Borrowed Intellectualism

Filly was exasperated by what to do! Borrowed intellectualism was at an all-time high, especially within her British Survey classes. A test of her authority over her students. Who would win?

When I left for China, I had been warned by several entities that cheating was large and in charge in the PRC. The reason for that being that it wasn’t viewed as stealing other’s work as building upon other’s work. Turning in an essay copied verbatim from a text is considered scholarship in a Chinese University.

Why is this? Possibly that China’s universities are corrupt. Teachers’ salaries are dismally low and many of them never get paid, but the top officials with Party connections travel to Japan regularly, drive a fat car and have lunch with politicians all the time. Guanxi (the art of cultivating relationships) is so pervasive in China that corruption is a given.

I had two British History Survey classes. These were the prize students of the English department. One class was the A/B learners and the other was the B/C learners. After one of my first tests, I realized that just changing the location of the answers on the test and re-arranging or re-wording questions was enough.

But I was TEACHER. I knew I could outwit the cheating and have them learn something in the process. So I came up with one large test covering the entire material from which I split off the questions I wanted each class to answer.

Knowing that test day was coming, I began to hear whining from my students. Such whining…Chinese students are really no different than American ones when it comes to the fundamentals of actually studying.

Miss Pauline, Miss Pauline.


Please don’t give us the test?

But I’m required to give you the test.

But if we get bad grades, we will not receive rice tickets.


Yes, and if we do not get rice tickets, we cannot eat and our stomachs will growl and we will be unable to concentrate because of them and their growling…

Uh huh, ok.

Yes, and if we can’t concentrate, we will get MORE bad grades once again, no rice tickets and we will go hungry, AGAIN –

I see. Unfortunately, you will be having a test. So if you wish to get rice tickets, I suggest you study the materials we went over in class.

Miss Pauline, Miss Pauline…you are so cruel and heartless. You must give us the same test as the A/B class.

Well, they did study and they took the test and it wasn’t as hard as they made it out to be. They all did great on the test and received their rice tickets so their stomachs didn’t growl and they could concentrate on their studies for the next exam.

Filly saw that students who put their minds to something, will win the prize every time.

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