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Educator Gives Tips on How to Detect Plagiarism Before It Starts

Educator Gives Tips on How to Detect Plagiarism Before It Starts

Detecting plagiarism may be hard for some teachers, but there are ways to stop it before it happens. 

So says Cheryl Mizerny, a veteran educator with over 20 years experience in an article on In the blog post, Mizerny offers ten steps on how to "prevent plagiarism before it begins."

The first tip, Mizerny said is to "discuss the idea of plagiarism on a personal level."

"Have a conversation about how annoying it is when someone copies them on a superficial level such as hairstyle, clothing, catchphrases, etc," she said. "Then, take it to a deeper level and discuss how they would feel if someone stole the product of their hard labor. Perhaps even share some current plagiarism scandals in the news."

Another tip Mizerny offers is to "explicitly teach the skills of paraphrasing and summarizing."

"It is not enough to tell students to 'put it in your own words' or 'don’t copy' because many don’t know what else to do," she said. "It doesn’t have to be boring. For example, they enjoy when I challenge them to take a couple of paragraphs of text and summarize them in exactly 12 words."

Mizerny recommends for teachers to "break the assignment into chunks and have required check-ins", and "most importantly, design assignments utilizing higher-order thinking skills and creativity."

"When students are required to explain, problem solve, evaluate, hypothesize or compare, it is nearly impossible for them to find this kind of assignment online from which to borrow," Mizerny said. "To illustrate: rather than writing a biography of a president (a sure recipe for plagiarism), have them write a mock letter to the post office or the White House persuading officials to designate a new stamp or holiday to be held in that president’s honor due to his many accomplishments."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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