Saturday, March 21, 2009

Free Stuff

I know now why I've put off grading these English 101 essays. I'm more than half-way through and I have to spend an inordinate amount of time going over their sources to ensure proper attribution. Do Grade 3 teachers worry about plagiarism like we do up here in Grade 13 (a standard joke at our community college)?

When a generation thinks it's all okay to download music, books, software all for free I can tell they haven't internalized that old saying of my friend's: You don't know whose it is, but you know it isn't yours. In other words, if you don't own it, you can't have it. If it doesn't have your name on it, you can't take it home with you unless you pay for it. If you find it, you don't say Finders-Keepers-Losers-Weepers--you try and find the owner unless doing so is completely out of line with the value of the item or where you found it--say a penny on the side of the road.

Perhaps the sloppy scholarship I'm seeing comes from being seduced by the strength of the author's words, which make writing look so easy, so smooth. Maybe the plagiarism is accidental, due to ignorance. Hard to believe that a student can come to my classroom never having heard about plagiarism. Or perhaps it's laziness.

I like a freebie as well as the next person, always lining up at the Clinique counter for my Beauty Bonus. And when my husband goes to a convention I tell him to pick up whatever they're giving away--free stuff is always a good time.

Just not in my English papers.

1 comment:

Artax said...

I've been glad over and over again that I don't have to look for this in a math class. Yeah, I guess they could copy their homework, but since each assignment is worth pennies and by copying they'll fail the exams.... My cheating patrol is reserved to proctoring finals. You know, you should try math. I highly recommend it.