Fake it ’til you make it


Sophia Hennessy

Many students use cell phone group chats in place of regular group study tables. This can sometimes lead to cheating.

Picture this: It’s 6 a.m. on a Monday morning and you are waking up to the sound of your alarm telling you it’s time to get ready for school. After hitting the snooze button a few times, you finally give in and begin your morning routine by swiping through your notifications from the night before. 

You almost do a double-take, though, when you come across a reminder telling you that you have a homework assignment due today for your AP History class. Filled with angst, you frantically text your class group chat to see if anyone else is in your boat, hoping that you aren’t alone. 

To your relief, one of your peers responds with a detailed explanation of the assignment–perhaps a little too detailed–and provides you with all of the answers you need to finish the assignment in time for class. 

With the rigorous workload and plethora of classes many students take in high school, a good deal of students rely on course-specific group chats to complete their assignments. 

A few teachers, namely CCP Composition and British Literature teacher Courtney Breon, are beginning to wonder whether these text threads are really helping students learn, or providing them with an easy way out. 

“For starters, I think that group chats can take away from the academic element of the class because they often result in unrelated discussion and false information. I can’t even tell you how many times one of my students has walked into my room at the beginning of class going on about how they heard that they had some assignment due and they were wrong,” Breon said. 

Breon says the best way to find out what you missed in class is to contact the teacher, which is why she feels group chats can promote laziness and students trying to get out of everyday situations instead of dealing with them head-on.  

Her opinion of in-person study groups, however, differs greatly from that of class group chats.

“I feel much better about students getting together and studying as a group. It honestly makes me glad to know that my kids truly care about learning the material, and they often have a lot of success after doing so,” Breon said. 

She did a lot of study groups in college and is fully in support of them as long as everyone is using each other’s intelligence to learn together.

Other teachers share Breon’s opinion, but a few of them feel that group chats can still serve an important purpose. 

History teacher Ben Hughes believes group chats can be very valuable for students depending on the class, level of rigor, and type of assignment.  

“That being said, they can also be detrimental when some students do not contribute, but rather rely on others to complete the assignment for him/her. In-person study groups and assigned group projects are very similar,” Hughes said.

Hughes goes on to express that they can be successful if all the students work together and pull their weight, or they can be a failure if only some students are doing all of the work.

Senior Kylee Clapper agrees with  Hughes, feeling group chats are an adequate way to put technology to good use. 

“We live in a very technological world, and instead of complaining that it is hurting students, I think we should utilize it to our advantage,” Clapper said.“ The primary purpose of group chats for me is to make sure I am on the right track with my assignments and to know that I have other people in my same situation.”

Clapper believes that students often result to cheating because they don’t feel like wasting their effort on activities they do not enjoy. 

“I work hard on my schoolwork because I care a lot about my grades. But I have so many other things that I am passionate about, that sometimes it can be difficult to give it my all on smaller homework assignments. There’s this negative connotation that circulates around cheating, but I think that there are certain times when getting the grade needs to take the backseat.”