Economic Multipliers (59)  
Do you know what these are?
They help CREATE wealth in systems.
Teaching kids how to plagiarize legally is an economic multiplier for any community that wants to educate its kids.  (See P.S.)


I don’t always word things quite right.  If *plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the ‘wrongful appropriation,’* of other’s work (note that the 9 consecutive words between the *’s can be found just by Googling the word ‘plagiarism’), I don’t want to teach kids to do things wrong.

But I do think that we educate kids wrong IF we don’t teach kids that aren’t going to be the world’s creative writers (most of them mind you) that there are ways to put documents together (particularly educational work assignments) whereby they can turn in something with outstanding content that isn’t really theirs as long as they make sure they understand the content (and cite it appropriately relative to the assignment) and can explain it all:
  • If I had a student who could run circles around me making argument after argument about ‘content’ related to a particular subject, I’d want that student to write an independent paper (most of the time … I’d still expect that they could pull together the works of others and give them appropriate credit).
  • If I had a student that understood ‘content’ and that was just good enough for them, I’d want them to be able to liberally quote and cite as they noted how they came to their understanding (and today that might mean on the more general topics that they put a note at the bottom of a document stating that many of the words contained in their paper were not really theirs but if their teacher wanted to ask them about anything covered in the paper, they were ready).
  • If I had a student that I was trying to get to understand ‘content,’ I’d want them to be able to find and copy 2-3 times (and be able to explain) a well written paper while noting at the bottom their ‘source’ (mainly because you don’t learn ‘content’ by struggling to write a bad paper and the worst writers gain the most value from putting well written words down on paper (along with listening to them and vocalizing them (reading them out loud)).
In the workforce, it’s critical to be able to recognize the ‘content needed’ and be able to deliver it clearly and concisely.  Although educational institutions are always on the lookout for ‘creative souls’ and ‘creative thinkers,’ few employers are (a caveat … employers almost always want problem solvers and that is a specific form of creativity that many times goes ‘unrecognized’ in educational institutions).

Creative people normally don’t have to be ‘assigned’ creativity:  That is just who they are.  Intelligent and extraordinarily capable people (most people fall into this category) normally just need all the tools to use their intelligence and capabilities (particularly the problem solving types).

Now, I will never get high marks ‘for creativity’ when it comes to what I think students should read and/or write about.  Since so many kids in the United States grow up on rental properties (and many people aspire to own their own homes some day):
  • I see value in having all kids copy manuals that tell them how to maintain lawnmowers and other yard maintenance tools.
  • I see value in having kids read books on how to evaluate and take care of buildings and the things in them (like water heaters, refrigerators, etc.).
  • I see value in incorporating lessons on all the extra expenses you take on when you become a property owner (I believe that many people who got in trouble with home loans didn’t always understand the extra expenses that come along with property ownership like:  water, garbage and sewer bills, property taxes, the need for extra equipment to maintain the property and extra money to maintain the buildings and equipment, etc.).
Non-fiction is just as important as fiction (and perhaps more so since it’s ‘real life’).  A balanced education has balance although I’ll be the first to admit that I err toward the non-fiction side (BORING!)

But I did just read a classic: the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  In the introduction, there is a ‘Notice’:

'Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot … By order of the author.'

After reading the book, I’m quite sure that a LOT of teachers have sought to have students write about ‘motive, moral and plot’ anyway.  I always wonder how many of them ask their students to write a manual better (that covers something they’ll most likely do when they are an adult).

A young biker and her school crowd just recently stopped by as I was standing outside and introduced me to a kids book that I’m going to have to read (I think they go for the ‘shock effect!’):  Gee Whiz!  It’s All About Pee (Susan E. Goodman).  I never knew so many gallons of blood filtered through the kidneys (hundreds a day).

She took the book with her and as I was thinking … great introduction for the kid who might become a urologist or health care worker someday … I’m sure she was thinking … I can’t believe adults let us read this ‘stuff!'


P.S.  If you copy someone else’s work for distribution with the intent to make money, you’ve stepped outside of the ‘educational’ framework:  Plagiarism could also mean a copyright violation.  Plagiarism can get you into trouble with educators and schools:  Copyright violations can get you into trouble with the law.