If you are a teacher of educator chances are likely you have caught a student cheating on their exam or even handing in essays that they did not write - either by asking a sibling, parent or friend to write the essay for them, or by hiring an essay writing service in a big name city like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Toronto or other city with lots of well-to-do students who can afford to pay hundreds of dollars for essays. These days such companies offer many services - including proofreading and editing and resume writing services - all with the goal of giving people an unfair advantage, both in school and in finding a job.
Cheating is becoming more and more ubiquitous in universities and colleges in cities like Toronto and New York. Students are becoming increasingly desensitized to what qualifies as cheating and what is acceptable behaviour for students under academic honesty. In this environment how can a teach attempt to keep cheating at bay? There are some sure fire technique that teachers can use to make sure that their students do not getting away with academic dishonesty.
Recent studies show that students consider alternative aids such as essay writing help, ghostwriting and cliff's notes are tools that students should be able to use as opposed to cheating aids like most universities and colleges see them. Many students cite lack of time or more pressing matters as reasons why they cannot finish their assignments through more traditional means so they seek alternative means to get the job done.
With this knowledge, most professor should be on the look out for cheating behaviour in their students. They must devise ways of finding cheaters in what could be a sea of over 300 students. Seems like a daunting task. So what exactly can professor do to catch the cheaters?
Conduct your class like it is a high stakes exam
If you have ever taken the LSAT or a competency exam you know what taking a high stakes exam is like. You are prohibited from any materials except for a writing utensil, an eraser, and some water. Things like scratch paper, electronic devices and digital watches are strictly not allowed. Why? Because these are all things that students can use to bring in information they can use on the test. Either written in small print or stored in a devices memory a student can easily call it up. Tell students to put away their papers and devices and you can eliminate the temptation to use them to get an upper hand.
Use technology to catch them at their own game
Plagiarism is a very pressing issue with today's students. Many students simply take essays from the internet or have another person write their essay for them. In the case of copying other people work, there are many different websites that will allow you to detect whether a document has been plagiarized by scanning them to see if they match something else online. There are some other websites that allow you to compare a students previous work to the work they handed in to see if they are similar.
Make your own materials to prevent them getting to them first
The last step is to ensure that you are not contributing to your students cheating. You are your best weapon against it after all. Make sure that your materials originate from you and that you keep them safe. If you are the generator of the materials and you keep them safe there really is no way that students can gain access to your materials.
Unfortunately, cheating is not going to go away. Students are always going to try to get the upper hand while doing the least amount of work. The best way to deal with it is to try to prevent it in the first place. Keep you materials close to you, use technology to help you get the advantage and keep the tools for cheating out of the students hands during test time. Following these rules can keep your class cheating free.
One of my favourite things to do to relax is to soak is a hot bath (sometimes with bubbles!) and read the news on my smartphone or tablet.
Or fool around on Facebook.
Or play a game on my phone.
Or sometimes, like right now, write a blog post from the bath tub.
Cause lets face it, the fact I have that option is just so amazingly awesome.
In the future it would be nice to lots more things - all from the cozy location of a hot bath. Or in a sauna. Or pool. Or jacuzzi.
Thanks to smartphones and tablets we have so much more options. We can do our online banking from the bathtub. Socialize with friends on Facebook. Post silly blog posts. Order a pizza online. Hire a maid off craigslist to clean my apartment. Call my landlord to complain about the hot water (So... Yeah... It is too hot. Could you make the water hot, but not too hot? Thanks!)
In fact I am struggling to think of things that cannot be done from my bathtub thanks to technology.
Eg. Pilot a space shuttle, but to be frank that is something most of us cannot do anyway because we are not astronauts. But I can fly a flight simulator on my phone and I have NOT crashed several times now.
You can probably think of other more silly things I cannot do from my bathtub (like go fishing and catch real fish) but I can probably order a fishing pole from Amazon, hire someone to fish for me, and have the fish delivered. So I refute your theory.
I do have to be careful about not dropping my phone or getting it wet. I am quite cautious about that aspect of my relaxing baths.
Another thing I love doing is turning the shower on - so I can have a bath and a shower at the same time. I find that very relaxing as the hot water massages my legs.
I find it strange that so many women (including black women) are adverse to exercising. What? You think you are going to look like a female bodybuilder just because you did a few push ups? Nonsense! Complete hokum!
I call it our feminist duty to stay fit so if the need ever arises we are in shape and able to meet the challenge.
Being deaf and of African descent can be very tricky - just on an identity level. Often people in such circumstances have always faced the identity issue of whether they are black first or deaf first - and which condition they find more troubling. Racism. Or the lack of understanding from hearing people.
The other issue is that not everyone who has hearing difficulties is actually deaf. Some may simply have trouble hearing and have been that way since birth - or perhaps they worked in a workplace that had inadequate ear protection.
Which means they could get a hearing aid - for which there are many fashionable hearing aids out there available now. All they need is a hearing test at their local hearing clinic, eg. The Omni Hearing Clinic in Vaughan, or your local hearing centre that sells hearing aids, has an audiologist and presumably does hearing tests. In which case such people who are partially deaf or even mostly deaf could have some semblance of a normal life.
