We’re tested every day in real life. Every one of us. Many are personal tests, tests of character, life tests. Others are professional, problems to solve and solutions to create, or tests of skills that we need to apply at any given moment. Few of any of these are planned or scripted. Few are “announced” a week ahead of time.
And importantly, rarely are we asked to pass these tests by ourselves. In almost every case, we reach out to friends or colleagues to ask questions and mine their tacit knowledge. We search our physical and virtual networks, and we use that knowledge to help us learn or fix or create or invent. Hardly ever are we forced to totally go it alone.
Yet, the kids in our schools are almost always asked to go it alone when it’s time for a test. Accessing their networks for information, or connecting with their peers or teachers in the room or on the phone, is strictly prohibited. “That would be cheating!” we say in schools.
If true, then we’re all cheaters in our real lives, aren’t we?
Now that we are working so hard to give kids access to all these tools and networks, why wouldn’t we encourage them to cheat? Teach them to cheat, even. Why wouldn’t we be more interested in whether or not they can use their access to pass the test, rather than just passing the test on their own?
Doesn’t make much sense, does it?