What is Academic Integrity?

What is academic integrity? Academic Integrity is a term that refers to pursuing academic work in an honest, ethical manner.

What does academic integrity look like in the classroom?  Academic integrity means making honest choices, even when tasks are challenging.  We witness this value when students showcase their individual skills, offer credit to others when collaborating, paraphrase and cite sources, respect intellectual property,  submit original work, complete homework independently, accept constructive feedback, ask teachers for help, use time management skills, and celebrate the results of honest effort.

Why is academic integrity important? Pursuing academic challenges with integrity is practice for pursuing the challenges of the adult world with integrity. The adult world will inevitably involve stressful, challenging moments that will tempt a person to cut corners; these are the moments when a person’s integrity will be called upon. Our hope is that students will leave their schools with the habit of acting on their developed sense of integrity.

Additionally, academic integrity is central to skill development. We want students to feel ready for academic challenges, and developing skills honestly is central to a student’s ability to grow from these challenges. Cutting corners or pursuing shortcuts will only lead to unhealthy anxiety and disappointment when dealing with future challenges.

Here are a few guiding questions to help a student model academic integrity:

  • Am I working to the best of my ability?
  • Am I developing my problem-solving skills while resisting the urge to obtain unfair advantage?
  • Am I clearly crediting others when I collaborate or use outside information?
  • Am I respecting the learning process by putting forth honest effort and learning from the consequences?
  • Am I submitting work that is legitimately and entirely my own?
  • Am I honoring my commitments or avoiding my responsibilities?

We recognize that “it takes a village” to develop students to be respectful, responsible, and resilient citizens who promote civility and live with integrity. The good news is that we have “a village” of people who want to help us achieve this mission! Please reference the information below to learn how you can help create a culture of academic integrity.

How can students model academic integrity? 

  • Choose the path of self-discipline and preparation rather than the path of searching for an unfair advantage.
  • Organize and prioritize assignments and commitments. Rushing your work, collaborating dishonestly, or cutting corners will lead to unhealthy anxiety when a student is held accountable for demonstrating these actions.
  • Learn to self-advocate and to monitor your own grades and assignments
  • Cite sources, document outside information, and paraphrase skillfully
  • Value authentic skill development and learning
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices.  Substance abuse and lack of sleep can inhibit your ability to reason and to make thoughtful decisions
  • Ask for help when needed. We are always here to help, and we would rather that you ask us for help than make a choice that lacks integrity
  • Understand when it’s acceptable and unacceptable to collaborate with others on an assignment. When in doubt, please ask your teacher to clarify expectations.
  • Recognize that good attendance provides the consistency needed to develop healthy learning habits

What steps can parents/guardians take to create a culture that values academic integrity? 

  • Set and enforce a standard for integrity
  • Encourage self-advocacy, self-discipline, and personal accountability
  • Strive to model integrity and healthy learning decisions
  • Coach student as he/she develops his/her moral reasoning skills
  • Work to assess student’s effort realistically, and support his/her placement in developmentally appropriate educational settings
  • Help student to avoid overcommitment and unhealthy  stress
  • Praise honest effort and a positive attitude
  • Emphasize the need to seek help from teachers when needed

Examples of Academic Dishonesty

Any action intended to obtain or assist in obtaining credit for work that is not one’s own is considered academic dishonesty. Such conduct includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Submitting another person’s work as one’s own work
  • Obtaining or accepting a copy (including digital photos) of any assessments, tests, or answer keys
  • Giving  to or receiving from another student test questions or answers by any means (not limited to electronic, paper, verbal) either during or outside of class
  • Using materials which are not permitted during a test
  • Intentionally plagiarizing (presenting as one’s own material copied without adequate documentation from a published source), such as copy and pasting from any source or purchasing work done by others
  • Handing in an assignment that was created for another class without teacher approval
  • Copying or allowing someone to copy homework, essay, project, oral report, lab report or take-home test, etc.
  • Using translating aids other than dictionaries (paper or online), for example, the Internet, Google Translate or other online translators.
  • A pattern of absences from class to avoid the date on which a paper, project, report, or presentation is due or a test is given.
  • Using and/or distributing any assessments, tests, or scoring keys.
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A Story of Integrity

Monty Roberts grew up around horses in California. His father was a horse trainer and Monty was riding before he learned to walk. This was during the heyday of Western Movies and as a child Monty rode horses in movies, often as a stunt double for child actors. He later got into rodeos and horse shows and earned a reputation as a great horseman.

Roberts always dreamed of being a horse trainer himself, and with a wife and a couple of kids to support he figured it was time to get serious, so he went into the business. In spite of his reputation as a great rider, Roberts was an inexperienced trainer, and had trouble getting clients. He had only 4 horses to train which wasn’t bringing in nearly enough money to support his family.

