I Want to be a Plagiarist!

Today on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition, Michael Enright presented an interesting segment called “University Cheating” which looked at some of the issues that lead students to plagiarism.

University Cheating – Woody Allen once admitted that he cheated on his metaphysics exam in college; he looked into the soul of the kid in front of him.

There have always been students who cheat. But it’s everywhere now.

In the US, more than 70 per cent of university students have admitted to cheating at one time or another. In Canada, the numbers are not far off. And with the internet, laptops, cell phones and other new technologies, it’s harder and harder to control.

As university students across the country head into final exams, we look at cheating; who does it and why, how to stop it and the effect that it has on those who cheat and those who do their work honestly.

Is everybody cheating?

Interestingly the guest suggests that collaborative work in high school can be a contributing factor if there is no instruction that moves the student beyond groups to independent learning and presentation of thinking.  While many teachers have suggested that they do teach critical thinking, we need to give students opportunities to show that they can be critical.  Enright’s guest also stresses that teachers have an opportunity to provide some direct instruction on critical thinking when we require students to cite their sources, even class lectures or their classmates.  While this could be taken to an extreme, there is considerable merit in requiring students to document sources and assess the usefulness of sources.  Many schools now have Academic Integrity Review Committees which will provide instruction to students so that they do not continue to cheat, accidentally or deliberately, a significant step to helping our students think critically.  To listen to the segment, click here.

By the way, the title of this post is actually a reference to the Spencer Brown’s song “The Plagarist Song” which is a parody of the Monty Python classic “The Lumberjack Song”.

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About Chris Hale

Teacher, parent, husband, fan of tech in class. Have eventually become a runner.
This entry was posted in Critical Thinking, resources and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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