Culturally Diverse Learners: April 12 - 30, 2010

Video: Plagiarism

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by Kyra Garson -
Number of replies: 2
Hi Gina,
I agree that it is worthwhile to move to a more ethnorelative view, especially in higher education which is rapidly becoming a more international, intercultural environment. Hence our motivation to create the film scenarios: a springboard for dialogue and exchange of best or innovative practices.

The plagiarism / academic integrity piece is really interesting. It tends to evoke emotional responses, particularly from Western educators :) There is a growing number of scholars who are questioning the academy's rigorous defense of our rules and what is considered acceptable academic use of English. Indeed, Englishes is now considered in the plural form. Scholars and students all over the world are using English in ways that might not fit the paradigm we hold so dear, add to that the increasingly contested notion of ownership in the technological age, as well as the uncomfortable questions being raised in terms of not only ethnocentrism, but charges of post-colonialism within international education.

Perhaps we demand that academic writing adheres to Western standards because we are truly convinced that it is the only correct model where others are indeed deficient. It is interesting that we are able to make this claim knowing so little about other rhetorical models and academic discourses, isn't it?

Just a few heavy thoughts on this fine morning :)

Hopefully, you will have a chance to check out some of the resources we posted along with the films on the SoLR site, some of them expand on the above notions (I have more if you are really interested!)

In reply to Kyra Garson

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by Gina Bennett -
Thanks, Kyra! I really **AM** interested to see more. What I would love to see (I haven't looked through all the resources in detail yet though) is a case study or narrative or other resource that illustrates differences in cultural approaches to education. For example, I once read an interesting account of how Asian scholars may think about certain writing approaches which include 'copying' the work of others (shows respect), the collectivist idea of truly shared knowledge, etc. Darned if I can remember where I read that but it was a really interesting glimpse into the [highly-ethical!] thinking of someone culturally different! And I also once read a research report comparing the 'creativity' of Asian schoolchildren when compared to American. The Asian children were taught to copy artistic works very closely when they were young. It was considered arrogant for them to express individual style until they got much older & more technically capable. Interestingly... by the time they were in early adulthood, the Asian students were at least as creative as their American counterparts. I love that kind of thing that challenges our stereotypes!

Ah, and yet a THIRD reference that I can't locate! I remember reading an old Frontier College publication, written to help prepare itinerant educators to work with disenfrancised adult learners. The text advised educators to remember "there is no 'right' English. All dialects are created equal." Of course, academic writing (any writing, really) needs to be clear, understandable... but good English is also not a moral issue!

A long post, sorry blush
In reply to Gina Bennett

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by emma bourassa -

Gina, your post about the creativity reminded me of when I taught visual arts to middle school (gr 6-8) students. The Asians were amazed at the ideas the Canadians had (freedom to play) and the Canadians were astounded by the skill of the Asians (attention to quality). It was transformative to see them learn from each other because they were open to incorporating the different approaches. So, the 'creativity' didn't need to wait for adulthood :)

Does anyone else have some first hand stories to share about engaging in and valuing different perspectives? I believe it was Pat Pattison during the live session that questioned our questioning around plagiarism and invited us to consider why we think that way. ( If I"ve misquoted, please let me know!!)