Addressing Plagiarism

Amirah Leigh Mahdy

Hampshire College TESOL Certificate Course

One activity that I could attempt to do with my ESL students is to provide a funny scenario where a student has plagiarized their paper but he/she/they don’t know how to fix it. The scenario can go like this:

This is Mikayla.

Mikayla just received her research paper about the Civil War from her teacher. It said in big, fat, red letters, “REWRITE THIS PAPER IMMEDIATELY.

PLAGERISM!” Mikayla did not understand what plagiarism meant so she looked it up on Google. Then she realized that there were dire consequences if she does not fix her paper. But she doesn’t know what to do? Can you help her?

This scenario can be modified but I will provide the same scenario for all of the ESL students and they will work in pairs on how to solve it. The students will have to figure out by peer reviewing “Mikayla’s plagiarism” by having a copy of her research paper. One element they will have to look at is the works cited page and see if the citations were correctly formatted. Another element is the ESL students will have to look at it to see if the quotes were cited correctly. Also, another element is correctly the paraphrasing ideas from her sources. I will have the books that “Mikayla” cited so that the students can create citations and paraphrases that are correct for the paper. They will have a quick guide on hand on how to cite correctly for MLA or APA format (depending on the ESL student’s level of English). After revising, the students will have gained skills on how to cite correctly especially for future papers they have to write for other subjects. As an ending activity, “Mikayla” will be put in an “epilogue situation” where another student plagiarizes her work and this can become a reflective activity for the ESL students to think about how they would feel if someone plagiarized their work.


Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. M., & Snow, M. A. (2014). Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (4th Ed). Boston, Mass.: National Geographic Learning.

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