Last week I arranged a workshop for novice teachers on “Blooms Taxonomy”. Instead of giving them a three-hour lecture on taxonomy I engaged them in a story through Socratic approach. The teachers nicely completed the three levels. However, they found the fourth, fifth and sixth a challenge. The end product of each group had chunks of other stories. The reason behind such situation was lack of exposure to such environment and the opportunity to think out of the box which leads a person to copy other ideas. Such act in educational world is considered plagiarism that is associated with crime. Plagiarism means, using someone else’s work or idea without acknowledging the author or source. Nowadays it has become a serious issue which needs serious attention and action by the educational institutions. Students at each level are continuously engaged in plagiarism; they simply take ideas and work by reading and hearing during lectures and incorporate them in their academic writings without any acknowledgment or salutation. Moreover, such attitude also affects their future career and work as well.
The major reasons of committing plagiarism are our schooling system. In schools, the students are being taught through rote memorization and banking concept of education that hampers students’ creativity and critical thinking.
It strengthens its roots from early schooling, when the teachers simply mark the answers from the text books, encourage and force the students to memorize it word by word. This develops the habit of reproducing the memorized words as their own, thus making plagiarism as necessary evil in their academic career. Moreover, one who memorize and write the answers word by word are always appreciated and esteemed by the teachers and score good marks. Teachers and school management force the students to memorize the given knowledge word by word for good result. Teachers in school have kept blinkers on students’ eyes thus restrict their critical thinking and creative abilities.
Another major reason that promotes plagiarism is the fear of failure and the desire of getting good grades or marks. Students with pressure from their parents for good marks and fear of failure take step for plagiarism. Furthermore, time management and study habits are fading among students lead them towards academic dishonesty.
Here a question arise, how can we reduce plagiarism and encourage students to avoid such evil that hinder their critical and out of box thinking?
The answer is teaching strategies and assessment techniques. The school and teachers should find ways that can engage the students in inquiry, research, problem, project-based, collaborative work and self-learning. Such technique will not only change the classroom environment, but students mind and creativity as well.
In nutshell, one cannot claim that strict rules will stop plagiarism fully, but we can help the students to avoid it by knowing our responsibilities as an educationist of a country. The school from beginning should make such rules that help them to avoid plagiarism and promote critical and creative thinking. It is the moral responsibility of a teacher to discourage plagiarism. The teachers should avoid rote memorization and use transformational mode of teaching. This will help the students to discover their inner potential fully and develop critical thinking that ultimately will bring creativity in their work.
The school should change the examination system by developing creative questions that encourage students to share their own views, concepts and think out of the box.
Einstien nicely said, Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think. lets take a pledge to provide a changed environment for promising result.