A. The same reason deans and proffies do.
A. To get to the other side.
Because on some professors, the lies work.
It floors me when faculty - people I respect and trust - tell me with a straight face that they don't use our campus's licensed Turn It In program because their students wouldn't cheat.
How can you "respect and trust" people that are so naive? The only excuse for that is inexperience. Otherwise, your colleagues delusional narcissists, as if they alone are exempt from the scourge.
They have other fine qualities but, yeah, it's odd behavior. I suspect they just don't want to deal with the shit storm that would erupt when they start checking for plagiarism. I fear that they would catch everybody.
Because people who plagiarize are generally not very honest.
I think many of them actually believe what they say (at least given the qualifiers they're silently adding in their heads, sort of like crossed fingers behind the back). We probably need a neuroscientist (working with a psychologist, a philosopher, a sociologist, and assorted theologians) to explain the phenomenon completely (note that I did *not* suggest the inclusion of an Ed.D. or similar).
The Ed.D.'s (or administrator's) answer would be "because you, the professor, are not creating a classroom climate that is conducive to honesty" (or "because you're not engaging them sufficiently," or some other similar b.s.).
This last statement made me sit up and growl. And you've characterized it so perfectly.
Admin-flakes, especially of the upper-echelon Academic nature, will NEVER pass up the opportunity to blame someone other than the paying "customer", especially when it'll also help keep the chattel in line...
My last department head was good for that.The only reason he ever took that job was as way of getting chummy with the dean's office with the intention of eventually taking over. If there was an incident, he always had some excuse for not dealing with it rather than, usually claiming he was busy doing something other than his job. Anything which might show that he was a negligent department head would have ruined his chances for promotion.Fortunately, he was never promoted. If his performance as head was any indication, he would have been a disaster as a dean.
Because they thought they were too smart to get caught.
Or they thought the prof or instructor is too dumb to notice.
Or because they're not thinking, period, either when they cheat or when they try to explain it. As in many other cases, they just say what they think might work in the situation (and/or has worked in the past). There's nowhere near as much thought, or even volition, involved as we tend to assume.
The lie because they think we're fucking idiots like their parents and high school teachers are. And sometimes they are right.
My sentiments, exactly! Fuck!
Or that the prof or instructor won't do anything even if they're found out.
When I catch them plagiarizing and I confront them about it they play stupid and say "I worked on the assignment with a friend so that's why is looks similar." My reply? "You're not stupid enough to believe that. If you were that stupid, they wouldn't have let you into this university. You know the difference between 'working together' and 'blindly copying', and you're still willing to lie to my face, so I am forced to conclude that you must think I'm stupid enough to believe you. Well guess what? I'm not." "Enjoy your zero. Get out of my office." (Yes, I have actually done this on several occasions.)
I'm not a fucking idiot. I teach high school. And when they plagiarize, I give them zeros. And my administration backs me. And when they plagiarize a second time in my or another's class, they take a zero for the course and my administration backs me/us. And they weep. And they moan. But they do not beg, and they do not say it was an accident. And they re-do the fucking paper in my face, and they keep the zero. Then they go off to you and they plagiarize or they don't. It is on them; it is not on me and mine.
"I'm not a fucking idiot." said the person who posted the same thing twice. ;-) I'm teasing in a friendly way of course. To be fair, I don't actually think all high school teachers or parents are idiots, but enough of them are to make the kids turn out like this. I also don't think all college/university professors are necessarily intelligent. Peace to you, Mrs. C.
p.s. If you have a high school admin that backs this, that's fantastic, but I am sure that you realize that your situation is the exception not the rule.
The only time my last department head backed me in a cheating incident happened soon after he took office. Several years later, I had my Ph. D. and his greatest desire was to have me fired. By then, anything the students did wrong was either my fault (because I made it so hard that if they didn't cheat, they wouldn't have passed) or my imagination.This is from someone who told me that he always backed his staff.
They lie because a confession would make them subject to punishment. And they don't know us, so they can't predict what form "punishment" might take, if we're not in a forgiving mood. (Or it may be spelled out in the syllabus, and it is something terrible.)
I have often asked what, exactly, "it was an accident" means in this context. Most of them stammer and struggle and then admit defeat. Every now and then, a brave one tries to shore up that lame answer with some kind of explanation of how cruel circumstances conspired but to leave NO CHOICE other than cheating. Thus, in their feeble minds, it WAS an accident... an accident of fate. Still not buying it, of course, but I have gotten to hear a few ripping (and utterly untrue) yarns.