Roberts wasn’t sure what he was going to do when an opportunity was presented to work as an apprentice with Don Dodge, one of the most well-known and well-respected trainers in the area. He was told to bring two of his horses with him.

After 10 weeks the apprenticeship ended and Roberts met with Dodge. One of the horses he had brought with him was named Panama Buck. Dodge told Roberts that when he got home he should call up the horse’s owner, Lawson Williams, and tell him that he was wasting his money having Roberts train the horse because the horse was never going to amount to anything.

Roberts was understandably reluctant to do this, as that would eliminate a quarter of his already meager income. When he asked Dodge why he should do this, Dodge responded that the most important thing he could do was always tell owners the truth about their horses, and if he did this he would soon get more than enough business to replace the loss.

Roberts went home and did as instructed but Williams didn’t take the news well. He responded by berating Roberts, screaming “You useless son of a gun, you wouldn’t know a good horse if it leapt up between your legs. That’s the last horse you’ll ever get from me!”

Several days later Roberts’ phone rang. A voice on the other end said, “Hello, Mr. Gray here, Joe Gray.” He went on, “I was having lunch with Mr. Williams yesterday. He was complaining about you, but from what I heard you must be about the only honest trainer I ever heard of. Well, I know that Panama Buck horse of his wasn’t any good, and I just want to take a flyer on you. I have this horse I want to send to you; it’s called My Blue Heaven.”

From that point on things started to turn around for Roberts. He gained a reputation as not only a great trainer, but an honest one, and soon he had more than enough horses to train. Eventually he would even have the opportunity to train horses for the Queen of England. And it all started with following some wise advice from a mentor to always be honest, even when the price is high.

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3 R’s of Habit Formation

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” These words from Aristotle are a reminder that success doesn’t come overnight. It is a discipline that, with time, takes you from where you are to where you want to go.

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

What you repeatedly do (what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray.

But what if you want to improve? What if you want to form new habits? Turns out, there’s a helpful framework that can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general.

According to behavioral psychologist James Clear, every habit you have follows the same three–step pattern called the “3 Rs”:

#• Reminder – the trigger that initiates the behaviour

#• Routine – the behaviour itself; the action you take

#• Reward – he benefit you gain from doing the behaviour

What a habit looks like when broken down

Here is an example using the 3 Rs to break down a typical habit. You see a commercial about food. This is the reminder that initiates the behaviour. The commercial acts as a trigger or cue that makes you think about what you may have to snack on. It is the prompt that starts the behaviour. You go to the kitchen (routine). This is the actual behaviour. You find some chips, cookies, a fruit or leftovers. This is the reward.

A reward is the benefit gained from doing the behaviour. You wanted to eat something and discovering that item in the kitchen is the reward for completing the habit.

Every habit follows this basic three–step structure.

Here’s another example:

Reminder – the traffic light turns green. Routine – you drive through the intersection. Reward – you make it closer to your destination.

Repeat the same action enough times and it becomes a habit. How can you use this structure to create new habits and actually stick to them?

Step 1: Set a reminder for your new habit

A good reminder does not rely on motivation and it doesn’t require you to remember to do your new habit. A good reminder makes it easy to start by encoding your new behaviour in something that you already do. Want to drink more water? Set an alarm every two hours to remind you to have a drink.

Step 2: Choose an easy habit

If you want to start a new habit and begin living healthier and happier, then start small. In the words of Leo Babauta, “Make it so easy that you can’t say no.”

How small? If you want to start flossing, begin by only flossing one tooth. Just one. In the beginning, performance doesn’t matter. Become the type of person who always sticks to your new habit. You can build up to the level of performance that you want once the behaviour becomes consistent.

Key point: Only go after habits that are important to you. It’s tough to find a reward when you’re simply doing things because other people say they are important.

Here’s your action step: Decide what want your new habit to be. Now ask yourself, “How can I make this new behaviour so easy to do that I can’t say no?” Give yourself credit and enjoy each success, no matter how small. It’s all a process.

