚阐述观点,但在有争议的问题上不将自己的观点强加于你。

  教学上的诚实与正直在这阶段对你的要求

  在上课时,诚实与正直这一原则要求你认真对待并尊重我和你的同学。这就要求你:

  1.有课必到,除非实在不能2.不迟到,不早退3.上课时全神贯注,充分利用堂上时间4.有任何不懂处就提问,因为这不光是为自己,有些问题不光是你不懂,可能其他同学尚未意识到他们也不懂5.参与课堂讨论,将自己的想法贡献出来与大家分享以利于增进理解(记住即使有明显错误的东西在讨论中也是有用的,因为它可以启发其他同学,使之产生原不曾有的想法)6.节制你的参与度,鼓励其他同学参与7.尊敬同学,不要取笑他们以及他们的观点。在课堂上不要私下讲话分散同学(以及我)的注意力。(待续)

  注释:

  1.tax return纳税申报单

  2.violate vt.违反,违背

  3.plagiarism n.剽窃,抄袭

  4.shoddy adj.假冒的

  5.at stake在危急关头,在危险中,成问题

  6.nurture vt.培育

  7.clarify vt.使清晰明了

  8.with an eye toward留心,注意

  9.formulate vt.确切地表达(阐述)

  10.for one's own sake为了自己的利益

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