“You are only allowed to use your OWN knowledge, your OWN class notes, class handouts, your OWN class homework, or The Earth and Its Peoples textbook to complete assignments and assessments UNLESS specifically informed otherwise by your instructor.”
Is this a cult? No. It’s actually the “Expectations of Integrity” for Westfield High’s AP World History class. Students are not allowed to use outside references for their class:
You may not discuss/mention/chat/hand signal/smoke signal/Facebook/IM/text/email to a complete stranger ANY answers/ideas/questions/thoughts/opinions/hints/instructions.
History Teacher: Class, I must inform you that you have no right to think on your own nor use your own research materials. You are only allowed to use the resources that WE provide you to perform any research. Now let’s get started …
Billy, the open-minded, curious skeptic: … But I like to do research on the Internet! I also sometimes like to use magazines, newspapers, and other materials to confirm …
History Teacher: SILENCE! There will be no usage of outside research materials. You will use only the materials that Westfield High provides. Any outside resources could contradict what we are teaching you. That would be stupid, right?
History Teacher: SILENCE!!! Billy, stay after class for detention! Now, students, open up your textbooks to page 666. We will be discussing the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Jill, the aspiring history teacher: Wasn’t there a conspiracy involving JFK?
History Teacher: Where did you hear this?
Jill: It was on a Discovery Channel documentary.
History Teacher: Did you not just hear what I just said before? There will be no usage of outside research! How stupid can you kids be?
History Teacher: Detention! Now!
I really feel bad for these students, particularly those who intend on doing meaningful work in a career involving history. It just makes me, as an American, feel like my fellow youth is doomed to failure.