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Copied or plagiarized work is considered any work that contains the exact words or phrases written by someone else without mentioning the writer. Giving in plagiarized papers is, unfortunately, nothing uncommon for students, especially high school and university students. However, teachers have to cope with this problem properly and try to prevent it from happening or at least decrease the percentage of plagiarized work.
How can you, as teachers, do this?
As teachers, you know that students always look for the shorter and easier way of writing their papers. To speak the truth, you expect that some of them won’t even try to do the work themselves and will send in copied work, hoping that you won’t notice. But, the problem arises when an alarming 50% of your students plagiarize. That is a high percentage of plagiarism at school and it needs to be treated properly. In order to be able to do that, you have to find out what is the reason behind their plagiarizing.
To identify the reason behind the big percentage of plagiarized work, you have to talk to your students openly. Ask them why their works are plagiarized. You might be surprised by the answers you get. There might be students who don’t know or don’t understand what is actually considered as plagiarism, or don’t know how to cite or paraphrase the sources they used for writing their papers.
Once you know the reason, you can devote a few classes to teach them more about plagiarism and how to write plagiarism-free papers. During those classes, you can point out the importance of having plagiarism-free texts and the consequences of plagiarism. In many school students fail an entire course and cannot pass the year, thus falling one grade behind their peers.
You can also suggest or ask them to go through some plagiarism training. If there is such training at your school, it would be great. However, if there isn’t, you can suggest some online courses for them, such as Indiana university plagiarism training, Purdue OWL, Epigeum, and similar.
The best way to teach them about plagiarism is to actually show them how it looks. You can choose several texts, each of them having a different percentage of plagiarism, from biggest to lowest. Point out or mark all the plagiarized parts, and compare them to the original source. Furthermore, you can use those samples to show your students how they can make avoid plagiarism by paraphrasing the content or citing it when possible.
The last thing you should do is teach your students about plagiarism checking. Some of them might not be aware that they can check their papers. Teaching them this is very important because even if they give their best in writing an original text and follow the rules they have learned about paraphrasing, citing, etc., they still might have missed something. That is the reason why they should always check their papers for plagiarism before they give them in.
You can suggest some free plagiarism checking software, such as Plagiarismcheckerfree and use it as an example to show your students that using plagiarism checking software is easy. It would be really nice if you demonstrate the whole plagiarism checking process. You could open the Plagiarismcheckerfree’s website, take some of the plagiarized samples, copy and paste their contents into the bow, and click the button “CHECK PLAGIARISM”. Once your students see that the checking is not difficult at all, they will be encouraged to use such plagiarism checking software and tools.