My son and I are leaving our small town in southeastern United States to live for a year in a small town in southeastern France. It couldn't possibly be THAT different, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2012


    I had an interesting cultural experience in the teacher's dining room the other day when I asked if there were sites where one could type in a student's work to see if it had been plagiarized.  You could have heard a pin drop as all of the teachers looked at me.  Mais, pourquoi?  When I explained that I thought that a student had copied and pasted entire passages of a report since the other parts were so poorly written compared to those in question, they said, "Well, at least he made the effort!"  Honest to God!  The assistant principal was there and had the same thought.
    The opinion of the table was that the child could have just handed in any old thing without going to the trouble to do an internet search.  Instead of giving him a zero or even taking off points, they recommended that I write on his paper that I would have preferred the same quality of writing throughout.  They did not mean this, but to me that sounds as though he should have just copied and pasted the entire paper!
    I am sure that there is intolerance of plagiarism at some level in France, but I have not had the time to investigate it thoroughly.  Perhaps they just do not start talking to students about it as young as we do in the US.  Or maybe it depends on what type of paper is being written.  Anyway, I guess that I do not have to be vigilant about checking sources this year.  Honestly, that's kind of a relief.  


  1. Probably depends on the school where you teach. At my school, I check on the Internet to find the sources that were copied, print them, highlight the passages both on the sources and on the copy and only grade the passages that are the student's. Trust me they don't do it again

  2. Good idea. My students are young so they are still learning what is acceptable and unacceptable. The second time I encountered plagiarism in a different course, I did exactly the same thing as you. I also gave them the opportunity to rewrite the paper and turn in their own work. No one took me up on my offer, unfortunately.