But if a hearing aid won't help, and hearing loss is complete / catastrophic - or you were born deaf, then you really don't have much option but to start learning American Sign Language, hanging out with other people who are "signers", and living out your life as you see fit.
From my perspective, being black / of African descent is really just incidental. Being deaf or having hearing damage, that is a much bigger worry when it comes to living your life, finding work, dealing with discrimination, etc.
The beauty of it however is that there many things people with hearing damage / deafness can still do. You can see examples further below of famous black deaf people who were very successful in their chosen careers.
Below is a collection of resources that are available for deaf people of African descent.
Deaf African-American Organizations
The first and best resource is the organization National Black Deaf Advocates. The NBDA holds annual conferences and has chapters nationwide. Another organization, the National Alliance of Black Interpreters, is for African-American interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Books on Deaf African Americans
A few books have been written about being deaf and African American:
One book is Sounds Like Home, a book by a black deaf woman about growing up black and deaf in the South.
Together with Linwood Smith, Ernest Hairston wrote the book Black and Deaf in America (ISBN 0932666183).
Another book, which I have not read, is Deaf, Dumb and Black: An Account of the Life of a Family, by Mary Miller-Hall, published by Carlton Press Corp. in 1994.
There is also a poem, "Journey of a Black, Deaf Woman", by Deborah Broadus.
I said, "I'm Black and Beautiful."
"They" said, "You're Deaf!"
Thus effectively restricting me, isolating me
Outside their silent voiced boundaries.
I withdrew, camouflaged,
A self-designed mantle of invisibility.
Wounded, rejected, I in turn rejected; not to wither,
But to shelter and protect that which was fragile.
I fought my way though the silent pandemonium of "their" voices;
On a quiet quest;
To reunite my fragmented self, splintered by
Voiceless opinions spoken with harsh eyes.
My goal: a whole soul, indivisible.
Whole and strong, unwounded by "their" disdainful ignorance.
I grew without the irrigation/irritation of "their" loud, voiceless disapproval.
They beheld as I grew; face to the sun.
Battling constantly not to shatter and become this image "they" assigned to me.
That broken by misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
Lost in the lexis written on pages in books contained by binders,
I understood the unspoken, thus became that which I strove to attain.
I found myself within these expressions.
Words; visible, vain, terminology helped to heal the shattered image.
No longer invisible, I stand Black and Deaf;
And "they?" Now "they" say,
"You're Black and Beautiful!"
Notable Deaf African Americans
Deaf African-American AthletesCurtis Pride was a deaf African-American baseball player. Kenny Walker was a professional deaf football player. Deaf African-American Entertainers C.J. Jones is a deaf male African-American performer; Michelle Banks is a deaf female African-American performer. Deaf African American Writers Connie Briscoe, former managing editor of American Annals of the Deaf, writes novels. Lindsay Dunn is a deaf African-American speaker and writer. Other Deaf African Americans Claudia Gordon is an accomplished deaf African-American lawyer.
Historic Deaf African Americans
One well-known deaf African American in history is Andrew Foster.
Research On Deaf African Americans
Some articles and doctoral theses have been published about deaf African Americans.
The Gallaudet University library in Washington, DC has a thesis on file, "A resilience model for transition of African American deaf and hard of hearing students through four-year post-secondary programs," by Carolyn Estelle Williamson (2003). Another thesis also on file at Gallaudet University library is "Gender, racial, and deaf identity development and self-esteem in Black, deaf women" by Monica Annette Robb (2002).
The March 1998 (volume 143, issue no. 1) issue of American Annals of the Deaf had an article on black deaf teenagers, "The association between raceless and achievement among African American deaf students."
Cambridge Press published the book Cultural and Language Diversity and the Deaf Experience, which includes the article "In Search of Self: Experiences of a Post-Lingually Deaf African-American," by Dianne K. Brooks.
Teachers and parents of deaf African-American children may want to check out the archived Deaf and African American Children article on DeafEd.net. It discusses ethnicity, educational, communication, and cultural needs. There is also a book, Black Deaf Students: A Model for Educational Success, that is based on interviews with nine academically successful deaf African Americans.
Rare Deaf African American Materials
Gallaudet University library also has some rare deaf African American materials that can not be taken out of the library, such as the book The Mississippi School for Negro Deaf, 1950-1951. There are also clippings in the University Archives of articles about deaf African Americans.
Video Material on Deaf-African Americans
Gallaudet University library also has a video library, which contains the following sample video materials about deafness and African Americans:
Black ASL: The Socio-historical Foundations by Drs. Carolyn McCaskill and Ceil Lucas. This is a signed only video presentation from 2008 about a black dialect of American Sign Language, Black ASL.
Archived editions of Deaf Mosaic online at Gallaudet University also had segments on deaf African Americans. Research of the Deaf Mosaic video library turned up these segments on deaf African Americans:
Deaf Mosaic #611 had a segment on "I Didn't Hear That Color," a play about deaf African-American culture.
Deaf Mosaic #404 had a segment on Andrew Foster, who had recently died.
Deaf Mosaic#112 had a segment on Earnest Hairston.
Deaf Mosaic #202 had a segment on the late Linwood Smith, Jr.