There have been many scandals in politics over the years but this one is quite funny? discouraging? outrageous? All of the above! In an article written by Darina Gribova (Global Voices, 2016), 52 Russian politicians have plagiarized in their publications and so have « a suspect or blatantly fake academic degree« . That’s one out of nine! And these are the people ruling the country… I would love to examine closely the publications of our Canadian politicians. Wouldn’t you?
Would you want a heart surgeon who plagiarized to operate on you? Or have a teacher for your child who cheated while in teacher training? An article in the University World News by Brendan O’Malley (January 2016) exposed the growing number of plagiarism cases in the UK. One executive interviewed was quoted as saying that cheating « devalues the efforts of students who work hard to achieve their degrees. It also damages the student who commits the fraud as they will not benefit from the research and learning experience« . The finger for the rise in plagiarism is pointed at essay mills and foreign students in the article as the principal culprits. All of the people interviewed explain that cheating is dealt with very seriously in their institutions but nobody mentions what is done to prevent it…
What will students do to avoid plagiarism? Using automatic paraphrasing according to an article in Plagiarism Today (Jonathan Bailey, 23rd of March, 2017) produces sentences that « barely make sense » yet more and more students rely on it. Basically, what the tools do is swap words for synonyms with results like this sentence » The cat rode on the boat » being transformed into these: « The feline used the ship./ The tabby floated on the trawler. / The calico sailed on the vessel. » The author mentions that this is cheating. I don’t agree because the students can use the tools to paraphrase and give their reference. This is not cheating. However, the outcome is that students, while not plagiarizing by coping and pasting, are still not learning how to write proper sentences.
If you are curious about trying an automatic paraphrasing tool, you can go to this website: http://www.goparaphrase.com/.
Sheila Forsman-Bierman, published on Nov 13th 2016, a blog posting on why kids cheat at school and how parents can prevent this behaviour. She explains three ways parents can help their children.
Discuss why cheating is not OK
Setting the right example
Be active in the learning process
While the blog is short and does not offer miracle recipes, it is a first step all parents should take to ensure that there children do not cheat in school. If all parents did this, I bet there would be a lot less problems with this type of behaviour in schools…
In an article in The conversation, published on May 13th 2016, Ritesh Chugh explains how « Students are using ‘smart’ spy technology to cheat in exams« . Spy cameras, watches, glasses are for sale all over the web and advertised as cheating tools!
Are teachers expected to become detectives?
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