Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I think I'm just Going to Triple Down on the Cheating...

Cheating in Korean Universities

This incident happened a couple months ago at the beginning of the semester, but it's been in the back of my mind since then and I'm reminded of it every single time I see this girl in my writing class.

Here's what happened:

Students had to write an essay for their first homework. A couple students cheated by copying from the Internet--it was very easy to catch them using an advanced Google search for exact phrases.

This specific girl submitted an essay that was better than the stuff you find on the Internet or even that you'd pay someone to write for you. It was like something a professional journalist had done, but I couldn't find it on the Internet. I can't even emphasize how good it was-like itwas three times better than any essay ever submitted to me during 8 years teaching in Korean universities.

I compared her essay to the little "get to know me" essay she'd done in class on the first day (the ultimate way to catch cheaters, btw!) and they were worlds apart. Like she's an okay writer but had basic spelling mistakes, overused vocabulary, no structure and quite simple grammatical constructions. In short, the 2 essays were nothing alike.

I gave her no score on her paper and asked her to come talk to me after class. I said that I knew she didn't write it, but I had no proof because I couldn't find it on the Internet. She doubles down and tells me she stayed up all night working on it. I asked if she had a native English speaker proofread it and she said no, that she did it all by herself, which made it all the more unbelievable.

She starts crying. I tell her that I'm going to wait until she does her in-class essay for the midterm exam and make a decision then.

Midterm exams come. Her essay is average--she got a "B-." It was obvious that she didn't write the homework essay. I give her a zero and she again tells me that she really did write it. I tell her I'm not changing my mind, but Teacher X and Teacher Y from USA and Australia (the other teachers in my department) could read all her stuff, give me their opinions and I would follow it. She declines.

Now, this is where it gets even crazier. The next class, she triples down and hands me a note. I was expecting something like, "Teacher, I'm sorry that I lied. Please forgive me." Instead, it basically says that she's not a liar and she doesn't want me to think badly of her.

How would you have handled it? Have you ever had a student triple down like this?

Despite stuff like this, working at a Korean uni is a pretty sweet job. Here's how to get it: How to Get a University Job in South Korea


Unknown said...

I think you did the right thing. I'm in China and there is a whole industry of people writing essays for students. You can get different essays written for different subjects everywhere. I can only assume such an industry exists in South Korea and this student is desperate to get a good grade.
I've been asked to work at one of these companies, for decent money, and I knocked it back. I'm happy to help students but not write whole essays for students that don't give a shit.

Surprises Aplenty said...

I suggest using specific sentences on Daum and Naver search engines. You've been in Korea for a while, so perhaps you did this but simplified your post so foreigners would understand it. Anyway, those search engines work on local sites that Google doesn't. It has worked for me in the past.

What you've really done is remind me to make my essay requirements very personal or local so finding an online essay that fits would be challenging.

piglet said...

What I have done in similar situations is to simply read phrases and vocabulary to the student and ask her what they mean.Very quickly it becomes apparent that she doesn't know the vocabulary and has copied it from somewhere.You are doing the right thing.Don't back down! By the way how does one get a job in a Korean Uni? I tried very hard and never got anything.(I am from the UK,have MA,TEFL certification and over 30 years of teaching experience).
All the best and keep on blogging.

Jackie Bolen said...

Thanks for the support everyone. I appreciate it. I did use Naver, but couldn't find anything.

Piglet...I wrote a book about that very topic. I think you'll find it really useful.

piglet said...

Oops sorry I see you have written a whole book on getting a Uni job! Thanks.. will look into it.

Jackie Bolen said... didn't work out. Search on Amazon for "How to Get a University Job in South Korea"