The Evil Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a scary word. From the very moment I began to learn what it was, teachers and other school officials treated it like a crime worse than murder. In high school, we always had to use Turnitin.com, no matter what class or assignment. If you got more than 8% on the check, you got called up to the front of the classroom and had to arrange a meeting with the teacher to discuss it. It was terrifying. It made me try and phrase my sentences in unique but unnecessarily wordy and complicated ways in hopes that nothing would get picked up by the site. We would brag to each other about how low our percentages were. This environment was not conducive to learning at all. While it did discourage students from plagiarizing, it made us into criminals, like Howard mentioned in her essay. Making students into the villains often can make them hostile and untrusting toward the school faculty, making the environment in the school hostile instead of one that fosters personal growth and learning. Like Howard said, teachers who are truly worried about plagiarism should be helping their students as they write the papers, not just giving the assignment and grading it when it is turned in. That encourages plagiarism and if there is no effort on the part of the teacher, there will be no effort on the part of the student.

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One thought on “The Evil Plagiarism

  1. Katie, your post caught my attention right away with the way you talked about your high school experience and plagiarism. My high school was the same way, as we too used turnitin.com and bragged about how low of a percentage we got. It became this kind of competition, but not for the right reasons. While, I feel like websites like that are a good concept, they were just never executed properly. They were not able to calculate the correct percentage of plagiarism, and as you said, left students terrified. Plagiarism is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in the classroom, but as Howard discussed, maybe there is a better way.

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