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Southpaw
09-21-2010, 07:21 PM
So, when was this golden age of perfect students who worked hard and had no self-esteem?

The Summer of 1871. It snowed twice.

Anita18
09-21-2010, 07:32 PM
I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's that self-esteem movement coming home to roost. These kids are awesome and deserve every little thing they want just because! Just for being their own unique selves! And anybody who doesn't recognize how awesome they are is stupid. Or old. Or both.
Is it truly that global, though? The students I mentioned are mainly from China, where education is obviously first priority and often dictates their entire self-worth. BUT they're not used to being original and creative, which is more of a Western focus. Education there (and even in Taiwan where my parents are from) is mostly based on rote memorization, and I can see how moving here, where you're expected to turn out original work, could be a culture shock.

Still, I'm sure they could be creative if forced to. :lol:


So, when was this golden age of perfect students who worked hard and had no self-esteem?
I'm pretty sure stuff like plagiarism happened all the time, but it's just infinitely easier now with the Internet. And I guess with the media only touting people's runaway successes, maybe it's a given that EVERYONE should be successful in the same way?


Interesting article about the general decline in math skills in students entering university, including something I hadn't thought about....how the financial meltdown might be partly due to people not being able to accurately calculate how much a mortgage would really cost them.

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/big-drop-in-math-skills-of-entering-students.aspx
Well, considering all the calculator programs out there, there's really no need for people to be good at math. However, it still has to occur to people to open up Excel and punch in some numbers. I don't think even my math-oriented parents would calculate a mortgage in their heads.

That and if their bankers handily assured them that the market would always go up and they could always refinance, having a knowledge of basic math wouldn't help them.

genevieve
09-21-2010, 07:46 PM
I'm pretty sure stuff like plagiarism happened all the time, but it's just infinitely easier now with the Internet.
OTOH, it's also a lot easier to discover plagiarism, innit? I imagine a lot of students who plagiarized in Ye Olde Days got away with it if they were able to use less popular or more obscure source material.


That and if their bankers handily assured them that the market would always go up and they could always refinance, having a knowledge of basic math wouldn't help them.
I think having a basic handle on math or how mortgages work would help people understand when bankers are selling them something that's not in their interest.

When I bought my co-op, I almost went for a 5-year ARM. I was looking for any way to save $$/maximize my cash flow. I thought at the time that I would not be in my unit for 5 years - I figured 3 years, tops - so why not? I used a simple online mortgage calculator and realized that the difference in my monthly payment would be less than $20 saved, so I figured why chance it and went for a traditional 30 year mortgage. 7 years later I'm still in the same place :shuffle: and sooooooooooooo grateful my mortgage did not switch to market rates 2 years ago.

Prancer
09-21-2010, 07:54 PM
I'm pretty sure stuff like plagiarism happened all the time, but it's just infinitely easier now with the Internet.

But it's also infinitely easier to catch them if they are foolish enough to plagiarize from the internet.

As I always tell my students, if it takes them five minutes to find something on Google and copy and paste it, it takes me a split second to track it down. Dead easy.

The smart ones do exactly what people did in the stone ages and use someone else's paper. It's getting harder to get away with that, too, as colleges build up databases with Turnitin, but it's much harder to catch someone who turns in a paper that is in every way fine except that the student submitting it didn't write it than it is to catch a student who copies something off the internet. Unpublished theses and dissertations kept in the library are the worst.

Plagiarism is viewed differently in other cultures than it is in the West. Chinese students come into classes with a completely different view of plagiarism to start with, so not only is the originality requirement a shock, the fact that it is wrong to copy perfectly good work and re-invent the wheel is a shock, too.

Anita18
09-21-2010, 07:55 PM
OTOH, it's also a lot easier to discover plagiarism, innit? I imagine a lot of students who plagiarized in Ye Olde Days got away with it if they were able to use less popular or more obscure source material.
True. I guess what I mean is that when everything is digitized, including scientific papers, it's easier to lift than if you were forced to retype all of that stuff yourself from a hard copy. :lol: I don't think that'd show up on Turnitin.com, but people familiar with published work in the field would no doubt recognize the plagiarism if they saw it. Of course, as Prancer mentioned, unpublished theses I guess are still fair game. :lol:


I think having a basic handle on math or how mortgages work would help people understand when bankers are selling them something that's not in their interest.

