Towson Spark: March 31, 2011 - Jennifer Langdon: Plagiarism a Teaching Moment

Uploaded by TowsonUniversity on 20.04.2011

[ Inaudible ]
>> Good evening, my name's Jennifer Langdon, and I am also
from the Department of Sociology, Anthropology,
and Criminal Justice, and yes, we say all three, and I'm going
to talk to you tonight about plagiarism as a teaching moment.
So what you see behind me is my class, one of my classes
that I'm teaching this semester, and I just use them
as an example of the kind of learning and why I went
into kind of the relationships I want to create with my students.
Most of them, I think, look happy,
and then what you see now is what sometimes comes
between those positive relationships
in that great environment in the classroom,
and that is what I call Google cut and paste phenomenon.
Of course, plagiarism, academic dishonesty,
takes a lot of different forms, but regardless of the form,
what it does do is it creates an adversarial relationship
between the faculty and the student.
Suddenly, as faculty, we become the accusers, and as students,
we're on the defensive, it merely shoots a hole [inaudible]
of what I think is a positive teaching environment.
So, what I'm going to propose
to you tonight is actually an innovative, social technology
that I want to deal, that I want to present,
and that is the circle, the power of the circle,
how do we use a specific restored [inaudible] processes,
many of which use the circle to deal with cases
of academic dishonest.
So, I'm going to ahead and circle to a square,
and use this diagram, which is called the social discipline
window, and it talks about how we discipline people in society
on two axes, accountability and support,
and it creates four quadrants.
I think that the way we deal with most kind
of rule violations, including academic dishonesty,
would be at this two [inaudible] quadrants,
where we hold people accountable,
but we aren't necessarily giving them the support they need
to change their behavior and make better choices.
I think sometimes we also deal with academic dishonest,
I know maybe the Provost doesn't want to hear this,
but we ignore it, we, we pretend it's not there,
or we deal with it ourselves, et cetera, et cetera,
and I also think sometimes we make excuses for our students,
we provide them with a lot of support and say,
this is why they did it, but we don't hold [inaudible]
in that way, we're not holding them accountable.
So what I want to suggest tonight is that we try to get
to this fourth quadrant, this with quadrant,
which is called a restorative quadrant because it's all
about restorative justice.
And where we sit down with our students who we've accused
of academic dishonesty, and we discuss how to move forward,
so what you see here is a little [inaudible]
without restorative justice is some of the key words,
and I'm going to be talking about some of the principles
of restorative justice, as well as some of the specific forms
that restorative justice takes.
Restorative justice [inaudible] circle,
think everybody is held accountable, everybody has a say
in the solution, and everybody talks about how to move forward,
so this is what a community conference looks like.
Community conferencing is a particular form
of restorative justice where people sit in a circle
without a table in the middle, it's facilitated
by a neutral third party, and it's usually used
in criminal incidents, you can see on the inside there,
this is what an academic dishonesty community conference
would look like.
It would be a facilitated circle between the accusing professor
and the accused students,
each of those folks are allowed to bring supporters.
And, basically how community conference goes, there's a,
a script, or a template, and we ask, what happened,
what was the student thinking when they committed the act of,
the act of academic dishonesty,
did they know they were committing it,
were they desperate, were they stressed?
And then we hear from everybody in the circle,
how people have been effected by that act of [inaudible] that act
of academic dishonesty, the professor, it creates more work,
it makes -- I know it makes me depressed.
The student -- other students in the community,
how does it violate the community of trust.
And then in the third stage of the conference,
you talk about how do we repair the harm that's been done,
how do we make it right, or as right as you can,
while still holding the student accountable.
And then finally, probably the most important,
how do we prevent it from happening again,
because we want our students --
we know our students will make mistakes, we make mistakes,
how do we get back to this positive, lovely,
wonderful, I make them smile...
[ Laughter ]
>> Classroom that we want to have, where we're learning,
and where we're partners in learning,
and we're collaborators of learning, and not adversaries.
So, thank you.
[ Applause ]