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Monday, October 17, 2005

All my own!

What is plagiarism? Ajay, who writes for the Manila Bulletin's Technorama (I couldn't establish the link at this time, sorry) section featured the Blogkadahan members about their take on the issue which appeared on Sept. 25 issue. Here, the blogkadahan members were one in defining the word, albeit said differently, and condemn the practice as it is very unproductive.

Anyway, one of the greatest sins a student can do during his lifetime is to plagiarize. Plagiarizing is the act of passing somebody else's work as your own. This can be in the form of copying actual words or ideas. Merely paraphrasing the sentences is a form of plagiarism. In this day and age of computers, to plagiarise is so tempting. Why not? All you have to do is "copy and paste"! How many high school students have done that? I guess a lot. But that doesn't make it right. Plagiarism is a crime which teachers should be conscious about in checking what the students submit to them.

Sometimes, students miss the point. What is important with research work is not only the substance you learn from the information gathered but more importantly, the learning of the process. Data gathering is an art in itself. One has to gather enough materials so as to be able to form a substantial conclusion. i don't know how teachers give the assignment but if I remember correctly, my teachers used to say, "Okay, make a research on the life of Jose Rizal... Compare and contrast his life with that of Andres Bonifacio... and then those powerful, USE YOUR OWN WORDS."

Honestyly, at the time, I didn't exactly know what that meant. I have heard those words quite often that it kind of lost its meaning. Since there are high school students reading this (I hope) I'll try to do it using a metaphor. In making your research, picture yourself as having seen a film and narrating the entire story to a friend. Now, I'm sure all of us have done that, right? You see a movie that you really liked, you tell your best friend how you liked the film. You are ecstatic. First you tell him/her a summary of what happened in the story. How the protagonist was beaten up at the start and how good triumphs over evil in the end. Then, you realize your friend does not yet share your enthusiasm, so you give comparisons like, "Yes, it's better than Harry Potter I and give reasons why you think so!" Then, if you have more time and you have a good listener, you go on deeper. You analyse the film. you talk about the persuasions of the characers - "IN YOUR OWN WORDS"

Well, in making your research, the books that you read would be the film. You synthesize these, compare the points where the authors agree and take note if there are conflicting accounts, make up your mind and write about what you think it is all about. Should you need to copy a phrase, do not forget to cite the source. You could either use footnoting or incorporate it in the text. ex. George Bernard Shaw (1956:p. 10) said: "I dream of things not here today and wonder why." (note, the year and page is bogus)

Remember, education is not really all about Math or Science or whatever subject there is. More than anything, it is about teaching you how to think! In like manner, research is not only about learning the content, what is more important is learning how to do it. hope that helped.

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Blogger BatJay said...

tama ka bossing - PLAGIARISM is probably the most serious offense a student could commit. i know it's not that enforced in the philippines and a lot of students copy work of others.

5:31 AM  
Blogger BatJay said...

oh - and it's a good thing you blogged about this. it's time a teacher talks about this.

5:32 AM  
Blogger sophie's fair said...

c'monn preach it! plagiarism only creates an atmosphere of mediocrity. it's high time kids learn how to tap their God-given talents and rise above the ordinary.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Do the teachers teach students how to do research? I did this paper when I was in 4th year HS and when we went to UP, one of my friends/groupmates told me that what our former teacher taught us is actually... wrong.

Is it okay for teachers to teach students how to do the process of research as well as how to credit the sources (i.e. using MLA, APA, AJA styles)? :)

9:21 AM  
Blogger Naomi said...

Learning to write is learning to think but not necessarily building it upon the works of others. You're very right tito Rolly. I applaude your insights.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous eibee said...

i think my batchmate should read this :P

7:46 PM  
Blogger Rache said...

hello tito! :)

just dropping by after being gone for so long....

8:09 PM  
Anonymous ruth said...

eh, paano nga ba ituro ang tamang pamamaraan ng pananaliksik? instead of just saying what NOT to do, how do students learn what the right way to do it?

12:02 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Batjay O di ba mortal sin yun sa academe? Actually ineenforce namin sa school yan e. The thing is, naituro ba ng tama? That is the whole reason for this blog. To find a better way to teach the importance of originality in making research.

sophie That's it. We do not want to create a nation full of mediocres.

Angela We used to have Technical Writing in our school. Supposedly, this will prepare the high school students in the proper way of conducting research.

Minsan kasi, we try to start them off even at the elementary level e. Some teachers wouldgive out research work daw, but in reality, students would just copy and paste sim;ly because what is needed is the information. Sana hindi nila tinatawag na research paper ito but just plain assignment. Kasi students would tend to think that that was research and they continue doing it in high school thinking they were doing the right thing.

Of course meron talagang sadyang tamad lang. And that's unforgiveable.

Naomi Thanks. Yes, writing is thinking. As a matter of fact, in everything we do, we should always do it together with thinking. We eliminate too many errors that way.

Eibee I just hope they do, too.

Rache Hi Ms. Working girl? How's the career? ARe you going back to school to pursue another career? I hope you do! You're young and you've got a long way to go.

Ruth My real purpose for this blog is to find a way to teach research using language that young people can understand. Just saying "use you own words" doesn't work, it seems.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Ley said...

Just finished a research paper on "religious art". Most tiresome days of my life...

but so glad its over. Yeah my professor told us about that before we started.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Ley said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:36 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Ley Good for you. So, what aspect of religious art did you study? Baroque?

2:51 AM  
Anonymous sis said...

i tell students that in most cases, it helps their argument when they acknowledge--using proper citation-- other people's works. it indicates that they have read/studied other people's views before creating their OWN thesis.

also--most students do not realize that from the other side of the table, teachers can easily detect plagiarized work.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Ley said...

Byzantine, not really on specifics just more on the history and stuff. :)

7:21 PM  

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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

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Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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