Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Can Cheaters Prosper In Cambodia?


Cite this article:

2017 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918,

PechaKucha Presentation

This PechaKucha explores the ways in which the author navigated cheating culture, community norms, and her own biases to think through sustainable education solutions in Cambodia. Students in Cambodia’s countryside are structurally disadvantaged and attempt to redress wealth and knowledge imbalances through cheating. However, cheating causes skills gaps that hinder students as they look for jobs, particularly since they are competing with applicants from other ASEAN countries. The presenter discusses how she, and her Cambodian co-teacher, sifted through their competing biases about the merits and pitfalls of cheating in their classroom, settling on ethnographic practice as a way forward. They observed student cheating behaviors, noting the tools, networks, and systems of exchange through which information passed. Instead of penalizing students for cheating, the presenter and her counterpart attempted to transform these deceptive methods into something more productive.

Lauren Markofsky, Lauren works as an ethnographer for Ultimate Software, where she researches people, work, and technology. She has an MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Lauren served in the Peace Corps in Cambodia from 2012–2014, where she developed solutions for community issues in education, health, and the environment.