by Christine Carey

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How To Use The Life Balance Wheel
To make this easy for you I created a Life Balance Wheel worksheet that you can copy & paste to get started. You can also draw your own Life Balance Wheel in your journal or wherever else you like. Do what feels best for you. All you have to do is draw a circle and divide it into 8 equal parts. Then, label each section with a life area. This is where this gets totally customizable. The life areas I focused on were:
  • Physical Health
  • Spirituality
  • Relationships
  • Creativity
  • Personal Development
  • Career & Finances
  • Overall Life Vision
  • Emotional Well-being
Feel free to use these or switch them up and make it your own. You may have something in particular that you want to work on that you’d like to add on your wheel. You don’t need to use all 8 sections either. I’ve seen some versions of the wheel where there are only 6 parts. If you cannot think of 8 different areas you’d like use, or if 8 just seems too overwhelming, try starting with 6 instead. Just make sure that all of the categories you choose are meaningful to you so that you can create meaningful goals through your reflections.
Other possible life areas:
  • Blog/business
  • Mental Health
  • Self-Care
  • Education
  • Home Life & Family
As you can see all of these categories can fit within the broader categories. It really depends on how specific you want to be.
Now it’s time to think about how fulfilled you are in each life area. Draw a dot between the center, and the outer edge of the wheel to indicate how fulfilled you feel in each life area. The center of the wheel represents 0% and the outer edge represents 100%. Make sure you put a lot of thought and reflection into this process to create the most accurate representation of your life balance. After you place all of your dots, connect them all together in a circle. Basically, once you connect all the dots, you form your wheel (which isn’t exactly shaped like a wheel, but you get the point). It’s totally okay if you’re looking at a crazy shape when you’re done. That’s normal! Your wheel is unique to you, which is why it’s so helpful in setting meaningful, personalized goals.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding where to draw your dots:
  • Physical health – How’s your overall diet? Any changes you’d like to make to the way you eat? How do you feel during the day (tired, energetic, fatigued, etc)? How’s your quality of sleep? How often do you exercise?
  • Spirituality – How in tune with your beliefs are you? How closely connected do you feel to what you believe in?
  • Relationships – Do you have friends/family that you can talk to? How satisfied are you with the quality of relationships in your life? How often do you spend quality time with your loved ones? How easily do you connect with others?
  • Creativity – Do you have a creative outlet? Are you utilizing it? How satisfied are you with your creative abilities?
  • Career & Finances – How satisfied are you in your current career? Are you in your dream career? or do you need to switch paths? How comfortable are you with your current financial status?
  • Personal Development – Are you actively working on your personal development? How well do you really know yourself? How satisfied are you with your personal growth lately?
  • Overall Life Vision – How happy are you with the direction your life is headed? How clear is your vision for your future? How satisfied are you with the steps that you’re taking towards that vision?
  • Emotional Well-being – How balanced do you feel emotionally? How aware are you of your emotions? How do you process/cope with your emotions?
Look at your completed wheel and focus on its shape. How can you create a more evenly shaped wheel? Which life areas require more of your focus right now? In my opinion, it’s actually a good idea to start from the outside edge of the wheel (your highest points) and work your way towards the middle (your lowest points). It’s less overwhelming this way and gives you a chance to reflect on your strong points and the growth that you’ve already made.
Now it’s time to set goals for each life area. Yes, you can even set small goals for those areas where you rated yourself very highly, because there’s always room for growth! Here are some ideas/examples to get you started with brainstorming:
  • Physical health
    • Exercise for 30 minutes, 3x per week
    • Meal prep for lunch every week
    • Create a consistent workout schedule
    • Try a new form of exercise such as yoga, Karate, Jiu Jitsu, etc.
    • Drink 8 cups of water per day
    • Take a multi-vitamin daily
  • Spirituality
    • Strengthen prayer life
    • Explore new spiritual practices (crystals, smudging, incense, meditation, etc.)
    • Form relationships with others who have similar spiritual beliefs
  • Relationships
    • Spend time with close friends at least twice a month
    • Have a small family get together once a month
    • Identify the people you are closest to and make an effort to talk to them often and reach out for support when you need it
  • Creativity
    • Explore a new creative outlet
    • Actively practice your creative outlet a few times a week
    • Find a community of people who consider themselves to be “creatives” and form relationships with them
  • Career & Finances
    • Start a side hustle
    • Get promoted at work
    • Go back to school for a new degree/certification
    • Save $1,000 a month
  • Personal Development
    • Start a daily journaling practice
    • Explore more about your personality type
    • Listen to an inspirational podcast twice a week
    • Read one self-help book a month
    • Start a daily mediation practice
  • Overall Life Vision
    • Create a vison board to reflect on what you really desire in life
    • Reflect on your progress towards your goals every month
    • Explore different opportunities and possibilities for your life. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Emotional Well-being
    • Practice self-care for at least 10 minutes daily
    • Create a self-care ritual
    • Try counseling/therapy
    • Surround yourself with positive, like minded individuals
 These goals aren’t super specific (most of them anyway) but they’re designed to get you thinking and brainstorming about goals for your own life. I know it helps me personally to see examples in order to inspire my own ideas.
You can complete the Life Balance every month and track your progress that way. You can even do it on the same sheet of paper but using a different color for the updated wheel. That way your progress will be reflected all in one spot and will be super easy to see! Yay for tracking progress!
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Habits and Motivation: Master Both for Big Results

Habits and Motivation: Master Both for Big Results

Leon Ho
Founder & CEO of Lifehack

Do you struggle to feel motivated in certain aspects of your life?

