The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, April 02, 2012

The laziest student in the world.

Today, perhaps, the laziest student in the world, visited my blog. It is not uncommon for people, from University web addresses, or other educational institutions, such as Secondary schools or high schools, to arrive on my blog, with what is clearly an essay question in their search terms. Sometimes, I get dozens of people from the same country, searching with the same essay question, arriving on the same page, of my blog. I can only imagine the consternation of their teacher, when a dozen or more of their students hand in the same copy/pasted essay (mine), as their own!

Plagiarism is very common amongst today’s students. I see other evidence of it too, sometimes. Occasionally, someone searches with an extended quote from one of my essays, and arrives on my blog. I assume this to be a teacher checking whether an essay is plagiarized or not...for how else did they get a hold of an extensive quote from my writing?

Today’s example was a classic. A person searched from Mongolia, in Asia, with the search terms “Mongolian laziness essay”! Just think about the most likely interpretation for what is happening here. This searcher is probably a student, from Mongolian, who had been tasked to write an essay about Mongolian laziness. I assume this to mean that their teacher had identified them as lazy and required them to write an essay on laziness, as it applied to Mongolians, as some kind of punishment. So, it is a stroke of genius order laziness for that student to then search the Internet for an essay on Mongolian laziness, to steal! I mean, how lazy can you get, than getting someone else to write about laziness, when that is your own task?

What is, perhaps, funniest of all, is the page they arrived on. It was an essay on Mongolian laziness. In fact, it was an account of my experience of teaching one of the laziest students I have ever encountered – and the ways he dealt with the tasks I set him. Given these two experiences, I am left to wonder if Mongolia has a problem with laziness, as a cultural issue. If anyone knows more about this, please comment below.

On a more serious note, it is a worry that so many students, these days, are using the Internet to answer their school essays for them. This speaks of a generation too lazy to learn to use their own minds. Any child who grows up doing this, instead of actually writing the set tasks, will never learn to write or express themselves in written form, in any way at all. They will become incapable adults. Not only that, but not having learnt to exercise their minds in disciplined thought – which they will have avoided – they will probably be quite dim, as well. It doesn’t bode well for the future world they shall be tasked with creating – along with the rest of their often ill-equipped generation. It seems likely that people who are now middle aged, will see a real decline in the level of discourse in the world, by the time they reach old age. Quite simply, many people will not be capable of complex discourse in any verbal form, at all. Another thought occurs to me. If the common man, is poor at dealing with words, one might have thought that the few who were truly literate would be prized – but I think it likely that the opposite will be true. When the average man is too verbally dumb to appreciate the output of the verbally bright, the writings of the best writers will be even less appreciated than they are today. It takes an educated and well informed audience, to receive well the thoughts of the best writers. The reader needs to be a sufficiently erudite companion to the writer, for the relationship to work well. Sadly, the younger generation today, in so many parts of the world, are not cultivating high verbal skills. So, they will become people unable to appreciate or enjoy them in those who do so equip themselves. Basically, the future promises to be a philistine one. I wonder whether Mankind will be able to pull itself up from that now seemingly inevitable precipice? The search terms of my innumerable plagiaristic searchers, is not an encouraging sign as to our probable shared future. I suppose this is what the beginning of the ends of Empires and civilizations looks like: a decline in the quality of the people being a first and troubling sign. It won’t be that far in the future, when such people are unable to manage the culture they have inherited. After that, the process of forgetting will begin. Soon, all will be gone.

It all begins with students too lazy to think their own thoughts and write their own essays. The Internet is full of them. In fact, that is what many students think the Internet is for: doing their homework for them. Some advice: if you see signs in your child that they are pilfering off the net, cut them off. Force them to write their work on their own. It will be the best stimulus to their mental growth you could ever invent.

I am left with one final dilemma: do I publish the offending student’s IP address to reveal what he or she has done...or do I not? What do you think?

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:40 PM 


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