Saturday, February 18, 2012

Plagiarism Detection in School

The act of plagiarism has been invading works and inventions of literature for centuries, and although it is not a crime, the consequences of such offenses have been growing tremendously within the past few years. Many academic institutions have been subscribing to Plagiarism Detection Services (PDS) like, in an effort to address and eliminate such dishonesty inside classroom. In most institutions, plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and results in anything from a failing grade to expulsion, permanently blemishing a student’s record.  Such punishment is, in most cases, nothing less than devastating to not only students’ academic career, but also their will power to succeed in school.

Unfortunately, some of these plagiarism cases are missed teaching opportunities. If an individual copies an idea, let alone specific words of an original work, it is considered plagiarism. Our students must understand the difference between solely paraphrasing a work and paraphrasing and then citing a work. When using sources to support, enforce, or strengthen his or her writing, the student should always provide a citation of the source and enclose their words inside quotation marks to avoid plagiarism. 

Many times, students grasp at quick fixes simply because they are not comfortable with the research process. If a student is taught the proper technique of planning, writing, and citing then the temptation to commit literary theft diminishes.  Writing, like all other subjects, must be practiced, rehearsed, and nurtured to ensure growth and expertise.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Relieving Some of the Pressure for a Student with ADD/ADHD

The classroom environment can be a challenging place for a student with ADD/ADHD. 

Concentrating, sitting still and listening quietly, are the tasks that these students find most difficult to do yet they are required to do all day long.  It is important as a parent to communicate with teachers to ensure they understand how your child learns and work together on strategies that will best aid in their academic success. 

Working with your child on their organizational skills is essential; a daily routine of going through their backpack, folders, and binders keeps them organized.  Color-coding of folders/binders can be helpful for the student who has difficulty remembering what they need in each subject.  Requesting an extra set of books to be left at home or having access to online textbooks can be a lifesaver for those students who repetitively leave their materials at school.

An academic planner/assignment book is a tool that all students need to incorporate into their daily routine.  Teaching your child to utilize a planner in the correct manner, not only writing down assignments but then creating a check list at the end of the day that is looked at and crossed off to insure proper materials are brought home will significantly increase their productivity.

Homework routine is essential for your child’s success, selecting a time and designating a specific quiet area away from distractions will greatly increase their productivity.  Tackling homework in a step-by-step routine helps the student feel in control and less overwhelmed. 

A child is more receptive to learning when they feel good about themselves, at home and at school, especially when they can see the results of their efforts in a positive way.

Reward and Punishment, Good Idea or Bad?

A common, yet misconstrued belief among some teachers and parents is that the act of rewarding or punishing a student based on educational performance is a key motivational tool inside and outside the classroom. However, studies show that students who are lured into doing something for a reward are less likely to do it again if no reward is offered. Moreover, such research also proves that punishment can often evoke a feeling of defiance and anger in children.  The once popular conception of reward and punishment is being overshadowed by the proof that such actions could produce an inverse, or opposite, effect.

In addition, some psychologists believe that the most effective type of reward is giving praise. Praise and positive reinforcement that is directed towards a specific assignment or task assists the student in evaluating themselves. Receiving praise and positive feedback emphasizes that success is directly related to the amount of effort the student puts into their work.  Praise is a tool that is helpful for the student to assess themselves and help them set educational goals.

Ultimately, students will become more independent learners if their motivation is not reliant on punishment and rewards, but rather on the praise that results from a job well done. This concept will reveal to students that the amount of effort they put into their work and educational success are directly related.