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Teachers and students grapple with copying problem

By Crystal Martin
Roncalli Central High
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

At Roncalli, like many other schools, copying is a problem. In almost every course, a student or a group of students copy homework and assignments from other students or copy pages from the Internet for language reports without giving credit.

They are passing it in as their own work and that affects their grades. Teachers find it hard and
frustrating when they correct work because they must ask themselves,"Did this student do his or her own work?"

Aurele Beaupre is a senior high language teacher. When students pass in assignments or reports he knows that at least a few of them have plagiarizing.

"Students who take someone else's information from the Internet and claim it as their own is not only plagiarizing, but committing a crime," he said.

To combat this problem, Beaupre asks students to pass in references including HTTP addresses for websites they've visited.

"This is necessary so that teachers can look up these references and ensure they are giving credit where credit is due," Beaupre said

Janet Olmstead, a senior high math teacher, has had to fail students for copying complete assignments and homework.

"I find it frustrating when students submit work that is not their own. It is important to identify areas that the students struggle with, but when students copy, you are misled into believing they know their material," she said.

"It is difficult to completely stop students from copying, from a teacher's perspective. It has to come from the students - they have to want to do their personal best," said Olmstead.

As principal of Roncalli Central High, Mazie House is troubled by how many students copy.

"The greatest tragedy of students copying is that the teacher believes the students know their work, and doesn't offer extra help because they think the student already knows the work," she said.

"Teachers can be vigilant when correcting but only the students can really change the way they work. They have to realize what this costs them in terms of their leaning. Only by doing their own work can they improve."

Two students, who wish to remain anonymous, said the reason students copy is that "they're too lazy" and "they copy because they have other homework and we can't do everything at the same time."

Should teachers have stricter punishments for copying assignments and homework? Is the overload of homework really the problem? One thing is for sure, this has to stop. Students are denying themselves their education and a chance to learn.



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