When I bought my co-op, I almost went for a 5-year ARM. I was looking for any way to save $$/maximize my cash flow. I thought at the time that I would not be in my unit for 5 years - I figured 3 years, tops - so why not? I used a simple online mortgage calculator and realized that the difference in my monthly payment would be less than $20 saved, so I figured why chance it and went for a traditional 30 year mortgage. 7 years later I'm still in the same place :shuffle: and sooooooooooooo grateful my mortgage did not switch to market rates 2 years ago.
Who knows, my parents went for a short-term ARM on their current house and my dad's freaking out about the refinancing and I was like, "...why did you do a short-term ARM? I thought you were good at math!" :shuffle:

genevieve
09-21-2010, 08:25 PM
Well, there are always going to be folks who think the risk is worth it - if you get an ARM during a time of high interest rates, it could be a very good choice if the rates have fallen when your ARM is up. And there are always going to be people with the skillz and inclination to use whatever financial tools are out there to come out ahead (I am currently paying off a substantial condo assessment through a series of short-term 0% CC offers, which is saving me big money but requires some vigilance on my part - and of course I am taking a risk that these offers will cease to cross my path).... but I think the ARM refi freakout is more common than not. And similar to the sticker shock for college students when the reality of their student loans kicks in.

GarrAarghHrumph
09-21-2010, 08:30 PM
Students still do try the "wicked old/obscure reference" thing re: plagiarism. The use of faked references is often an indicator of plagiarism. I caught one last year. Whenever I catch someone, I open with a leading question...

Me: "Did you use this reference?"

Student: "Yup".

Me: "Really?"

Student: "Yup."

Me: "Read it yourself and everything?"

Student: "Yup"

Me: (with raised brow) "In Japanese...?"

Prancer
09-21-2010, 08:37 PM
I don't think that'd show up on Turnitin.com, but people familiar with published work in the field would no doubt recognize the plagiarism if they saw it.

I am more likely to catch students because of language use than anything else--not surprising, I'm sure :lol:. Students who plagiarize usually can't write very well, so when they submit papers that are written well, the radar starts beeping. This is, unfortunately, especially true for non-native speakers, who simply do not write English like native speakers. Perfect but tortured prepositional phrases and compound-complex sentence stuctures, both so common in scientific and academic writing? I start looking around for the original source.

Another way I catch students is that for most (not all) research projects, I have conferences with the students and ask lots of questions about their topics. I don't do this to catch plagiarists, but rather to help students identify gaps in their papers, but I am amazed at how many students don't actually READ plagiarized projects before submitting them. All of the potential plagiarists out there should take note--I catch at least as many students because they can't tell me what their projects are about as I do with Google.

Turnitin scans only the open internet and not subscriber databases, but it also goes through its own massive databases and schools can make their own databases of papers from their own institutions. Between those things, a lot of plagiarists get caught even if they are using subscriber-only originals, because someone else has quoted the source.


Of course, as Prancer mentioned, unpublished theses I guess are still fair game. :lol:

Argh! The worst! Fortunately, most students don't realize that they are there, but some do and every now and then, I have to go grubbing through the dusty stacks looking for fingerprints on the shelves.

Anita18
09-21-2010, 10:47 PM
Another way I catch students is that for most (not all) research projects, I have conferences with the students and ask lots of questions about their topics. I don't do this to catch plagiarists, but rather to help students identify gaps in their papers, but I am amazed at how many students don't actually READ plagiarized projects before submitting them. All of the potential plagiarists out there should take note--I catch at least as many students because they can't tell me what their projects are about as I do with Google.
Well that's just stupid. :lol:

Clytie
09-21-2010, 11:30 PM
Even in the grad school I work in, many students don't understand the concept of plagiarism and think that copying and pasting stuff from different sources into their papers should net them A's.

Actually here in Ontario some of TIIC are toying with the idea of allowing elementary and highschool students to plagiarise to a certain extent. As I mentioned earlier, according to them school is not the real world.

Regarding math I think most of our students are improving but alot of current mathematical teaching is focusing on problem solving and not rote learining. I personally feel the biggest problem with overspending and people's out of control debt load is our idea that we will have more money later and then pay it off. No one wants to go through short-term pain for long-term gain. Its the same with some parents I see who just give in rather than risk an argument. The way some students talk to their parents shocks me. And no not all students are like that. But they do seem to be the ones who want a high-end career but not the work that goes into it.

