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Can you own words? Discourses of plagiarism in Swedish schools
Pupils aged 14-17 in Swedish secondary schools were interviewed about the use of source texts in English alongside examples of their own writing in which they had synthesized information they had located during a web search. The pupils’ texts contained easily identifiable phrases or longer units from the source texts. The pupils’ teachers & High School teachers were also interviewed. A phenomenological analysis of the interviews revealed an understanding of copy-pasting that differed markedly from the teachers’ understandings of the same practices. The pupils’ opinions were mostly based on the pedagogical reasons given by their teachers to explain why they should not copy other people’s work, rather than on ideas related to the ownership of ideas. The teachers primarily understood the activities in terms of cheating and laziness. The mismatch between the teachers’ instructions, the pupils’ understanding of the instructions and the teachers’ interpretation of copying behaviour results undermines efforts to teach ethical source use.

plagiarism, adolescent learners, EFL, on-line reading, patch-writing

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