Hats Off To This Teacher For Asking Her Students To Make “Anti-Cheating Hats” For Exam Season

Most of us can look back on our school days with some form of nostalgia. Whether it be your favorite teacher, your funny classmate, or the fact that your knees didn’t crack and your back didn’t fall out of place just for picking up a pencil—yeah, lots of good times!

But there’s an aspect of school few miss: the tests. Oh crikey, the anxiety, the amount of preparation, the uncertainty of what questions were to come, the self-doubt, the need to perform so that your future would be a good one and your parents didn’t hate you and you weren’t the laughing stock of the class. Yeah, that.

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Cheating seems like the answer to a lot of those fears, but one teacher decided that it’d be a much better idea if the students wore creative hats to prevent any of them snooping at someone else’s answers. The hats—awesome! The cheating prevention—well played! Let’s get into it!

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Professor Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz, a mechanical engineering instructor, thought of one of the most creative ways to prevent cheating during exams

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

The biggest enemy of every teacher isn’t the tardy student, the loud knucklehead, or the stale apple, but rather the act of dishonesty and unfairness in order to gain an advantage, otherwise known as cheating. They try everything in their capacity to stop this heinous crime from happening, and one teacher takes the cake for creativity.

Professor Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz, a mechanical engineering instructor at the Bicol University College of Engineering, Philippines, stumbled upon an interesting idea on Facebook—a post looking back on a practice from 2013 at a University in Bangkok, Thailand—a couple of days before her students were to have their engineering and computing exams.

Inspired by a Facebook post from 2013, she asked her students 2 days before their exams to make a simple hat to shield their view from other students’ work

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

Say it with me now: anti-cheating hats! Two days before the exams, she asked the students to prepare a simple headpiece to shield their view from other students’ work and, thus, prevent them from cheating. The students obliged, constructing the hats from materials found at home, such as cardboard, egg cartons, and other items, going above and beyond what was expected.

Prof. Mandane-Ortiz told the BBC that she had been searching for a “fun approach” to ensure “integrity and honesty” in her classroom, and it seemed that this little experiment had been very effective, not just in preventing wandering gazes and cheating, but also in sparking a bit of creativity in the students’ lives.

The students went above and beyond what the teacher expected, dressing up as characters or crafting fashionable headpieces from materials found at home

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

Although the teacher imagined her students would be making simple paper designs, they came in with all sorts of fashionable headpieces, some inspired by pop culture and films. “They accepted the challenge without any complaints,” she said, adding that she was extremely impressed with the innovation displayed in the hats.

One of the students created a hat inspired by the popular show “Money Heist,” and another put tubes over his eyes to create tunnel vision. Some came with anime character getups, wigs, masks, and there was even a motorcycle helmet.

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

Prof. Mandane-Ortiz had been searching for a “fun approach” to ensure “integrity and honesty” in her classroom, and it seems like she hit the jackpot

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Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

“I was quite nervous at first,” shared 21-year-old student, Marc Louise Pelaez. “Seeing the hats made by my classmates was hilarious. The mood inside the classroom changed from intense to exciting. I really enjoyed the activity, and I’m looking forward to our final exam in December,” he said.

Not only did the students get the chance to show off their creative sides, but it seemed to calm their nerves a bit, as several students finished their exams ahead of schedule, some even getting higher grades than expected. “I’m very happy because they’re very talented students. It’s supposed to be that the exam is stressful and fearful, but they made it more funny and wonderful. That’s why they excelled on our exam,” she told the Washington Post.

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

Not only did it prevent wandering gazes, but it also sparked the students’ creativity and made the exams less stressful and more enjoyable

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

She took some pictures of the students with their hats and shared them on her Facebook page, the post soon going viral, gathering thousands of likes. The pictures were picked up by the media (hi, hello, we are media!) and it may be so that more teachers take up this idea for their classrooms.

As a former student myself, I can very safely say that cheating got me through a couple of hard times. It wasn’t necessarily out of malice, but just being overworked with other subjects and knowing that I wasn’t gonna learn all the historical dates or formulas in one measly evening led to some very creative means of cheating.

Got caught a couple times, but it was okay; the teachers I had were very understanding, especially as I was a good student otherwise. But this gets me thinking, is cheating really the core issue of the school system? What if the system that promotes competitiveness between students and the promotion of right answers instead of effort is at fault? Nah, can’t be that!

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

“The mood inside the classroom changed from intense to exciting. I really enjoyed the activity, and I’m looking forward to our final exam in December,” said one student

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

A lot of times, we fail to look at why students cheat. A study by Mark G. Simkin and Alexander McLeod found that the most important reason why students cheated was the “desire to get ahead.”

As argued on the Carnegie Mellon University page, some of the reasons for cheating include poor study skills that prevent students from keeping up with the material, if the assessment is very high-stakes or if they have low expectations of success, and a misunderstanding of the relationship between learning and grades. One does not equal the quality of the other.

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

“It’s supposed to be that the exam is stressful and fearful, but they made it more funny and wonderful. That’s why they excelled on our exam,” the teacher said

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

But considering students want “the good life,” which is usually achieved by going to good universities, which require good grades, then getting into work, which requires good university marks, then potentially doing further studies, such as Masters and PhDs—you’re constantly fighting for good grades to get ahead in life.

Edutopia advises teachers to “turn down the pressure cooker,” meaning they should stop making everything be of high importance, give some leeway for students to find their footing, and give them the best chance to succeed without them having to resort to cheating. They should focus on effort rather than just the number so that students understand that how they learn matters, rather than just a singular outcome.

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

The pictures from the classroom soon went viral, with multiple news outlets picking up on the story. It may soon be that other teachers try this method out themselves!

Image credits: Mandane-Ortiz R Mary Joy

Maybe we will see these hats gain traction, maybe not, but it’s definitely one for the history books *wink wink*. “I believe the students will never forget this. In the future, I am planning to try it again,” Mandane-Ortiz said. We wish her and her students all the best!

Let us know your thoughts on this, dear Pandas, and tell me—were you a cheater at school? What was your preferred method of choice? Don’t forget to upvote for more, and I shall see you in the next one!

People online loved this idea! Let us know your thoughts in the comments and tell us—were you a cheater, and what was your method?

The post Hats Off To This Teacher For Asking Her Students To Make “Anti-Cheating Hats” For Exam Season first appeared on Bored Panda.

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