Reducing plagiarism and improving writing: A lesson from Chinese painting
Keywords:L2 writing, plagiarism, reducing plagiarism, theoretical writing model, analytical tools, writing instructions, Chinese painting principles, ESL, Canada, Canadian university, practitioner, patchwriting
Both research and experience has established that plagiarism is a relatively common feature in L2 writing. This is the result of several factors, including lack of understanding of the original material, limitations in academic vocabulary, time constraints, and so on. Although there are specific sanctioned instances where copying and presenting works as your own in cultures such as Chinese, plagiarism is never allowed. How then can a university level writing instructor overcome the confusion this creates among groups such as Chinese L2 students? In response to this question, the author proposes a theoretical model, based upon a traditional analytical framework for Chinese painting – where copying is a requirement. This model mimics the Six Principles proposed by Hsieh He’s [or Xiè Hè’s – 謝赫] in 520 AD. By modifying, translating, and directly applying these Six Principles to writing, students can better learn how to avoid plagiarism, gain a greater understanding of the material they are reading, and develop ways to better express themselves.
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