[LETTERS to the editor]Plagiarism pervasive in school system

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[LETTERS to the editor]Plagiarism pervasive in school system

I am writing about an issue that I have been following and discussing with colleagues. I am an English language instructor in South Chungcheong province, teaching in public elementary and middle schools.
Plagiarism seems to permeate the whole school system. I have observed students wait for the smartest student to complete an assignment and the rest copy his or her work and take credit for it. Teachers do not seem to encourage students to do independent work.
In one of my middle school classes I gave my students an assignment to summarize and write their opinions about a newspaper article. Only two students wrote summaries in their own words. The rest copied word for word parts of the article without marking quoted material. A co-teacher told me that is what the students understand to be a summary. That is how I learned that students are not taught how to reference materials, and that passing off someone else’s work as their own is acceptable. I was told that referencing is not taught to students until they start college. In this age where intellectual property is such a high commodity, it is important to teach students to do independent work and give credit to work done by others.

by Faith Fishley
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