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5 Ways to Teach Students About Plagiarism

As a teacher, you may already know what plagiarism involves, but the same can't be said for students. For this reason, you may need to dedicate time to talking to your students about plagiarism.

Plagiarism has been a significant problem in academics, and the internet has made it even more challenging to eradicate the practice and easier to identify. Educating students on plagiarism and the importance of submitting original work is essential. Even though every classroom has its unique situations, here are five ways you can teach students about plagiarism and promote academic integrity.

1. Define Plagiarism and What It Entails

Most students know it's wrong to submit someone else's work and claim it as their own. For this reason, plagiarism can either be accidental or intentional. But either way, you need to emphasize what plagiarism is, the different types of plagiarism, how to avoid it, and why they should avoid it.

Ensure you talk about plagiarism at the beginning of the school year, even if you're teaching a senior class that has probably heard about plagiarism before. By doing so, the students will understand what's required of them and the importance of honest work.

Let your students know the types of plagiarism you've encountered and how you dealt with them. Begin by explaining the common types of plagiarism.

  • Complete Plagiarism: The act of a student passing off an entire text authored by someone else as their own work. Students should know that complete plagiarism is intellectual theft and has dire academic consequences.
  • Direct Plagiarism: A type of complete plagiarism whereby a student copies a section of someone else's work and pastes it into their own work. Let your students know that direct plagiarism is a serious type of plagiarism and an academic offense.
  • Self or Auto Plagiarism: When students submit their previous work for assignments in different classes without permission from the teachers involved.
  • Accidental Plagiarism: A student unintentionally paraphrases a source without attribution or misquotes their sources.
  • Mosaic Plagiarism: Students who create their text by stitching together parts from different sources commit mosaic plagiarism.

2. Guided Practice

After teaching your students what plagiarism is, ensure you teach them how to correctly cite their work using library databases and online citation creators. Also, help them understand paraphrasing and how to avoid unintentional plagiarism when paraphrasing.

To ensure they've understood what you've taught them, create an original assignment and ask them to submit the assignment in a reasonable time. After your students submit the work, check for instances of plagiarism and rectify them if need be.

3. Help Your Students Detect Plagiarism

There are several forms of plagiarism, and some are easily detectable than others. Teaching your students how to detect all forms of plagiarism can help prevent plagiarism in your classroom.

You can teach them how to use plagiarism checkers to detect and remove plagiarized sections from their work. Some of the common plagiarism checkers on the internet include:

  • Turnitin
  • Grammarly
  • Quetext

While some plagiarism checkers are free, you may need to subscribe to a paid plan to use most tools.

4. Build an Inclusive Positive Classroom Climate

Studies have shown that students are less likely to cheat if they have a good relationship with their instructor. To reduce the acts of academic dishonesty in your classroom, it's essential to build an inclusive and positive classroom environment.

Students who have a strong relationship with their teacher are likely to ask questions they have upfront rather than cheating to pass. On the other hand, if the classroom environment is not inclusive, a student may decide to plagiarize their work to get good grades instead of asking for help from their teacher.

5. Create Strict Policies for Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a grave academic offense that shouldn't go unnoticed or unreprimanded. After teaching your students what plagiarism is, it's essential that you communicate the consequences and set them into motion.

Students must understand what is expected of them, whether a school-wide or departmental plagiarism policy. It's highly advisable to put the policies in writing and provide your students with a copy.

Final Thoughts

To avoid plagiarism in your classroom, students need to know what plagiarism is, the importance of submitting their original work, and the grave consequences of plagiarizing. Come up with strict policies and guidelines to deal with students who plagiarize their work.

Written by Steve Ndar
Education World Contributor
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