Whether it’s in your studies, your career, your fitness, or just your day to day routine… we don’t always ‘enjoy’ every minute of what we’re doing. And, it’s normal to have days where you may feel a little less motivated or energized.

But, if you’re constantly finding a lack of motivation throughout your day, then you might need to start digging deeper to find out why.

Gaining motivation is easier than you may think. And, it goes hand in hand with–none other than–your habits!

That’s right!

You may wonder “what do habits have to do with feeling motivated?” Many people don’t consider habits as a key factor of their personal success because they simply see them as routines. They don’t necessarily make the connection to personal success.

And, that’s because most people associate external factors with success — such as luck, education, or family background. While habits are largely internal, they are often overlooked.

But, the truth is, habits dictate almost every aspect of our lives.

They are responsible for the majority of our daily actions from big to small. Think about how you begin your day, what you typically eat for lunch, or even the way you commute to work. Each one of these are habits!

Habits are Responsible for Motivating or Demotivating Us

Because habits are so ingrained in our lives, they also affect our motivation levels. Certain habits or routines that we pick up encourage motivation in us, while others may distract, drain or demotivate us.

So, the solution to staying motivated is to learn how to control your habits, so that you can steer and use them as a tool to create consistent and systematic inputs or actions towards an output or outcome that you want to achieve. In this case, feeling motivated again!

The first step to controlling your habits, is to know exactly what a habit is, how it is formed, and how to make and break habits to construct better use of your time.

The Two Type of Habits
There are two types of habits: conscious habits and hidden habits.

Conscious habits are habits that are easy to recognize. Usually, they require conscious input for you to keep them up. If you remove that input or attention, the habit would most likely go away. It’s easy to identify these conscious habits and you can quickly review them yourself.

Examples of conscious habits include waking up to an alarm every morning, or going for an evening run everyday.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that our brains have already turned into auto-pilot mode. We are generally completely unaware of them until some external factors or sources reveal it, such as someone pointing out your behavior to you.

Yet, hidden habits make up majority of our habits! They have become internalized into our lifestyle and decision making process, so you almost don’t realize it when a habit is ‘acting up’.

Take some time to think through your habits and try to determine which ones are hidden, and which ones are conscious habits. Also, think about whether or not they’re habits that contribute to you feeling positive and motivated.

Now that you have a clearer picture of what habits are, let’s move on to motivation.

How Motivation Manifests

Whether you’re aware of it or not, motivation is a huge force in your life; and it needs to be harnessed so that you can make the most of it.

Though, many people think of being either motivated or demotivated as a simple “on” or “off” switch.

But, motivation is a flow, not a switch.

What I mean is this: motivation is composed of various layers, starting from the core and flowing out to the surface.The surface is what you see, but the real process is driven from the core; and that’s the most important part.

To better understand this flow, I’ve broken it down into 3 parts:

Support – Enablers
Surface – Acknowledgement
Core – Your Purpose
Enablers are what support your goals. This could be people, finances, or anything that helps or enables you to reach your goals. They will magnify the core you have or increase any momentum that you build.

Acknowledgement is any type of external recognition that motivates you, such as respect, compliments and praise, emotional support, feedback, or constructive criticism.

It could also be found through affiliation of others who share the same goal as you.

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Acknowledgement is most often what you see on the surface when you look at other people’s external recognition or prestige.

And, finally, the true force behind your Motivation flow is the innermost core – your Purpose.

Purpose is a Pre-requisite to Motivation
Having a purpose is what separates the motivated from the demotivated.

Knowing what your purpose is, no matter what you are doing, will help you form habits and routines that can drive unlimited motivation.Your purpose derives from two things: Having Meaning, and Forward Movement.

So, how do you do these two things?

Having Meaning is simple. Just ask yourself a question: Why?

Why are you going after a certain goal? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivation will be vague and unclear.

Even though motivation provides you the energy to do something, that energy needs to be focused somewhere, or else it has nowhere to go!

Yet, Having Meaning isn’t as complex as it may seem. The only guidelines is that it should add value to something or someone that matters to you.

Next, is gaining Forward Movement. In short, it means that you just keep going towards your goal through momentum. And, to keep up this momentum, you have to keep moving forward.

Even small amounts of progress can be just as motivating, as long as they keep coming.

Creating a simple progress indicator like checklists or milestones, are a great way to visualize your small (and big) wins. They trigger your brain to recognize and acknowledge them, giving you small boosts of motivational energy.

Motivation and Habits Rely on One Another
I hope you can now see how motivation and habits go hand in hand.There is an alignment in your routines, your roles and responsibilities, which will reduce any distractions causing you to feel demotivated!

By knowing what your purpose is, you can be mindful of your habits, assess and improve on them, and your motivation will automatically increase because you’re creating positive trends and working towards something that you truly want.

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