I hate people who plagiarize.

…Oh, wait; let me rephrase: I wish people who plagiarize the worst.

Call me cruel, spiteful, or even demon-teacher. Sorry; I can handle illegible handwriting (with too much hair-pulling along the way) or badly constructed sentences/paragraphs (with an aspirin on the side). I can take irrelevant responses (and read it with too many facepalms) or ideas spiraling into the drain of doom (with red marker ready to paint all over the black and white).

But cheating? Nope. Plagiarism? Zilch.

And believe me if I say that should I have my way, I will kick any plagiarizing student out of my class until the doomsday (and perhaps beyond, God help me).

 

So what is plagiarism anyway? Coming from the verb to plagiarize, Oxford defines it as the act of taking someone’s work or idea and using it as one’s own; while Merriam-Webster’s defines it as the act of stealing someone’s idea and passing it off as one’s own, or using one’s ideas without credit.

So what’s the big deal?

  • I saw this on TV last night and I thought it was good but I changed some bits and adapted it with my own idea. So it’s not really taking the idea as my own!
  • I forgot that I read it before! I just thought it was an interesting idea during brainstorm and didn’t realize that it was someone’s idea!
  • I didn’t know that someone else did something like this! Maybe it’s the other person who plagiarized me.
  • …Whoops! So it’s not allowed?

I guess having a clear perspective helps: stealing is stealing. Even though culture-wise it can be a nightmare trying to convince people that something as intangible as an idea can be stolen. Then again, imagine passing over an idea that turned out to be the invention of the century… by someone else.

Yes, I did write a fanfiction back when I was in school and passed it to my English teacher for a writing assignment. Apparently, my teacher did not know anything about it, but I actually felt worse when he gave praise over my work. And the experience is one of the things I wished I’d never done in life.

We all heard the consequences of plagiarism, from the score 0 (zero) to getting one’s self kicked out from a course and even losing a job and forever having one’s name tainted. I thought I’m being kind if I give my students zero (with a pokerface) personally for plagiarizing/cheating.

Hence it becomes an utmost importance of being aware of this issue.

 

But then hearing the issue coming from a teacher who assesses students’ work without realizing it was a big question mark on my side. Yes, I realize that none of us know too much of those random information. Especially with everything readily available for anyone to access, it’s just a nightmare trying to identify which one is original and which is a plagiarized work.

So how can teachers raise their awareness?

I don’t know; personally I read all sorts of random information on a whim (which happens much too often, shuddup). And while I can’t tell everyone to follow my example (because it’s kind of a waste of time truthfully), I guess as teachers we really have to be sensitive of our students’ work still.

Particularly when it comes to a “creative” work.

And believe me when I say that I-don’t-know. Have a very broad knowledge just about everything? Is it a good idea? Or just be ignorant of our students’ work, as long as they’re doing all the work?

 

But everything else aside, something has to be done about letting students copying theories for their research paper. Or posting http://www.google.com/ as one of the references.

And please don’t get me started on Wikipedia.