I've had associates in highschool tell me how ticked off their students are that its always the 'Chinese' kids getting into medical school. The just tune out when you try to explain to them those are kids busting their butts to get straight A+. I guess I got off topic so I'll stop. I can feel a rant coming on :P

jlai
09-22-2010, 12:43 AM
BUT they're not used to being original and creative, which is more of a Western focus. Education there (and even in Taiwan where my parents are from) is mostly based on rote memorization, and I can see how moving here, where you're expected to turn out original work, could be a culture shock.

Still, I'm sure they could be creative if forced to. :lol:


I've heard this US-creative vs. Chinese-rote stereotype so many times. IMHO that is grossly exaggerated.

I think there're many "rote learners" in US too but the "rote learning" manifests itself in a different way. In China they tend to follow what the teacher or the book says. And they work very hard.

American students question authorities more (Sometimes they question authorities for the sake of it. ) But I haven't seen anything in an average student that suggests better creative thinking. :) Part of that is that many American students just do enough in public schools to get by, so there's no need to be particularly creative or analytical to ace the course.

I see a lot of "thinking inside the box" in the American system too. Perhaps a lack of exposure to a foreign culture might have sth to do with it.

One difference I do see is that Americans are very opinionated, and sometimes they form opininos before they have all the facts. :) On the other hand, Chinese students tend not to speak up.

Of course, I can't speak for every Chinese and every American student but just from experience.

jeffisjeff
09-22-2010, 01:11 AM
Actually here in Ontario some of TIIC are toying with the idea of allowing elementary and highschool students to plagiarise to a certain extent.

:wideeyes:

PDilemma
09-22-2010, 01:17 AM
My favorite plagiarism story ever:

I was reading a book review of John G Neidhardt's Black Elk Speaks (kid chose the book not me) and came across this phrase:

"As a Native American woman..."

The "author" was a white teenage boy.

Anita18
09-22-2010, 01:18 AM
I've heard this US-creative vs. Chinese-rote stereotype so many times. IMHO that is grossly exaggerated.

I think there're many "rote learners" in US too but the "rote learning" manifests itself in a different way. In China they tend to follow what the teacher or the book says. And they work very hard.

American students question authorities more (Sometimes they question authorities for the sake of it. ) But I haven't seen anything in an average student that suggests better creative thinking. :) Part of that is that many American students just do enough in public schools to get by, so there's no need to be particularly creative or analytical to ace the course.

I see a lot of "thinking inside the box" in the American system too. Perhaps a lack of exposure to a foreign culture might have sth to do with it.

One difference I do see is that Americans are very opinionated, and sometimes they form opininos before they have all the facts. :) On the other hand, Chinese students tend not to speak up.

Of course, I can't speak for every Chinese and every American student but just from experience.
I mean at least there's more emphasis on original work. Not that there was much of it in HS (nor was it very good :lol: ), but we still had to do it.

My parents, who are from Taiwan, especially noted this difference themselves. They said we were lucky that we could be creative and show our individuality AND be lauded for it. When they were in school in Taiwan (and it could be different now, I don't know, although from the :yikes: articles about South Korean academics, it's still the same over there), all you had were your test scores. If you didn't score well on one test at the end of secondary school, it meant you couldn't get into a good university, and thus not get a good job. You were screwed for life.

Whereas at least in the US, many universities ask you submit a personal statement so the admissions committee could consider your life experiences and individual circumstances and personality. You aren't just a test score.

Actually, I did read an LA Times article this year about how Chinese secondary schools were rethinking their test-score-centric philosophy in order to get more of their students into Harvard. (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/04/world/la-fg-china-college-20100605) :lol:

jlai
09-22-2010, 03:42 AM
I mean at least there's more emphasis on original work. Not that there was much of it in HS (nor was it very good :lol: ), but we still had to do it.

You aren't just a test score.

There is a difference in the eval systems but that is not proof of lack of creativity in students. It's only proof of people having fewer second chances in life over there.

I think we are probably talking about different things. You are talking about different ways of evaluating students; I'm actually talking about how well students are thinking outside the box. And re: the latter, I don't see Americans being better than students from other nations at all.

And I'm speaking as someone who grew up in a one-test-takes-all system. Really, sometimes I really do think the American students are less willing to think outside the box than I do, hence my remarks.

eta: And I come to think that "creative" people in restrictive education systems merely channel their creativty in other ways.

ETA: I also think that the American system, being so Americancentric as it is, might not have exposed students to different ideas that may spark more "different" thinking. JMHO.