Revolution Lullabye

May 12, 2009

Howard, Standing in the Shadow of Giants

Howard, Rebecca Moore. Standing in the Shadow of Giants: Plagiarists, Authors, Collaborators. Stamford, CT: Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1999.

Howard advances a new theory of authorship that contests current understandings of plagiarism and the construction of the student-plagiarist-criminal. Patchwriting, a term she coins for writer-text collaboration (likened to imitation, mimesis, re(formation)), is not a cheating behavior that should be punished and labeled as plagiarism. Rather, it is a necessary and acceptable way of learning, a method used and endorsed throughout history as a way for novices to learn the langauge needed to enter a discourse community. Students who patchwrite in their essays and papers with the intent of understanding difficult texts, of learning, not deceit, and are doing something all writers do – collaborate with texts – except that these novice students aren’t as adept at covering their traces as professional authors are. Her theory of authorship stands in opposition to the notion of the autonomous, original author and seeks to disrupt the liberal cultural hierarchy that maintains the current power structure that has an interest in keeping students, the masses, from finding a voice. Howard argues for a pedagogy based in summary-writing as a way to teach students what patchwriting is (and to use it towards pedagogical good) and ends the book by calling for a revision of current college plagiarism policies.

Quotable Quotes

definition of patchwriting = “copying from a source text and then deleting some words, altering grammatical structures, or plugging in one synonym for another” (xvii)

“The inclusion of patchwriting in the category of plagiarism denies students opportunities to become scholars” (xx)

“The prospect of decriminalizing patchwriting causes seismic disturbances in composition studies” (xx).

“We do not write alone, and often it is texts, not people, with whom we collaborate” (8).

Patchwriting is “a discursive operation not against the source author but toward the content in which the operation occurs” (19).

Need to teach students “how to manage their patchwriting in ways that are stylistically sophisticated and academically acceptable and that contribute to the writer’s understanding of the source text” (140)

“Let ‘patchwriting’ describe the act of enthusiasm in which students collaborate with their source texts for the purposes of understanding them and entering their discourse. Let us respond pedagogically to that phenomenon” (166).

Notable Notes

four properties of authorship: autonomy, proprietorship, originality, morality (77)

move from neutral mimesis/originality binary to a hierarchal plagiarist/author binary

do not conflate plagiarism and copyright. Copyright is state regulated, legal norms to protect the individual author. Plagiarism rules are locally regulated, societal norms to protect a community….you can change plagiarism rules without changing copyright law

there is allowable plagiarism – ghost-writing, Teflon, great-wit, postmodern (104) also traditions of African American folk preaching, non-Western education and rhetoric, digital hypertext

long list of theorists, philosophies: Locke, Descartes, Hobbes, Foucault, Addison, Emerson, Wordsworth, Edward Young, Bahktin, Quintilian, Plato, Homer

plagiarism dectection software: “This technology would freeze and reassert the notion of authorship in which writing is unitary, originary, proprietary, and linear, and in which the text is the locus and sole arbiter of meaning” – not allow for meaning in context, in the reader, in the author’s intent (131)

patchwriting has a ton to do with reading comprehension (cognitivist) and entering an intellectual community (social constructivist) (145)

Her breakdown: plagiarism – act of intention for deceit (buying a paper, on-purpose-cheating); failure to cite – failing to cite out of ignorance of academic citation conventions; patchwriting – a transitional stage

both failure to cite and patchwriting are pedagogical opportunities, not occassions to terrorize and punish students.

trying to rid patchwriting from students is asking them to be less complex, polyphonus, and honest & true

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Whiteman and Gordon, The Price of an ‘A’

Whiteman, Sherri A. and Jay L. Gordon. “The Price of an ‘A’: An Educator’s Responsibility to Academic Honesty.” The English Journal. 91.2 (November 2001), 25-30.

This article begins with a short piece by Whiteman, a high school English teacher, where she laments students as unethical, plagiarizing cheaters and calls on teachers to rally against them and those who allow rampant Internet cheating to happen and profit. She is countered by Gordon, a college professor who argues that if students were given more specific assignments that were difficult to plagiarize, a lot of the cheating would, by necessity, disappear. Whiteman answers Gordon by saying the kinds of assignments teachers give are to prepare them for future work in the academy and, good assignment or not, students should behave ethically and not plagiarize.

