For Teachers

Four Ways to Prevent Plagiarism

By The Room 241 Team November 10, 2012

For centuries, some students have taken to trying to find the easy way out while still making the grade. Plagiarism has long been a prevalent problem in academics, but the advent of the Internet has made plagiarism prevention even more difficult than ever before. It is important for teachers to stress the importance of students doing their own work while also teaching them exactly what constitutes  plagiarism. In high school, digital work is becoming more and more common, and this often makes plagiarizing written work easier. These tips can help teachers prevent plagiarism in their classroom.

4 Ways to Prevent Plagiarism

  1. Create a schedule for the paper-writing process and stick to it. Students often procrastinate and when they are under a time crunch, and plagiarism is an easy way to complete the work without ruining their evening of fun with their friends. To prevent this, teacher should set up deadlines for specific parts of the paper. For instance, an outline should be due one day, and a week later have a first draft of the paper due. Spend a day doing peer edits, and then have the final draft of the paper due a week after that. This ensures that students take the time to do their own work.
  2. Teach the difference between paraphrasing and plagiarizing. Students know that paraphrasing is common in research papers, but many do not realize if they have paraphrased too much or not enough. Teachers should make sure exercises are done in the classroom where students are taught to paraphrase quotes and other works, as well as cite those sources properly. These practice exercises will help students better understand exactly what it means to paraphrase, and they will be less likely to unintentionally plagiarize a paper for that particular class.
  3. In addition to turning in the completed paper, teachers should ask students to give a brief oral report on what they wrote. Some teachers prefer not to tell students about this report, because then it becomes obvious who spent the time writing their paper and who may have copied their work. Students who truly researched and wrote their own paper will have no problem reciting what it is they wrote about to the entire class, since they will have put a significant effort into writing the paper.
  4. Another tactic that can be used to ensure students do not plagiarize is giving a pop quiz to the students once the papers have been turned in. The pop quiz can consist of questions such as what was the argument in the paper, what sources were used to find supporting information about the topic and asking the students what they gained from writing the paper. The teacher should then compare the results of the quiz with the actual paper itself. It will be quite obvious to the teacher if the student does not know any of the information about his or her own paper.

It can be a difficult situation for teachers to deal with when plagiarism is discovered. However, it is important to remember that students do need to be disciplined accordingly. Many teachers give students an automatic failing grade for plagiarizing. In addition to this, teachers need to explain to students that while a failing grade in the classroom is one thing, companies and employers have no use for plagiarism in the real world. Students need to understand that there are grave consequences for plagiarizing, and the country’s culture truly values people who put their own work into any given project.

In addition to plagiarism prevention, teachers need to utilize resources once projects and papers have been turned in to make sure no plagiarism has taken place. With high school digital projects on the rise and students becoming more and more tech savvy, it becomes easier to take the plagiarism path. Teachers need to know how to check to see if student’s work has been copied as well as know what warning signs to look for when they are grading papers. There should be strict policies and guidelines for dealing with students who do plagiarize.

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