Plagiarism these days is an ever growing problem. According to Unicheck statistics, nearly 58% of students admitted to plagiarizing just in the last year. From simple copy-pasting to using essay mills, – the possibilities are endless. Because of that, more and more institutions are actively seeking effective solutions to the problem. But before looking for an answer, we must take a better look at the question, and try to understand the reasoning behind cheating and ways educators can empower their students and promote better writing practices.
So Why Do Students Plagiarize?
As simple as it sounds, a lot of the time the problem boils down to misunderstanding or simply not knowing the in’s and out’s of what constitutes plagiarism and the ways (and importance!) of avoiding it in your work.
When pressure runs high and time runs low, corners inevitably will start getting cut. Whether it’s the poor time-management on a student’s part or unrealistic expectations on an educator’s one, it’s no secret working in stressful conditions can force anyone to take a path of least resistance.
Unfortunately, even now a big part of the education system still focuses much more on grades and credits than anything else. The outdated equation of scores = knowledge is what continuously pushes students to get that sweet “A” by any means necessary, since from their perspective that’s the end goal, not the skills or experience received in the process.
Lack of motivation
Of course, it would be incredibly naive to assume there aren’t any students who plagiarize simply because they don’t feel like doing the hard work and just feel (or know) they can get away with cheating, so why even bother?
What Can We Do About It?
Explain the basics
It’s incredibly important to have an open and thorough discussion surrounding plagiarizing overall. To expect authentic work and positive results, educators must make sure their students understand the importance of practicing academic integrity and the consequences of not doing so. Educate students on the ways of avoiding accidental plagiarism in their writing, such as proper formatting, citing sources, quoting etc. Forewarned is forearmed.
Help along the way
Don’t underestimate the importance of organizational and time-management skills. A lot of the time students, consciously or not, can run themselves into a corner and as a result resort to plagiarizing as the easiest solution. To avoid this, make sure you’re helping your students every step of the way: help them track their progress and sensibly pace the workload, talk them through any difficulties that arise in the process.
Engage, engage, engage!
Disinterest in studying is a hard beast to fight. Especially in the modern age of constant distractions and overcrowded classrooms. But keeping students motivated is one of the most crucial aspects of stirring them away from plagiarism. It should be a teacher’s number one priority to do everything in their power to make sure their students are engaged and interested. Out-of-the-box assignments, less generalized topics, personalized approach – the possibilities of keeping things fresh and exciting are endless.
Looking deeper into the reasons behind plagiarizing in schools is extremely important. It helps us get a better understanding of the root of the problem and come up with more effective solutions.
And just like education itself, technology also strives to change and improve its’ approach. Plagiarism checking software is far moved on from being a tool of punishment and became a tool of help and cooperation. It reduces teacher’s stress and hassles in regards to big amounts of everyday routine work, as well as helps to polish students’ writing skills on their way to authentic writing and thinking mindset. It saves time and boosts productivity, leaving more space for teachers to engage in and improve on the education process, thus making student success the biggest priority.