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  1. 1. PLAGIARISMP Presentation by Mark Feder, August 2008, revised April, 2013
  2. 2. PLAGIARISMWhat is plagiarism? Wikipedia defines it as:“the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author andthe representation of them as ones own original work” *Wikipedia then goes on to say:“In the academic world, plagiarism by students is a very serious offense that canresult in punishments such as a failing grade on the particular assignment(typically at the high school level) or for the course (typically at the college oruniversity level). For cases of repeated plagiarism, or for cases in which a studentcommits severe plagiarism (e.g., submitting a copied article as his or her ownwork), a student may be suspended or expelled.”** #2
  3. 3. PLAGIARISMSome of the forms that plagiarism can take are described in of the following are considered plagiarism:•turning in someone elses work as your own•copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit•failing to put a quotation in quotation marks•giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation•changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit•copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work,whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)** #3
  4. 4. PLAGIARISMAll of us who have taught writing have encountered plagiarism issues and made efforts bothto detect and eliminate plagiarism in student writing. Plagiarism is discussed at staffmeetings and addressed in Classroom Contributions.A Google search for plagiarism turns up 9,260,000 entries and the Internet is fullof sites that attempt to help teachers detect and prevent student plagiarism. Hereare a few: #4
  5. 5. PLAGIARISMCases of plagiarism in academia as well as the real world make the front pages ofnewspapers as these headlines show:Two Students Kicked off Semester at Sea for PlagiarismHerald sports columnist John Sleeper resigns over plagiarismMcCain faces accusations of Wikipedia plagiarism #5
  6. 6. PLAGIARISMVirtually every university has a statement or policy on plagiarism, attesting to the prevalenceof the problem. Illinois State University Harvard University University of Pennsylvania University of Oxford #6
  7. 7. PLAGIARISM about plagiarismsometimes turns teachers intocops, preoccupied with detectingplagiarism and punishing theperpetrators. …and if you think about it, this is a fundamental perversion of the role of the teacher that undermines his or her ability to foster and facilitate learning. #7
  8. 8. PLAGIARISMAt INTERLINK, our affectively oriented student-centered approach makes it especially importantfor the teacher to be “on the side” of the studentand not to be perceived as someone whose goalis to “catch” the student in wrongdoing.So, how can we preserve the nurturing role of theteacher and yet prevent students fromplagiarizing? #8
  9. 9. PLAGIARISM A good starting point is to consider why students plagiarize. One answer, of course, is that human beings are inherently dishonest and without oversight will try to get away with whatever they can. Without embarking on a philosophical exploration of whether people are good or evil by nature, such an answer, of course, suggests that students come to our program not to actually improve their English skills but only to trick us into believing that they have, and runs counter to the humanistic thesis thatJ humans have a natural propensityJ and desire to learn. #9
  10. 10. PLAGIARISM The most sensible approach to combating plagiarism is to first try to understand its possible causes and eliminate them. In this respect, it is not different from effectively combating other social problems such as drug abuse or teen pregnancy. #10
  11. 11. PLAGIARISM The attempt to eliminate a behavioral problem like plagiarism by criminalizing it and focusing on apprehending and punishing wrongdoers is almost certainly doomed to failure because attention and resources are squandered on secondary matters instead of on the problem itself. Inevitably, measures taken to apprehend culprits will result in more sophisticated counter-measures to avoid apprehension and an escalating war between student and teacher. And the student’s efforts become centered on avoiding detection rather than on learning.PP www.zmangames.comp #11
  12. 12. PLAGIARISMLet’s consider what factors might cause a student to plagiarize. 1. A student may not even recognize that s/he is doing anything wrong or that s/he in fact plagiarizing 2. A student may not know how to accomplish the task at hand or may feel inadequate to do so and resort to plagiarism 3. A student may feel pressured about time and uses plagiarism as a shortcut 4. A student may not care about learning or accomplishing anything and just wants an easy way out #12
  13. 13. PLAGIARISM Teachers and university statements usually address the first factor by defining plagiarism and giving advice about how to avoid it. But is it enough to clarify what plagiarism is and then warn students to avoid it?PP #13
