Plagiarism across the World: How EC Boston English learners can avoid a sticky situation

Plagiarism is not a universal concept. In the United States and most of the Western world, plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized and or unacknowledged use of someone else’s intellectual work, which we find dishonest and academically weak. However, in other cultures the reuse of ideas or writing created by another person is not viewed as wrong, and research containing only copied work may be completely acceptable. Even within the English speaking community defining and catching plagiarism is difficult. Differentiating between public knowledge and something you read last week in Scientific American magazine can be hard!

EC Academic Assistant Renee 'doing lines' on the board in a style borrowed from The Simpsons' theme song animation.
EC Academic Assistant Renee ‘doing lines’ on the board in a style borrowed from TV show  The Simpsons’ theme song animation.

An article displayed in The Internet TESL Journal titled “A Different Perspective on Plagiarism” goes into some detail about the ways different societies treat use of another’s work (Also, there’s a good example of citation for you!). One of the central points in the article is that ESL learners must learn the academic standards around plagiarism as part of their English learning journey, just as much as they need to learn to use articles or idioms. Especially for our Academic Year program students who are intending to go on to university, it is extremely important to know the academic standards you will be held to by your professors. Ask your teachers if you have questions!

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