How Teachers Can Promote Ethics and Academic Honesty In Their Classrooms

By Maggie Sueme, BBB Education & Outreach Coordinaor

What can you do to encourage your students to live ethically? High school can be a crucial time for learning about ethics. Finding your footing in the period between childhood and adulthood can be the key to living ethically as an adult.

studentsWhat can teachers and education professionals do to help their students in developing their own code of ethics? In the classroom, teachers can create a climate of ethical behavior.

In setting up your classroom at the start of each semester, it is important to ask how you can design the course to improve your students’ skills and knowledge, thus challenging you to do your best. The syllabus should state the ethical behaviors demanded by you through an academic honesty clause or statement. Informing students that cheating, plagiarism, and any other form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated set the ethical bar high for your students.

Can a teacher proactively prevent academic dishonesty? All teachers are aware of the usual culprits that lead to cheating. Requiring that all phones and electronic devices be off and put away, having multiple versions of the test, changing exam questions each year and proactively proctoring the exam may lead to less cheating. Teaching students how to properly paraphrase and use citations when quoting other people’s work and the consequences of plagiarizing and how it will affect their learning and development will likely decrease the likelihood of plagiarism in you classroom.

BBB’s In Pursuit of Ethics education module takes a deeper look at one student’s ethical dilemma she faced when a chemistry test is standing in her way of playing the championship basketball game. Cheating is just one of many real life ethical dilemmas your students face each day. BBB wants to help your students develop their own code of ethics and critical thinking skills with our ethics education program. If you are interested in learning more, contact Margaret Sueme, BBB’s education & outreach coordinator, at 314-584-6762 or


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