Most students in our schools and universities are not familiar with the concept of plagiarism and/or copyright. Therefore, introducing the idea of academic integrity to learners is a challenge that most teachers face, particularly if the concept is uncommon or hardly emphasized in the learners’ earlier stages of education. Unfortunately, many teachers fall into the trap of the behaviorist learning model (of reward and punishment) in order to teach the idea. In other words, they start their lesson by showing their students the heavy academic penalties they will pay if they were caught plagiarizing or adopting other people’s ideas without proper referencing. While this approach seems reasonable in the way it highlights the serious consequences of violating academic ethics, it hardly helps students understand the real message behind such policies. By creating a negative atmosphere of threat and expulsion from school, students are intimidated by the concept of academic honesty and start thinking of it as a mere punishment tool. In my opinion, teachers should demonstrate to students the moral and intellectual values behind submitting authentic papers rather than copied ones. He/she should show their learners how creating one’s own piece of work is a source of both self-confidence and self-respect. Students, hence, learn to take pride in their own creation rather than passively depending on others. They also learn how their authentic work can be a source of inspiration to others who follow their path and choose the hard way of producing their own work instead of stealing it from others. Our learners can, hence, grow into productive and independent citizens who are capable of achieving success on personal, professional and intellectual levels.
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