Integrity Case Study
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This semester I was particularly excited to take a composition course because reading and writing has always helped me focus my ideas better, and it requires me to take a closer look at the ideas posed by the writers of our reading material. This Composition course requires more than just reading and writing the ideas and concepts gained from our reading material on paper. We are required to demonstrate many abilities required to be truly successful in real life situations. Our traditional grading structure has also been revised to ensure that the student has completed all the requirements of each individual assignment. As stated on our syllabus, we should be able to interpret and evaluate complex text, demonstrate a process of critical inquiry, and articulate convincing arguments supported by truthful evidence in each of our assignments.
The change in the current grading system shows us that there is an expectation for every student taking this course to be responsible for their own learning abilities. Our rubric also shows us that not only will we be responsible to complete our assignments independently, but also show that we possess the skills needed to demonstrate ethical behavior. Stephen Carter states in The Rules about the Rules, “It is far easier to know what one believes to be in effect, right from wrong” (185). Proper Behavior is also a requirement in this class and to pass it we must possess leadership and model behavior that should inspire others to act accordingly.
I hope to do well in Composition 101. It is not only a prerequisite to advance to future courses but, in my opinion, the most important in terms of being a college-level student. This course will help us determine whether we will be able to succeed in future courses and is the foundation to being successful in future endeavors.
Although this course requires a great deal of reading I can easily grasp the concept of the reading material which is something I find to be quite manageable within this course’s requirements. The requirement that could be a little difficult for me would be time management. Our instructor has advised that we spend 8-12 hours a week in this course, with all my personal obligations I will have to be extremely consistent with the time I set aside for schoolwork. I also know that I sometimes suffer from an extreme case of writer’s block and although it is sometimes difficult for me to anticipate ideas for writing, when I put pen to paper the right ideas seem to flow out.
I am confident that I will succeed in this composition class because I am fully capable of doing so and also because my integrity will not allow anything less. In “Rules about the Rules” the second step Carter exerts to be the “definition” of integrity states, “it is sometimes necessary to take that difficult step – to get involved – to fight openly for what one believes to be true, and the right and good, even when there is risk to oneself “(186). This means that a person of integrity believes, says, and acts on what they believe in, even if they have fight their whole life to prove their point. I had previously indicated that a person should not have to fight to prove their point, as long as they are truthful to themselves, but in this case, regarding my studies, I can entirely agree with this theory. The more difficult the mission, the more I will cherish my successes.
Most students today lack integrity. This reminds me of a line from Carter’s, The Insufficiency of Honesty, where he says “people seem to spend their time thinking of ways to avoid their obligations, instead of doing what integrity demands and fulfilling them” (342). I am from New York and went to grade school there. In New York I came across many students that preferred to try to beat the system and find ways to make school easier. I have always preferred to work hard and fully grasp the concept of every lesson. With the exception of a few, most of the students I have interacted with have always tried to cheat and lie to make their way to the top. I abide by the school and classroom rules, I attend class and I do not cheat. I am sure the definition of cheating varies from person to person, but it involves their morals and reasoning and what they have been taught as children.
The pressure they might feel to excel in life can contribute to them trying to cheat out of desperation, but they might feel extremely guilty about it. “It would be a peculiar morality indeed that granted us the right to avoid our moral responsibilities simply by stating our intention to ignore them. Integrity does not permit such an easy escape (341)”, Insufficiency of Honesty, Stephen Carter. Another person might cheat on a test and feel no sense of remorse. This person may be capable of committing other crimes because they do not have the special skill of concluding what is right and what is wrong. It all depends on a person’s values and how they have been raised.
I expect to feel a sense of personal success after the completion of this course. Competition and personal success is healthy in moderation, doing whatever you can to get by would be the mentality of a person that lacks integrity. This does not mean that being competitive should be eliminated altogether; it is human nature and advocates personal betterment which is necessary for a person to succeed in life. Individual success has always been celebrated, and should continue to be promoted in the years to come. Athletes need to be competitive to excel in their sport. If there was a way to stop competition and personal success we wouldn’t have any leaders in our nation. We would not have successful people to look up to. What would be the purpose of training, studying, and working hard if there was no competition or personal success? This is why I believe our new grading system will be very beneficial to each student, because it teaches us to independently create our personal success within the courses.
Carter’s statement about students caring far more about winning than playing by the rules is a statement I completely agree with. Many students feel that submitting work without dedicating their full time and effort into it is acceptable; they want to barely pass courses and fly by every semester. By the grading system changing it is harder for a student to get barely passing grades and pass a course without ever really trying to be the best they can be. We are required to get a three out of three on every assignment. The good old days when students were able to get passing grades on assignments and bad grades on others, with the chance that they might still pass the course, are over. We need to show full understanding on every assignment. We are also expected to correct our own work to show that we are independently grasping the concept of every lesson.
In conclusion, we are required to demonstrate various skills throughout this composition course. Towards the end of the class we should have a portfolio showing that we can complete assignments and show our understanding and interpretation of reading materials. We should be able to successfully draft, revise, and organize essays that are developed clearly and free of grammatical errors. We have to possess great work ethic and be responsible students with integrity throughout the semester. I hope to successfully show all of these qualities and complete all of the assigned readings and weekly modules. I would like to prove to myself that I am capable of fulfilling all of the requirements of a college level student in a course that will essentially be the foundation of my future career. With all of our research, thoughts, and interpretation of the definition of integrity used in all of our previous discussions, I am sure to have the correct idea of what a person or student of integrity is required to do to be successful within this course. I hope I have clearly stated what my opinion is on the topic of integrity while incorporating my expectations from this course and what will be expected of me as a passing student in this class. At this stage we should be able to identify our own errors and correct them without the help of a teacher.
The Writers Presence: A Pool of Readings by Donald McQuade and Robert Atwan The Insufficiency of Honesty, Stephen L Carter
Bedford/ St. Martins: Boston, 2008
The Presence of Others, Andrea Lumsford & J. Ruszkiewicz
The Rules about the Rules, Stephen L Carter
Bedford/ St. Martins: Boston, 2008
English Composition 101 Fall 2014, Professor Stefanie Stankiewicz Syllabus, Advice, Rubrics, Ability Talk,
A Writer’s Reference, Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers, Harvard University Seventh Edition
Bedford/ St Martin’s Boston, NY, 2011