Feature : Views From Learners: Why Do Learners Plagiarise?

Complied by Azahar Ahmad Nizar (azahar_ahmad@oum.edu.my)


So far, we have heard from the academics and tutors about the issue of plagiarism. What about the learners themselves, often at the receiving end of accusations of plagiarism? Here, some learners share their views on why plagiarism happens among them.


TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN

Basically, there should be no compromise or leeway when it comes to plagiarism. Having said that, I have observed that learners are sometimes put in a situation where they are forced to plagiarise. The main reason is the learner’s inability to understand the subject taught by the tutor during face-to-face sessions. This causes a lot of diffi culty for the learner because he or she does not have the luxury of time to properly study the modules provided by OUM.

At the same time, the learner’s inability to manage his or her time properly may also contribute to plagiarism. At the last minute, the learner would only be thinking about submitting the assignment on time, never mind making sure that the references are properly cited.

As a BEMATH learner, I fi nd that assignments are useful because they help us prepare for the fi nal examinations. It also goes without saying that BEMATH learners are unlikely to be found guilty of plagiarism because mathematics questions require application and problem-solving to derive the answers. Surely the learner won’t fi nd the answers in a mathematics textbook!

Noraisah Binti Separi
Bachelor of Education (Mathematics) with Honours Petaling Jaya Learning Centre



THE ART OF THINKING

For some, education today is not so much about the pursuit of knowledge as it is about the pursuit of paper. When getting the necessary grades becomes the be all and end all of education, is it any wonder then that students would seek the speediest and easiest route to securing it? Learning is a lifelong exercise of connecting dots, and as each dot gets connected, new ones come into view. In order for these dots to get connected, students must be taught at a very early age the art of thinking, which is inextricably linked to questioning.

However, the reality is far removed from the ideal. Instead, they are often fed facts and directed to the desired conclusions by their teachers. When older, these learners show an inability to think for themselves. Unable to gather and analyse information, they are reduced to being casual observers, sorely lacking the ability to look beyond the obvious.

When tasked with assignments that require original thinking, they are like fi sh out of water. Unable to analyse other people’s ideas and weave them into their own argument, they resort to the easy way out, reproducing someone else’s work as their own. Plagiarism, although risky, provides an easy solution. In the short term, these students may proudly feel that they have cheated the system. In the long run, they will discover to their horror that they have only cheated themselves.

Azra Banu
Bachelor of English Studies with Honours Kuala Lumpur Learning Centre

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I can educate my learners about the wrongfulness of plagiarism by:

setting a good example i.e. not committing plagiarism myself in the notes or materials that I give them
 
teaching them the correct way to quote references in their assignments
 
explaining to them the difference between original work and plagiarised work
 
severely penalising them whenever they hand in plagiarised work
 
 
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