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Posts Tagged ‘ promise ’

“I do solemnly swear:

“That I, the undersigned, [name and surname]:
________________________________________

Shall not even for a moment look at my classmates’ exams. I shall not copy in any way. If I am caught copying, I agree that my examination paper be confiscated, that I will fail the exam, and that school authorities be informed of my inappropriate conduct.”

Signature: ______________________________________________________________”

This is one of the versions of the oath my students at GEA College had to sign before taking the written part of the exam.

The result of my mini-experiment? Signing the oath actually worked! For at least 20 minutes there wasn’t even a slightest attempt at copying in the classroom.

When I didn’t use the oath, commotion in the classroom quickly started. Of course, students didn’t dare copy in my classes, because I gave a serious warning to every student I would catch copying. Students only copy if they see that they can pull it off, if they see that the teacher is reading a newspaper and has turned a blind eye to them. But when they see that you’re serious, that you mean business, they never even try to cheat.

What can we learn from my mini-experiment? If we want to make people to do something or prevent them from doing something, the chances of achieving this are better if they make a promise in writing. The chance of someone keeping a promise is increased if the promise is given publicly, actively and voluntarily. In my case, by having students sign the oath, I made them promise something actively. The promise was in a way public, because they all had to do it and because we always mentioned the oath at the beginning. The students signed the oath almost voluntarily ( 🙂 ); otherwise, they could have simply walked away.

It’s interesting what a single signature below some writing can do, isn’t it?