What to do when kids lie?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by tamilda, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. tamilda

    tamilda Rookie

    Jan 29, 2014
    Likes Received:

    Mar 11, 2014

    I teach middle school and have a good rapport with most but not all of my students. Something I noticed recently has been bothering me. When I come around to check homework, it is not uncommon for a student to show me last week's homework and try and pretend it is this week's homework.

    Now I'm not stupid so it's easy for me to figure this out with a closer look -- and I DO take a closer look, and then say something like "Oops, this is last week's homework. Did you do this week's?"

    The student would then go "Yessss ...." but will magically then be unable to find it. It is clear that they were trying to trick me into accepting last week's homework.

    This has happened with several students and each time they kind of giggle with their friends and do not act remorseful -- more like "darn it guys, I was caught." To each of them I've only said "It's one thing not to do your homework, but it's another thing to lie about it" and then just moved on.

    However the lying really bothers me. The hw isn't even that many points so it seems like they're lying just for the heck of it. It's disappointing and I don't like to see my students acting this way. How can I reinforce the importance of honesty and integrity in my classroom?
  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Aug 10, 2010
    Likes Received:

    Mar 11, 2014

    you can't. It makes no sense for a student to be honest when lying and cheating has no real consequence and many potential benefits.

    You can train them to do what needs to be done, however.

    The day after the next homework assignment give an unannounced homework quiz. Let them use their homework (and only theirs) on the quiz. Make them submit the homework with the quiz so they cannot share it with a later class.

    Or, assign one or two super simple questions with regular questions for the their homework. Something that would be impossible to get wrong like a vocab term if given the definition. Then, as you walk around the class checking homework, write down the answer they gave for that question ("400" or "noun"). When done, announce that they just had a one-question quiz. Students that submit last week's homework would have radically different answers and would get a zero.
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Aug 25, 2011
    Likes Received:

    Mar 11, 2014

    I had a problem with honesty. I can't grade all of my homework, though I do check it off. I have students put the total for each homework packet on the front. Predictably I had students attempt to lie about their total (they're really bad at lying too), and put more than they had on the front. I gave them a zero, no chance of turning it in for more points. No more lying about their totals.

    But middle schoolers will lie about anything given the chance. As 2nd said, unless there is a real consequence for it nothing can be done.

    One thing I do do if I have a good relationship with the student is to pull them aside, and tell them "You know, it really disappoints me when you lie to me right to my face. I have to second-guess everything you say from now on, and you're going to have to work hard to earn back that trust."

    It doesn't work on everyone and you need to use your discretion with it (I can't do it for more than one or two students a year), but it's something.

    I always operate under the assumption that if it will benefit the student they will lie about something or they will deface or steal stuff as soon as my back is turned, so I change my procedures as such to nip these things at the bud so they never get the opportunity, lock things away out of sight and out of reach, and contrary to what I've been told in my credential program and from multiple coaches, I DO NOT move around the room as much. If I stay in one place, where I have a good view, I can catch everything. When I move around I lose about 50% of my classroom awareness.

    When a student is honest and acts in a trustworthy way, I am pleasantly surprised and make sure to tell them I appreciate their honesty.
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Jun 14, 2013
    Likes Received:

    Mar 11, 2014

    Could you start having students write a big, bold date or page number in pen at the top of the page, that they are unable to change?
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

    Jul 14, 2006
    Likes Received:

    Mar 11, 2014

    Or can you take a highlighter and mark their homework as you check it so that it is obvious that it has already been turned in/checked?
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Jul 3, 2010
    Likes Received:

    Mar 12, 2014

    I am surprised that your school doesn't have a policy on this. I know ours has one. This behavior=1 day suspension. Principal decides whether it is in school or out of school. It is considered academic dishonesty.

    I can see a warning if done once, but repeated behavior of this without consequences sends the wrong message. If this is done in college, the consequences can be very severe.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. evewilsons22,
  2. indianautos87
Total: 380 (members: 4, guests: 358, robots: 18)