How plagiarism

1st December 2006 at 00:00
What is plagiarism?

Ideas may be free but passing them off as your own is plagiarism. Copying is not educational, so acknowledge your sources.

Why is this a problem now?

It's never been easier to copy from the web. Google plus cut and paste equals plagiarism. People who wouldn't dream of stealing a chocolate bar will copy whole chunks of material from a website and pretend it's their own.

So how can teachers stop information theft?

Try any or all of the following:

* Set appropriate and unique tasks

* Require local references and a specific framework

* Never say, "Find out everything you can about..."

* Don't accept generic answers

* Teach both research skills and the art of good writing

* Encourage drafting and insist you see early drafts

* Look out for unexpected changes in style, vocabulary, font and layout

* Teach methods of referencing and insist they are used. Listing title and author is a good place to start at any age.

Is Google a villain or a hero?

Bit of both. Type a sentence from the pupil's work into Google and see if it throws up an original source. Searching works both ways.

Isn't this just for older students?

No. Teach pupils from the beginning that copying is wrong, and copying is stealing. Princess Michael and Dan Brown have been publicly accused of plagiarism. It applies to teachers too. Time to check those worksheets?

Duncan Grey is author of 100 Essential Lists for Teachers (Continuum)

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now