Plagiarism in the Classroom

Today in class we talked about plagiarism and a lot of issues related to it. I found this discussion and the reading about this, very interesting. Rebecca Moore Howard’s article about plagiarism had some very interesting points in it that I had never thought of before, to me the most intriguing point she made was about how if teachers are not crafting authentic assignments for their students, how can they expect authentic writing from them. She explains how when teachers give the same assignment to a lecture hall full of students each semester there is no meaning behind the assignment besides just getting it done for credit and that this can cause students to be more inclined to cheat. If the teacher cannot take time to change the assignment, or give an assignment that is more up to date and relevant to the class and current events, students may believe that if the teacher did not put effort into it that they should not be required to put effort into it and therefore take the easier route out and begin to plagiarize. I understand where Howard’s thought process for this is coming from, and do believe that in this kind of situation students would be more inclined to plagiarism then if the assignment was one that was more personal to the class or the students writing it. She also talks about how many teachers nowadays just assign papers and then collect them, and completely omit the drafting and editing phase of papers, which can also lead students to plagiarize. I agree with this point as well. I believe that in classes where there is a drafting and editing process, there will be less plagiarism because the teacher or other students in the class will read a draft of the paper and will be able to point out plagiarism to be corrected for a final draft. This idea also ties in with the concept of caring about assignments that Howard made earlier in the article, if a teacher really cares about the assignment at hand and wanted the students to succeed, they would spend time on the assignment and a drafting process.

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