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To think it's ok for a teacher to tell my son that he could have done better?

(69 Posts)
crazygracieuk Thu 06-Oct-11 12:48:47

My son is 10 (Year 6) and doing well (level 5s etc..)

Last Friday he had homework where he had to find out 10 facts about the Alps and the teacher included some ideas of what to research.

Ds googled and then proceeded to copy and paste 10 sentences off the Internet. They were almost all very technical so incomprehensible to ds and me.

I told ds that I thought that he should have 10 facts that he can explain in his own words and that copy and pasting information that he doesn't understand is pointless.

I did not make him correct his homework as I honestly thought that his teacher would tell him that it was pretty poor but teacher ticked his work and wrote "Good Work " at the bottom!!!

Aibu to think that this is pretty poor form? Or is this typical in schools these days?

biddysmama Thu 06-Oct-11 12:55:33

yanbu, my 9 year old had to choose one of henry 8ths wives and write some facts about her, i made him look up anything he didnt understand, whats the point in homework if he didnt actually learn anything because he didnt understand it?

DeWe Thu 06-Oct-11 13:01:14

I agree.
I had the same issue last year with dd1 (in year 5) doing a project. I looked at one page and it was so obviously plagerised straight from internet/book because it wasn't her style of writing at all. I think she'd altered some words so she felt it was her own work. She could understand it.
I cannot believe it wasn't obvious to the teacher, but she got a good response on how good her project was.

For future reference they should be talking to them about taking stuff from the internet and explaining how to rewrite in their own words.

sandyballs Thu 06-Oct-11 13:05:36

I get this all the time with one of my 10 year olds, as they have differentt teachers. DD does the absolute bare minimum required and gets two team points, the other DD puts her heart and soul into it and gets no comment.
So unfair.

jeee Thu 06-Oct-11 13:08:18

My two eldest (9 and 10) have both found that cut and paste jobs get higher marks than carefully written, hand-illustrated work.

crazygracieuk Thu 06-Oct-11 13:14:21


Do you supervise your children's homework to ensure that it's not a cut and paste job?

jeee Thu 06-Oct-11 13:16:53

It's obvious, isn't it. I mean, it's a complete give away when the second paragraph begins: "As I said in my key note lecture at Harvard in 1983...."*

* One of DH's students handed in an essay containing this.

MissPenteuth Thu 06-Oct-11 13:27:51

I'm possibly way off the mark as I don't have school-age DCs and it's a good while since I was at school myself, but if the homework was to find out 10 facts, that's just gathering information, surely? He looked online, found the facts, presented the homework. It wasn't even "learn 10 facts about the Alps"; maybe the point was to demonstrate that he could accurately locate the requested information?

If he'd been asked to write an essay on the Alps and had C&P'd the whole thing I'd agree that that's not on, but finding facts is just that, and he found them.

aldiwhore Thu 06-Oct-11 13:35:19

I think that its very hard sometimes for a teacher to know exactly what is pinched off the net and what is a great piece of independant work.

Would it be any different if your son had gone to the library and copied a few facts from encyclopedias?

If it was to be his own work, and you KNEW he'd copied it, then you should have stepped in, I know he's 10, but you can still guide him and MAKE him put the effort in.

If it was purely a research task, then he's done nothing wrong, he's done his homework, and handed it in on time so maybe the 'good work' comment could have been from simply meeting the criteria of the set task?

I think I would LOVE a teacher who put "Good work, can you explain it to me please?" or "Good work, the internet is a marvelous place"...

You accepted that your son copied and didn't pull him up on it, the teacher probably knows the same but its not important to the task.

weblette Thu 06-Oct-11 13:43:04

Oh how I agree with you.
I have actually made my older two rewrite things they've C&Ped - correcting US spellings for a start hmm and making sure they actually understand what they're supposed to be submitting!
DS1 does now have a teacher who will query work that's too 'polished' and jargon-filled, hooray!

StellaNova Thu 06-Oct-11 14:19:46

"Would it be any different if your son had gone to the library and copied a few facts from encyclopedias?"