My students are not entering college with the same understanding of plagiarism that I had when I was a student. For instance, they really do not understand that cutting & pasting text then citing in the reference section is plagiarism. They never learned or (shudder) they were never taught. That's just the American students. Don't get me started on cultural differences related to plagiarism.
Ben, please start on the cultural differences. I have my own observations but I would love to read yours.
I noticed something suspicious when I was a TA for a certain course during my Ph. D. residency. The sessional lecturer told me privately one day that he suspected that some of the foreign students were copying from each other. It confirmed my suspicions when I thought saw one of my fellow TAs doing the work for one of her fellow countrymen.I didn't say anything because I couldn't prove it.
NLAA: I will NOT say if one group is more likely to cheat than another, but I will say this: In my experience when a student does cheat, they almost always cheat within their own group.
I have been taught and, to some extent, I have learned that there are cultural differences that affect students' perception of cheating and plagiarism. In the most general terms, Middle Eastern, Indian and southeast Asian students' concept of "honor" focuses more on the honor of the group rather than the honor of the individual.If you were a student from this culture, you would hang around with your countrymen to study. You would judge your success no only in terms of your own accomplishments but also in the accomplishments of your group. If they lack the ability to pass the exam, helping them succeed is the honorable thing to do. This can include violating the seemingly arbitrary rules set up the by the professor that seem to only focus on individual achievement, not group achievement.Now, this is only to explain what I perceive as their viewpoint. If accurate, it is all bullshit but that's what they are thinking when you seen them all copy from one student or cut and paste a lab report form another student. You might say that foreign students do this because they are foreign. I say that they do this because they are students. Tight knit groups like sports teams or fraternities might establish the same cultural norms.
Ben: I've seen the same sort of warped thinking, and I mention it to the students. "I know some of you want to help your friends succeed, but if they can't succeed on their own then they aren't succeeding at all. You are only succeeding in circumventing natural selection, and weakening the herd."
TNP:I believe the incident I mentioned was a case of one friend helping another. Where they were from just happened to be coincidence. There may have been people in our department who might not have thought so.
NLAA: Okay. Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to say coming from a certain place makes you more likely to cheat. Everybody is capable of cheating regardless of their origin or their cultural background. When I say "group" I mean their group of friends. I'll leave it at that.
Ben, the "glory of the group" makes a lot of sense in light of my experiences. I'll pass that along, if you don't mind.Yesterday, I met with a plagiarist who claimed that she didn't understand how to use quotation marks.
Because they fail to grasp that "an accident" on a highway can leave people dead and put a driver in jail if a court finds them liable for causing said "accident."They think "My Bad!" (or, back in the day, "Mea Culpa!") is enough to wipe the slate clean.And Ben, I have found the same thing -- that some students really, truly, often do not know what constitutes plagiarism. The problem in many of my courses is that THE TOPIC OF THE COURSE IS OFTEN HOW *NOT* TO PLAGIAIRIZE!!!!!
Because they have gotten so used to lying about everything.
Because they suck.
Ooh! I had another deep thought. I watch "Cops" on TV on occasion. The main excuses after being caught after a foot/car chase: "I wuz scared." "I didn't do nothin'." "I only had two beers."These dovetail nicely with the rote excuses done in school. There must be a manual out there somewhere for easy "answers" to one's particular dilemma.
The new all-purpose excuse: "It's not my fault!"
I dunno. I honestly get the idea that they just don't want to admit it face to face. Like they are a little ashamed and want to save some face. Maybe I am wrong. Also, they have just a little too much faith in their tap dancing skills: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c8XLJ9MEhk Ahem. Not everyone can be Billy Flynn.
My my new favorite excuse for plagiarism (in this case, an essay copied entirely from Wikipedia): 'It was an honest mistake.'
They lie because they want to get away with it. It's an impulse that has nothing to do with their assessment of us. In the moment they are caught, they are completely self-centered and just want to escape.
I once plagiarized unintentionally in high school. My teacher gave us the speech about getting lots of research and making notes from our sources before writing the essay. I left it until the last minute so I just propped up my material and started typing. I thought I could write the essay and cite my sources without any problems, no notes needed. I guess what I wrote sounded way too close to my sources. I was given a zero on the assignment and a stern lecture after turning in the paper. It taught me a valuable lesson that day. I have never procrastinated on a research paper again.
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