Using the Low Ground to Get High: The Pedagogic Value of Teaching Plagiarism
The discourse around plagiarism usually advocates a range of approaches from punitive to developmental. I argue, however, that the practice of plagiarism is a rational response to the complexity of learning academic discourse, and that it presents a student-owned learning asset that teachers should exploit. Instead of suppressing plagiarism as the first resort, its techniques should be taught as a platform for the acquisition of legitimate information literacy practices. I draw on studies which provide evidence of a developmental sequence in the acquisition of illegitimate skills of plagiarism, particularly located in the practice of patchwriting, and argue that this sequence should be positively exploited by teachers.