The “Plague of Plagiarism” Solution

While reading “Forget About Policing Plagiarism. Just Teach.” by Rebecca Howard and hearing my classmates’ thoughts, I discovered a new perspective on plagiarism and cheating that I had never thought of before. I learned that classmates are not the only perpetrators of plagiarism- some teachers play a role in encouraging this type of behavior as well. It is unfair for teachers to constantly expect new, creative, and individualistic work when they do not give this kind of work themselves. The article states that teachers even gloat about how easy it has become to spot plagiarism because of technology advancements. If they feel and share such excitement about how easy it is to catch cheaters that they gloat about it, I question why they would not understand their students’ excitement over how easy technology has made it to do the actual cheating. Building upon that, if they could understand how easy it is to cheat nowadays, why do many teachers assist this process by recycling their same work and assignments year after year? Instead of assigning tasks and activities that make their students think for themselves and express creativity and interest, the same untailored, basic questions are brought about for multiple years in a row, no matter who the students are, how they learn, or how society grows. As the article states, “We expect authentic writing from our students, yet do not write authentic assignments for them”. I believe this is where the entire “plague” sprouted. If teachers, being the role models of the classroom, put in more effort and interest into the class work, students will reciprocate by giving back that same kind of respect, attention, and original effort. As a result, the teacher-student bond will be more beneficial for both sides of the relationship due to the heavier challenges and richer accomplishments involved.

Google’s Advantage

Before reading Carr’s article and our class discussion today, I thought research had shifted from hard cover books to Google because of the laziness and impatience of our generation. Instead of reading through page after page to find one piece of information, we want to type in our question and have a mind-boggling list of answers right in front of us. While this, in my opinion, is both a valid reason to shift research sources towards Google and a major example of our laziness, I believe there are more reasons our society is now drawn to the Internet to read or complete any research. Studying Carr’s article and hearing my classmates’ opinions about the topic of whether or not Google is making us stupid brought different, valid perspectives into the light.

Many people find comfort in some one thinking for them and hearing just what they want to hear. The Internet caters to that fact, monitors users’ interests and locations, manipulates what ads and links pop up while reading on Google. As an example, when I first got to Rome, I checked in my location on Facebook and, unsurprisingly, an hour later, as I went to go check my Gmail, an ad for the “10 Bests Places to Visit in Rome, Italy” popped up on my screen. This certainly caught my attention and I found myself scrolling through various tourist attractions I had the chance to look into. In his article, Carr states “They [media] supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought”. When Google caters to our interests and shapes our way of thinking, it naturally pleases the user and makes any types of reading or Internet usage enjoyable. On the other hand, books are concrete in that their material is permanently printed for any audience, no matter one’s age, gender, or interests. This impersonal technique of research makes the process less interesting for the individual and the less attractive option for research. Google’s advantage is that they can make anything personal for any user, and we feed off of this manipulation.

Rhetoric in Art

Studying and becoming part of Italy’s history for the last few weeks has undoubtedly brought about my new appreciation and interest in all forms of art- their paintings, architecture, music, fashion, etc. Last class, I found one certain point of the discussion to be very endearing and made me question multiple famous works of art we have seen this trip. Does rhetoric have a presence in art? My smaller group and most of the class believed yes, of course there is rhetoric in art, proved by the pieces we have seen in museums scattered around the city.

Famous artists throughout history used their projects and masterpieces to express their opinions or views on certain events and people. For example, as we walked through the Accademia Gallery, Isabelle pointed out how Mary was depicted in multiple ways in accordance to what the artists thought of Mary and how they wanted others to see her. In the earlier paintings, Mary did not have many relatable features, such as bone or body structure. This technique the artist purposely worked upon ensured that the public could not look at Mary and see themselves within her. The artist wanted his audience to think of Mary as someone higher than them, someone that is so extraordinary, that no average person can relate to her.

However, as time went on, Italy was more open to presenting Mary as a more human-like figure. In later paintings by artists, Mary had breasts, body shape, and more realistic facial features. This is a strong form of rhetoric because the artists are manipulating how their audience sees Mary in hopes of influencing their opinions and beliefs.

 

Rhetoric in the Educational System

I was shocked to hear in class that a significant number of people believe rhetoric should be cut out of our education system. Every time we engage in a conversation where our thoughts or emotions are involved with the goal of influence, we are engaging in rhetoric. Clearly, this type of talk is a huge component in most people’s every day lives, which is why I believe rhetorical studies should remain in the education system. As stated in the textbook, “rhetoric achieves clarity, awakening our sense of beauty, or bringing about mutual understanding”. As Sophists offered rhetorical studies, they took pride in their ability to teach the proper care of others’ personal affairs so all could manage their household and States affairs well. These skills allow people to improve upon their own life quality and help others gain new perspectives as well.

Rhetoric is intertwined with the technique of persuasion, which is used in the majority of people’s day to day lives. As the textbook suggests, one example of a common use of persuasion is in romance. As we attempt to seem appealing to someone we are attracted to, we construct a case of our positive qualities. Additionally, most business transactions and any form of negotiation, which many people make a living off of, all require persuasion efforts. As humans, we even persuade ourselves into believing or thinking certain things, also known as internal rhetoric. If rhetorical studies were to be cut out of the educational system, students would never acquire an understanding the background behind conversations they take part in every day or how to improve these conversations at all.