Teaching Quoting, Summarizing and Paraphrasing: The Cure for Plagiarism in the ESL Writing Class

Plaister, Theodore
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In any discussion of the teaching of writing at the tertiary level to nonnative speakers of English the subject of plagiarism eventually surfaces. Teachers express concern over the fact that they continue to find varying degrees of plagiarism in their students' papers. In the final analysis, the subject of plagiarism is much like the weather: Everybody talks about it, but not too many people do anything about it except for the strict disciplinarians who give failing grades when they discover instances of plagiarism in their students' work, those who caution their students about the evils of the practice, and the handful that actually devote time to teaching the skills of quoting, summarizing and paraphrasing. A quick survey of a number of texts on writing (for both native and nonnative English writers) reveals that, surprisingly, most contain no references to either plagiarism or paraphrasing. Exceptions are Sunderman (1985), Adams and Dwyer (1982), Oshima and Hogue (1983) and the best of these, Hamp-Lyons and Courter (1984). An appendix in Fowler's The Little, Brown Handbook (1980} provides some useful information on both plagiarism and paraphrasing for Ll writers. The skills of summarizing and paraphrasing are especially important in the writing of literature reviews or bibliographical essays. Thus, there is little question that L2 students need to learn how to paraphrase and summarize if they are to write acceptable papers free of plagiarism.
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