I think it would because in the act of writing possibly at least some of the information would go in, and you could decide whether or not it made sense. Copying and pasting on the other hand requires nothing but reading the first bit and the last bit, highlighting and pressing some buttons.

I did some work with young people on writing magazine columns and they would cut and paste stuff without reading it. You might as well be a search engine spider or something.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 06-Oct-11 14:23:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IloveJudgeJudy Thu 06-Oct-11 14:30:13

It's not difficult to find out if anything has been plagiarised from the net. You just put in a phrase and it will find the essay or whatever the text has been lifted from.

Agree with BTP she should mins.

mumsamilitant Thu 06-Oct-11 14:33:39

I have a DS of 13, I used to poke my nose in help my son with homework but it caused all manner of friction. So now just check that what should be done is done and tick it off in his planner. The contents of which I have no idea! It's up to the teacher to assess, whether its a cut and paste job or not.

LaWeasel Thu 06-Oct-11 14:35:51

I must be a massive meanie, but I think I'd dob my child in to their teacher if they'd done this, so they got a good telling off and didn't do it again when they are older and it matters.

She is only 2.5 though, so maybe I'll feel differently by then.

wantadvice Thu 06-Oct-11 14:36:23

I have always refused to mark work clearly cut and pasted. As I say to the kids what's the point of me markign some random person's work from the web. I also say the same when it's obviously their parents work.

catwithflowers Thu 06-Oct-11 14:36:58

DS says "MrsX doesn't mind"
I say "Well, she should. And I do. Do it again"

BeerTricksPotter, you could be me grin

crazygracieuk Thu 06-Oct-11 14:37:37

Thanks for your replies -- and for agreeing with me--

It was obviously a cut and paste job as it was difficult for me (as an adult) to understand what on earth he'd written.

It was technically handed in on time and included 10 "facts" but I would have thought that he should be able to understand the facts?

I might ask the teacher to recommend suitable websites next time she gives a research task. I'd hazard a guess that Ds used the first website(s) that Google suggests like Wikipedia rather than try and find an easy to understand one.

I was hoping to leave him to do his own homework now that he's almost at secondary school but I guess I need to make sure he tries his best rather than hand any old nonsense in.

KatAndKit Thu 06-Oct-11 14:40:15

Any 10 facts type task is generally just setting homework for the sake of it and is a bit of a waste of time anyway, unless you enjoy marking 30 lots of the same page of wikipedia. I think the teacher is more at fault for setting such a crap task.

MatchsticksForMyEyes Thu 06-Oct-11 14:41:43

Have to be careful with the internet as a teacher. I had a Y8 pupil hand in some homework ( French) that had obviously been done on google translate as not even GCSE students would have conjugated some of the verbs used correctly.
I wrote " Your online translator completed your homework very well!" and had a parental complaint as a result.

Salmotrutta Thu 06-Oct-11 14:44:24

It's certainly something I've had "words" about with pupils (secondary). I warn them about plagiarism and sometimes I type a suspicious bit of text into a search engine (not ideal but I don't have Turnitin software) to find a webpage that's been cut and pasted.
I always make it clear that cut and paste is not their own work and they will be marked down as a consequence.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Thu 06-Oct-11 14:45:38

YANBU, hawever MissPenteuth is right too. If the HW is to find 10 facts, then he's fulfilled the brief.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Thu 06-Oct-11 14:47:06

Kat ds has had similar HW in the past - the teacher sets it as prep for work they'll do in class so it isn't a waste of time imo.

KatAndKit Thu 06-Oct-11 14:49:09

It would be better if they had 10 specific questions to find out the answer to and explain in their own words. Then they would have to put more thought into it rather than just google, cut, paste. And writing out the answers on the sheet with the questions might make some of the information enter the brain.

MothInMyKecks Thu 06-Oct-11 14:50:02

YANBU at all.
I once wrote in a pupils workbook that I thought the standard of their homework was disappointing and that they should have not resorted to Google translator to complete it. A parent actually wrote back in the margin stating "Prove it". I didn't have to. This particular language is notorious for coming out as batshit if it's run through any translator.
YANBU - it's pleasant to come across a realistic parent smile

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