Ireland, Chris and English, John (2009) Let Them Plagiarise: Developing academic writing in a safe environment. In: European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing Conference 2009, 30 June – 2 July 2009, Coventry University, England. (Unpublished)
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This paper considers part of a first year module which has a focus on referencing and plagiarism. In designing the approach to plagiarism education a consideration of learning theories, particularly learning styles and social constructivism, helped in reaching the conclusion that some students may need to experience plagiarism in order to appreciate what it constitutes. As a result, students write an early formative essay on which they receive feedback, mainly but not exclusively, on referencing and plagiarism. As part of this process students learn about why we should not plagiarise and while discussing feedback are encouraged to explain their own understanding of plagiarism. A focus on academic writing is maintained for four weeks until a second formative assignment is completed. The approach has been well received by the students, many of whom indicated that they did not share the institution’s understanding of plagiarism prior to entering university.

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