Why Do Students Plagiarize?

One instructor deals with plagiarism by looking at the root problems, such as a lack of confidence or time management skills. It’s occurring once more. Before my eyes reach the period, I sense the sentence structure on a subdermal level and know I’m dealing with plagiarism. “The memories triggered by the song prompt Odysseus to weep, and, though he attempts to disguise it, the king notices and distracts the audience by suggesting they begin an athletic competition,” a short Google search reveals that this statement was not written by my ninth-grade student.

My pupil can read every word in the paragraph, but I know what this writing sounds like, and this isn’t it. My search brings me to Course Hero, where “his” words may be found. I send the student an email with a link to the webpage and invite him to come in and talk about it. He answers courteously, but insists that he has never visited the site. He says, “You may look into my computer history.” I made an appointment with him.

I’ve found strategies to reduce plagiarism in my 20 years of teaching, but I’ve yet to eliminate it. Plagiarism irritates me not just because it is unethical, but also because it makes me feel like I am failing in my teaching.

The Council of Writing Program Administrators highlights a number of factors that contribute to plagiarism, including students’ fear of taking chances in their writing, a lack of time management skills, and a disregard for the assignment and documentation requirements.

Building students’ confidence in their writing, developing abilities to deal with school stress, encouraging investment in the task, and instilling an awareness of plagiarism and attribution are all necessary steps in addressing plagiarism. I have authority to solve these concerns since I am a teacher. My answer to plagiarism takes into account four factors that influence a student’s decision to plagiarize.

Pleasure With One’s Own Words

The lumpy, inelegant tone of their writing can drive students insane. They read the words of someone with a lot of expertise, and they sound a lot more natural. They might try substituting a few synonyms or just copying and pasting the text into their manuscript. In justification of a copied paragraph, a student once claimed, “That’s what I was going to say anyhow.”

Before they can write like a tenth grader, I tell my pupils that they must write like a ninth-grader. The key is to continue writing in their voice and using their terms. There are no shortcuts available.

I hope that if I compliment my pupils and utilize gentle approaches to guide them, they will have faith in themselves as writers. If my reaction causes them to doubt themselves, they may lose trust in their voices and seek out the opinions of others.

The Assignment’s Market Value

Stringing one’s thoughts together can be difficult, especially if pupils aren’t initially invested in their ideas. When given “generic or unspecific” tasks, “students may assume they are justified in hunting for prefabricated replies,” according to the Council of Writing Program Administrators.

The student in the previous case had copied the “generic” summary element of the paper, not the “thinking” piece.

I wish to introduce pupils to Homer’s epics and help them grasp the importance of summaries in literary writing. In their reading, I want students to look for patterns and themes. Was this the greatest approach to teach these skills through this assignment? Offering a mini-lesson on the summary, on second thought, would have changed the monotonous aspect of this job into an opportunity to hone a vital skill. Recognizing my unintentional cooperation is critical in reducing pupils’ temptation to cheat. Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O’Dell argue in their book Beyond Literary Analysis that students’ analyses are more lively and real when they are motivated by the passion and authority that comes from writing about their areas of expertise.

Discovering Roadblocks

The plagiarized student had missed class and turned in the paper late. I mentioned that the text he had chosen might be available in a variety of places and that I was more interested in why he had used it rather than his own words.

We focused on the student’s perceived hurdles while addressing why. I gave him a quick lesson in summarizing, and he immediately put it into practice. We spoke about attribution and came up with a list of attribution tags. I applauded his response when he offered “ask for help” as a technique to deal with the stress of confronting past-due homework. He said he’d rewrite the summary for me.

Plagiarism: A Guide To Understanding

Students may not always comprehend how authors employ the ideas and language of others. Understanding attribution and citation is a vital skill to have when it comes to preventing plagiarism. A colleague challenged students to create a map for To Kill a Mockingbird’s setting.

A student meticulously redrew one she saw on Google, oblivious to the fact that she was supposed to make the map using the book’s textual material.

Our pupils’ perceptions of copying may differ from ours, especially in this age of rapid-fire reposting and picture sharing. P.L. Thomas, an education professor, says in “Of Flattery and Thievery: Reconsidering Plagiarism in a Time of Virtual Information” that helping students comprehend plagiarism necessitates setting a framework for defining terminology, formulating norms, and establishing penalties.

No two instances of plagiarism are the same, yet they always provide an opportunity for both the student and the instructor to learn. In the case of Odysseus, I decided to award him half credit for his paper. Aside from the stolen first paragraph, I argued, his analysis demonstrated sound thinking and language. In a nutshell, I admired his work. I informed him of the consequences of future plagiarism, which include disciplinary action at our institution. Although this was one of the semester’s last pieces, I plan to follow up with him next fall, explore the difficulties he described, and remind him that I am his ally on the path to becoming a good writer.

About the article

Academic misconduct is committed by students who are fully aware that their activities constitute plagiarism, such as copying public information into a paper without source credit to claim the information as their own, or turning in work produced by another student. In this article, we have discussed the main reasons why students plagiarize.

Carter Martin

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