What is plagiarism? Plagiarism, like cheating, is an act that directly challenges the concept of intellectual honesty. It occurs when a person….
hands in someone else’s work as their own. This applies to direct presentation of someone else’s work, a paraphrase of their work, or even direct inclusion of turns of phrase from someone else’s writing. In these instances, the plagiarism is most likely intentional.
cites sources improperly. Again, this applies to direct quotations, paraphrased ideas, and even turns of phrase. In these instances, the plagiarism may well be unintentional, but it is still plagiarism nonetheless.
What is the significance of plagiarism, within the K-12 classroom context?
Through intellectual honesty, appropriately recognizing and crediting each other’s ideas, we not only substantiate each other’s work, but together provide a stronger basis for the development of future ideas.
Plagiarism, whether intentional or not, directly works against principles of intellectual honesty.
We must actively foster intellectual honesty among our students if they are to become “caring, creative, self-reliant and contributing members of a knowledge-based and prosperous society.” (Alberta Education)
Intellectual honesty is at the core of advancement in academic scholarship at post-secondary and professional levels. For this reason, plagiarism at the post-secondary level is not tolerated and is subject to severe penalties.
Educators at the K-12 level must create environments for learning within their classrooms that openly promote and support the culture of life-long intellectual honesty. If plagiarism or cheating occurs at any time, consequences can include a course of action that will not only discourage future infractions but also educate and support the student in engaging in more appropriate behavior in the future.
Although meeting intentional (or even non-intentional) plagiarism head-on with punitive measures drives home the point that intellectual dishonesty is not to be tolerated within our culture, this might not address the larger issue of how students can learn to share their ideas with pride and with confidence, with the understanding that mutual knowledge construction is a good thing.
To promote intellectual honesty in K-12 classes is to promote courses of action consistent with the larger ethical values that drive our evolving society.
If you are a teacher or student concerned about plagiarism, this section of 2Learn.ca can provide you with some teacher-tested strategies and other practical resources
to explore and honor the reality of mutual knowledge construction
to minimize the chances of plagiarism tempting your students
to deal with students whose work you suspect of being plagiarized
to support students in the responsible use of web and other resources
to provide students with note-taking and paraphrasing techniques
to support students in proper citation of resources