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Plagiarism in education

In education, plagiarism is an ethically and multifaceted complex problem. Plagiarism occurs when a writer uses someone else’s ideas, language and material deliberately without acknowledging its original source. To exclude any possibility for a student to plagiarize, several things can be done. First, instructors should earlier on encourage students’ ethical behavior. A deliberate and conscious effort by instructors to create environments, which encourage ethical behavior, is possible. Creating an environment of ethical behavior can start when instructors design courses to improve students’ skills, knowledge and abilities. A use of a plagiarism checker might facilitate the creations of such environment. Moreover, courses should challenge students to grow, learn and develop. It is the ethical responsibility of teachers not to waste students’ effort, time and money. Plagiarism may be tied to decreases in teachers' standards. Simply put, if teachers are severely limiting course content, assigning perfunctory assignments or using test questions that do not reflect the real coursework, then students might see no benefit to going beyond the demands of the instructors and engaging in difficult and honest work of learning. Instructors can reduce the number of plagiarism cases by taking a close look at their own practices. For example, instructors who issue the same assignments every year might unintentionally invite students to plagiarize. Students might view such assignments as inauthentic and thus, find the dishonest or easiest way of completing them, especially if no plagiarism checker is used by an institution. Thirdly, instructors should require multi-drafts of their students’ essays in order to dissuade them from borrowing or buying papers. Doing so will make plagiarism more trouble than it is worth. For instance, requiring and assessing preliminary drafts allows instructors to coach the students more efficiently while monitoring their progress.

Western educational system can be reformed so as to leave no space for eventual plagiarism by considering several factors. First of all, colleges should stop relying on primitive ‘gotcha’ plagiarism checker since such websites fail to distinguish between unattributed copying and quoting from sources. These free checkers blur the distinctions between downloading a whole paper and omitting quotation marks. When the different degrees and forms of plagiarism are attended to, and when the scale of students intentions for plagiarizing is considered, teachers can take a more proactive, mentoring role with regard to their students; learning. A downloaded paper is normally not tolerated. However, the less blatant form of plagiarism such as direct quotations, and unattributed quotations treated as paraphrases can be prevented by use of a reliable plagiarism detector to produce raw data later being thoroughly examined by a teacher.

Many cases of plagiarism result from honest confusion over the standards of proper citation, therefore, instructors may more successfully combat the plagiarism problem by spending more time instructing students learn how to avoid it. Instructors should also teach note taking to students so that they can learn the differences among paraphrasing, summarizing and directly quoting source material. Schools should also consider making plagiarism an assignment topic. Doing so will put authority and plagiarism in the context of ethics and rhetoric. Schools should offer students’ help in avoiding plagiarism, for instance, when to credit sources, what to avoid, making sure their papers are ‘safe’. Schools should also provide their students with exercises to help them understand and avoid the drawbacks of plagiarism.

There are great differences in the penalization of discovered plagiarized work with the use of a plagiarism checker, depending on the (high) school and severity of the offense. In the USA there are relatively often so-called Honor Boards, whose members are themselves students. This decision-making body composed of the group of nearly peers is responsible for evaluating and punishing students caught plagiarizing. As an advantage not to deal with members of the teaching staff, the closer proximity of the peers to the live world and thus a more realistic assessment of the motivation and the risk of recurrence of the delinquents.

Without a doubt, schools should require more effort from teachers in plagiarism detection and prevention. Instructors should thoroughly discuss and define plagiarism in class; students should not merely rely on warnings in course syllabuses or college policy documents. Instructors should also discuss hypothetical cases in respect to discipline documentation conventions and have their students practice revising plagiarized writing passages. As mentioned, instructors should also require multiple drafts of all essays and ensure that their students submit photocopies of passages they have used from sources.

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