What to Do with a Student Who is Deceitful About Doing (or Not Doing) Their Work
Ok, I've dealt with this
I'll give you my best shot, here. And I am speaking here
as both a parent and an educator, I'm afraid.
First, to directly answer your question, the student MUST
RESTUDY (ACTUALLY STUDY) THE MATERIALS! The whole point is
that we want the student to learn, preferably in as
self-possessed and causative manner as possible. The student
lied, he/she didn't actually do the work. How they passed
any of our tests is a bit of a mystery, but duplicity can
get really creative.
Quick advice: I know you're angry. Oh, boy, I understand.
Put your anger in a box and close the lid. There may be a
study problem your student is not willing to admit to, or
something not understood which made her distrust the course,
or herself/himself as a student. You're going to need to be
extraordinarily patient and loving, and I suggest you call
upon whatever reserves you have. (When confronted with the
same situation, as I'll discuss, I was NOT very loving. I
wish I had done better. I got angry and I yelled a blue
streak. Not helpful.) Now is the time for real discussion.
WHY did he/she do this? Only the student knows. You'll need
to make it terribly safe to get the whole truth. There may
be a problem you can help with that will resolve this and
make certain it never occurs again, but if the student
becomes afraid or defensive, you won't get far.
THE GOAL IS TO HANDLE THE PROBLEM EFFECTIVELY AND GET HER
BACK TO STUDYING AND LEARNING AND WINNING, no matter what
curriculum you're using!
To the harder points. My son did far worse, about 2 years
ago. He pretended to study and did not FOR THREE MONTHS. It
took me a while to figure out what was up, so I'm no
brighter than anyone else when it comes to my own children.
I insisted he MAKE UP THE DAMAGES. First, he was required to
put in extra time...in this case, his summer vacation! He
actually agreed (once he admitted what had been done) that
he needed to do this, and he did it. On his own, he decided
to GO BACK A WHOLE HISTORY COURSE AND REDO IT, to locate
what he did not understand. This was not my idea or
suggestion, and I was opposed to it. That said, he located a
number of things he had not understood, which had made him
distrust the course. He restudied, gained an understanding,
and announced proudly (3 months after re-starting studies)
that he was back to where I had thought he was in the
studies. In other words, HE TOOK RESP0NSIBILITY FOR FIXING
WHAT HE HAD DONE. That's all anyone can do, isn't it? (He's
a great boy. His sense of integrity is powerful, and when
he violates it, it doesn't last and it always comes up. I
imagine yours are similar. If they truly didn't want to be
caught, I'd wager they would not be caught.)
Frankly, I believe it only takes a FEW IDEAS OR WORDS
MISUNDERSTOOD to send a student running for the hills.
Granted, IT'S THE STUDENT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE CERTAIN
THEY DO THE WORK NECESSARY TO TRULY MASTER MATERIALS AND
COURSES! But we very often do not know what we do not know.
You might be reading something, hit a few words you THINK
you understand, or that you can "provide" a definition for
based on context, read on...and be utterly confused and lost
two pages later. Happens all the time. Going back, finding
words and concepts not fully understood, truly defining and
understanding them, and then RESTUDYING forward from the
point of confusion can repair a whole area of study a
student has abandoned. (If you want to know more about this,
or want some advice on study materials that will help with
this sort of problem, write me and I’ll make a
Bottom line, the student may need HELP LOCATING WHAT WAS NOT
UNDERSTOOD, rather than a tongue lashing (or cat o' nine
My son also had lied to me repeatedly, and frankly, had to
earn back my trust. He did this by helping out around the
house, doing great schoolwork, being productive and helpful
(without being propitiative, which is disgusting, I think)
and generally demonstrating trustworthiness. It took a
while, about 6 months, for him to win back my trust. I
didn't make it easy, I'm afraid.
Another thing we did was initiate POLICY TO MAKE CERTAIN
THIS NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN. For the year or more before this,
I largely trusted him to do his studies honestly. I wasn't
looking at many essays, etc. (I was pretty busy writing
Connect The Thoughts
, which is my lame excuse.) We created a policy where, once
a week, I reviewed all his weekly work. This took the
question out of "is he working"?
Trust is a dicey thing, under the best of circumstances.
When it comes to education, remember that YOUR CHILDREN HAVE
BEEN BETRAYED REPEATEDLY by rotten schools, boring and
erroneous curricula, inept teachers and tutors, newspapers
that lie, etc etc etc. We need to earn back our children's
trust and respect. They need to know that we are doing
everything we can to provide them an education they can USE,
something real and valuable. That's hard today, and when
you encounter a situation like this one, bear in mind that
trust goes both ways.
Hope this helps.
Connect The Thoughts