3 Strategies for Combating Plagiarism
- Provide students examples of real life plagiarism and discuss why citation is necessary (like Fareed Zakaria).
- Research is about the process rather than the end product - give students time to practice reading, summarizing, and citing.
- Require citing online content.
I agree with these, particularly 2 because I feel as though if you make the research part of the graded process then you can catch plagiarism earlier and “correct” it before you get to the final stage and you feel conflicted about giving an F for plagiarism because that would make the student’s grade implode. Also, it teaches time management and deadlines and makes the process and learning the process as important, if not more important than the final result.
Number 3 is the one I have an issue with because I’ve taught about plagiarism and reliable sources and citing things you find online and I’ve still had students plagiarize, even though they knew what to cite and how to cite. Number 3 is a given, not a solution, because I don’t know of a teacher who teaches citations who wouldn’t include anything found on the Internet, especially in this day and age of online journal articles and other online scholarly sources. I would include instead that teachers should create essays that require the students’ opinions and are not easily Googled. I realize that this puts the burden on the teachers and that it’s not always possible, but I feel that if the essay or research topics are based on the student’s interests then both the teacher and student benefit because the teacher won’t have to read the same essay over and over and the student will feel more ownership and interest (hopefully) because it’s something the student chose or thinks.
Overall, teachers need to go over plagiarism every year and schools need to have academic integrity policies in place with a set series of disciplinary actions. I know that the public schools here don’t have a section on academic integrity in the student handbook section of the planner, which tells me that they don’t take it very seriously, or as seriously as… DRESS CODE. (I mean… come on… seriously?) Even if the students get tired of hearing the lessons on plagiarism and citing things, they can’t then say that they didn’t know they were plagiarizing thus making it okay. That was my mentor teacher’s reason why I couldn’t give a student a zero for plagiarizing… Can’t give a zero for something I didn’t cover but had been covered in their English class… because apparently you can plagiarize in social studies and not in English… but I digress. Students need to be taught about academic integrity and how to not plagiarize and how to recognize plagiarism. It needs to be built into the curriculum at all levels in all classes.