When is cheating not cheating?

Every so often I give my students information sheets that they can use to help with their German work. Then, a while later, I see them make mistakes and I remind them to use the sheet.

And sometimes the reply is:”I don’t want to cheat!” 

I always find that puzzling. Why is using an info sheet cheating?

If you’re trying a new recipe, you follow the instructions. If you want to cook the meal again, you follow the recipe again. And again … and again. Until one day you cook your meal without even looking at the recipe.

When you’re learning to play a new piece of music on the piano, you practise with the sheet until, one day, you can play the piece by heart.

When you go hiking in an unknown area, you use a map. And if you ever go there again, you might need the map again, unless it has become a walk you’ve done lots of times and you know where to go.

When you buy some IKEA furniture, you follow the instructions (unless you’re one of those people, who don’t read the instructions and end up with some extra screws 😄), most likely for every piece of furniture.

Nobody would see that as cheating!

So why is using a helpful information sheet for language learners cheating?

It isn’t!

If you have any bits of paper with useful information for your German learning (or know where to find the info online), use it!

And use it again! And again …. until one day, you’ll find you don’t need it any more.

PS. If, however, you’re in an exam and have secretly stashed away some information that you intend to use, that, of course, is cheating. But we all know that anyway, right?

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