Quotable Quotes

“The invaluable benefits of abundant access to the information superhighway have been outweighed by its ability to create non-thinking, non-reading patrons of plagiarism” (26).

“How do we as educators reconcile our ability to teach effectively with our students’ ability to cheat and steal without our knowledge?” (26)

“Students do not plagiarize in a vacuum” (27)

Notable Notes

Whiteman gives up, says she should only focus on the “potential of my more ambitious and honest students” (26)

high school v. college perceptions on the issue

still demonizing, infantilizing students

investigate the problem – what can teachers do to prevent plagiarism? Is changing the assignment enough? What about schools’ overreliance on papers, essays, to evaluate students? Are their too many grades? (mine) connection to what plagiarism is – is it all about students being unethical?

it’s not about baffling, bewildering, upsetting, disheartening teachers. it’s bigger than that (me)

May 10, 2009

Kessler, Helping High School Students Understand Academic Integrity

Kessler, Kate. “Helping High School Students Understand Academic Integrity.” The English Journal. 92.6 (July 2003), 57-63.

Kessler, a high-school-English-teacher-turned-assistant-professor, argues that students approach cheating in college differently than in high school for three different reasons: 1. punishments in college are more severe than in high school 2. what constitutes cheating in college is different (and more ambiguous) than in high school and 3. college students act more ethically, independently, and responsibly toward their academic work than high school students. She offers several suggestions for high school English teachers to help their students understand the differences in academic honesty and ethics they will encounter in college, claiming that the students will be best served when the expectations remain consistent and high.

Quotable Quotes

“While high school teachers are rightfully more nuturing and less punitive than college counterparts, students respond like any other life form: constant reinforcement is much more effective in producing a desired behavior than intermittent reinforcement. Consistent adherence to academic integrity in high school prepares students for academic integrity in college” (59).

“Teaching students how to avoid plagiarism by citing quotations, paraphrases, and summaries is a fairly simple endeavor” (61)

Notable Notes

cheating is rampant in high school, largely because of the competition associated with getting high grades and high ranks to get into college

cheating is more than plagiarism – cheat sheets, writing vocab words on something, collaborating with the class on multiple-choice answers

collaboration  v. collusion

plagiarism = unauthorized use of someone’s own words, students need to cite everything, even a roommate’s phrase or term

assignment ideas – bring in a college professor, research college honor codes

February 7, 2009

Howard, “Collaborative Pedagogy”

Howard, Rebecca Moore. “Collaborative Pedagogy.” 54-70.

Howard, tracing the rise of collaborative pedagogy to Kenneth Bruffee and open admissions policies, explains several kinds of collaborative writing and learning used in the composition classroom: collaborative learning (the kind that happens in whole-class or small-group discussion); student collaboration in solo-authored text (through peer workshops and writing groups), collaborative writing assignments, and the collaboration that happens between a writer and text when a writer engages in source-based writing. Collaborative pedagogy contends the romantic notion of the solitary author, instead foregrounding the inherent social nature of language, meaning-making, and knowledge. It provides a social context for students to think and write in, flattens the hierachy in a classroom(which empowers students), and models the kinds of writing tasks students will have to do in the workplace.

Quotable Quotes

Writer/text collaboration – “re(formative) composition” that allows students to play with the language in sources without worrying about textual ownership issues: it could have “the potential for expanding students’ linguistic repertories and increasing the authority of their academic prose voices” (67).

Movement “away from a normative solitary author and toward an appreciation for collaboration” is necessary for the acceptance of and success of the pedagogy in the eyes of the discipline (56)

Notable Notes

Bruffee’s 3 principles: 1. thought is internalized conversation 2. writing is internalized conversation re-externalized 3. collaborative work is establishing and maintaining knowledge among a community of knowledgable peers.

Rorty – social-constructivist, knowledge is a “socially justified belief”

Ann Ruggles Gere; Kris Bosworth and Sharon Hamilton; Diana George, Marilyn Cooper, and Susan Sanders; Chet Meyers and Thomas Jones; Lusford and Ede; LeFevre, Glynda Hull and Mike Rose; Mary Minock; Keith Miller (African-American preaching)

With collaborative pedagogy, a teacher needs to discuss methods and problems of collaborative learning before the assignment, have the sutdents commit to a timetable and schedule, prepare for dissent and conflict, discuss the grading policy, and allow room for minority opinions/counterevidence in the project.

Question of plagiarism and cheating

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