Cheating is, of course, a low-level crime--taking from someone else. We don't treat it that dramatically most of the time, but there are plenty of instances where cheating has had some severe consequences. (I had a student in University who gave a paper from my class to a student in another class and both were expelled from school for violating the integrity policy. It does happen.) Unfortunately, the only person who really loses in a cheating scenario is the one who cheats. They've broken trust, they've failed to practice whatever math problem (or whatever else) they were supposed to be practicing, and they've lost an opportunity to practice self-discipline and perseverance and integrity. These are, presumably, the values of homework (although I agree wholeheartedly that poor assignments lend themselves too easily to cheating, and that's the teacher's fault). Cheating is just not cool.
Cheating is not the right thing to do. Part of learning is responsibility. When students take the time to learn the material they get rewarded with a good grade. When students cheat they are being irresponsible because they are not earning the grade. To top it all off, they more than likely get caught cheating and will probably get into a great deal of trouble.
I have worked long and hard to make assignments "cheat-proof" as mentioned in post #2. I too, see cheating (often) as a sign that there is room for improvement in the assignment/test. This is why I rarely give homework. I would rather circulate and watch the learning process happen in my classroom than send it home and hope it returns with integrity.
This is one reason I'm in favor not assigning classics for independent reading, summer reading, or personal book projects. Too much can be stolen from sparknotes or even here on eNotes. I let kids read whatever they want for independent reading and encourage modern and obscure fiction that doesn't have much on the internet about it.
One of the most recent issues I encountered with cheating however, was parents doing homework for their students - almost fully. Of course I think this is wrong, but it is a very fine line to walk when considering accusing a parent of doing the student's work. In the end, I guess I just pray kharma takes care of it for me.
Actually, much of what typical teachers call "cheating" is, in my opinion, a real-world way to accomplish a busywork task. In the business world, we never make assignments to employees and caution them not to ask any of their colleagues questions about it. We also encourage employees to work in groups to accomplish tasks together because several heads create more synergy than one.
If a teacher finds that students are cheating on assignments, perhaps it is appropriate for the teacher to hold up a mirror and ask herself how could the assignments be made "cheat-proof," or, better yet, how can the assignments be structured to lend themselves to group work. Tand his requires a mechanism that ensures that one or two people don't do all the work and then simply allow the others to copy it. Creating roles and requiring reports in handwriting provide a simple check and balance.
According to my point of view, basically as a student cheating is a bad thing. By cheating the lecturer the person individually cheats him/herslf. Because, education is not something that we do for the sake of others, at the end of the day, we are the one who's going to gain by learning, but as students most of the people they never understand the importance of being faithful while studying. But no one can say that "I have been faithful in learning", because as individuals all of us have cheated while studying, but cheating once or twice in the class assignments are not a big deal, because no one in the world is a 100% idealist. We can't encourage cheating, but the importance of the assignment decides the seriousness of the cheating.
Cheating by students in tests/exams and in completing their assignments is wrong or bad for the student who is cheating, as well as other students.
Exams, test and assignments are all meant to aid in the learning of students. A student who cheats misses out on the learning, and is therefore a looser.
Other students also loose, because the student who cheats gets an unfair advantage over other in getting grades and recognition. But we must realize that this disadvantage of other students is only a temporary one. In the log run a student with better learning is more likely to achieve greater success in his or her life.