Intercultural Communications IG Panel Tackles Plagiarism

May 19th, 2015 | By | Category: IC-IG, Interest Groups
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Jennifer Hirashiki


—The CATESOL Intercultural Communications Interest Group addressed the cultural implications of plagiarism in a panel discussion held on April 4. Three educators with varied intercultural experiences led the panel. The session started by defining plagiarism and how it is viewed in an American context. The panel and audience examined how fear of inadequacy, culture, and our teaching practices contribute to student plagiarism.

As a group, we discussed how in collectivist cultures, ideas and writing can be seen as a more communal property, while in the individualistic US, written work and ideas are seen as a personal property that needs permission (citation) to use. This pattern of thought leads us to the discrepancies that ESL teachers encounter when expecting students to treat plagiarism as those who have gone through the Western school system. One of the panel members spoke about her own confusion and fear of text ownership when coming from Thailand to attend university in the US.

We ended the session with a few things to consider when it comes to setting up our students for success in academic writing. The use of graphic organizers, lessons over citation format, practice with research, and getting students to understand how to correctly strengthen their own opinions with references are all ways to introduce and guide students through good academic writing processes and skills.


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