  14. 14. PLAGIARISMWhy do so many students rely on the writing of others in the first place? Maybe theprevalence of plagiarism has something to do with the way we teach writing or therequirements we impose on student writing. For example, how often do writing classes andtextbooks start out by providing a model and telling students to follow that model? Use this as a model to write your own essay When we tell students “Your writing should lookP like this,” are we notP pushing them towardsP plagiarism? #14
  15. 15. PLAGIARISMTelling students to follow a model puts pressure on them to produce something that the teacher willconsider acceptable even if the student does not clearly understand what makes it acceptable.Imitation rather than creation is encouraged and process is subordinated to product. Imposing topicsthat students have little knowledge about or interest in only increases the chances that they will look toexternal sources for help. Students with limited English proficiency cannot easily separate what is saidfrom how it is said and will inevitably borrow phrases to express what they do not realize can beexpressed in other ways. And if we are not careful about the kind of feedback we give to students,we might be sending them the message that theirown language is inadequate and only language“borrowed” from other sources will meet the test. Feedback that targets errors and ignores the positive reduces students’ confidence in their ability to express things in their ownPwords and makes them more likely to seekP words of others. thep #15
  16. 16. PLAGIARISMTime constraints also add to the pressure to plagiarize. When students feeloverwhelmed by the tasks facing them, they will look for ways of getting theirassignments out of the way. Once again, delivering a product becomes moreimportant than the process of writing and students may be tempted to resort toplagiarism to just “get the work done.”When students are excited about what they arecreating and take pride in their work, they aremore likely to be engaged in the process andless likely to think of a writing assignment assomething to get out of the way. #16
  17. 17. PLAGIARISM One of the most powerful things a teacher can do to prevent plagiarism is to foster students’ confidence in their own writing ability. The best way to do this is to draw out what is in the student rather than impose things from the outside. By starting with a student’s self-expression and then helping the student improve it, the focus is kept on process and the unique expression of the individual. That may seem obvious, but in fact, it is not the typical pattern of writing instruction. Often a topic is imposed from the outside – a topic that the student may not care about at all and have nothing to say about. Then the student is told how to address the topic, to use a particular mode such as descriptive, expository or narrative, to use a framework such asP chronological or comparative, to use a specified number of paragraphs, to use topicP sentences, to provide certain kinds of support, etc. Such writing does not come from withinP the student but is imposed from without. It stifles self-expression and impresses on thep student what a piece of writing should look like, elevating product over process. #17
  18. 18. PLAGIARISMObjections may be flying that students have to be able to write in a certain styleand way for college classes and that is true. But we prepare students to do thatfirst and foremost by getting them to be the best possible writers that they canbe, by working from the inside out and not the other way around. There is another potential objection that should be addressed here as well – that students must learn how to use outside sources properly and how to cite those sources. That is obviously true. Students must learn these important academic skills. But these skills must not be confused with writing itself. #18
  19. 19. PLAGIARISMIf we consider how the instruction of writing istypically approached in textbooks and in theclassroom, we can see that we teachers are, to alarge extent, responsible for the plague ofplagiarism. To combat plagiarism, our focus should be on how students approach the process of writing rather than on perfecting ways of detecting and punishing cheating. #19
  20. 20. PLAGIARISMTips for helping students use their own words and not those of others:  Emphasize process rather than product  Encourage students to tell their own stories and express their own ideas  Help students develop their own unique writing style  Let students practice summarizing events and information in their own words  Provide feedback that helps students develop pride in their own writing  Create strategies for getting students engaged and invested in their writing  Use in-class time for writing projects  Don’t overwhelm students with assignments  Look for ways to tell students what they can do instead of what not to do  Allow as much freedom and autonomy as possible for students to takeP ownership of their writingPPp #20
  21. 21. PLAGIARISM #21