• On Plagiarism at Schools

    person wearing gold mask and mask

    I am reviewing the final projects of my students, and out of 21, 7 have tested positive for plagiarism, and another 5 I suspect have used ChatGPT. We are overwhelmed: we don’t know how to solve the problem that arises from the use of AI in written assignments.

    The prevalence of plagiarism among our students has grown exponentially, partly driven by access to advanced technologies like ChatGPT. This tool, designed to facilitate interaction and content generation, has also become a very tempting solution that can encourage dishonest academic practices. Even though you know your student didn’t write that text, because you know their writing style, analytical abilities, and the amount of information they handle, it’s impossible to find indisputable evidence that they used artificial intelligence. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to take administrative measures to address the situation.

    The ease with which young people can obtain instant and well-written information through ChatGPT is the key to understand the whole situation: it has never been so easy to write a paper. Additionally, academic pressure and competition among peers can drive some to seek shortcuts to meet expectations and outperform others. The academic pressure exerted by some families is also unbearable, and they end up assuming that they have to excel in all subjects. It’s clear that they make the decision to be dishonest and could choose to make the effort or risk getting a lower grade, but I sincerely believe that we have never placed as much importance on academic results as we do now. It is our responsibility, as educators and families, to alleviate the stress they experience and not add fuel to the fire.

    As I mentioned, ChatGPT’s ability to generate original and coherent content blurs the line between authentic and plagiarised work. Plagiarism detection algorithms often struggle to identify subtle similarities in wording, leading to false negatives or positives. And even though you know it sounds like ChatGPT, because you develop a sense for it, it is impossible to prove. I know I am repeating myself, but it is one of the key issues we face. The adaptability of artificial intelligence to generate unique content can confuse conventional detection systems, allowing plagiarism to go unnoticed. These systems are so good that every passing week makes it more difficult to deal with the issue.

    Addressing the issue of plagiarism among young people today, in my opinion, requires a comprehensive approach that includes promoting ethical academic practices, understanding the long-term implications of plagiarism, and developing advanced detection technologies that can adapt to the constant evolution of tools like ChatGPT. But above all, we must stop pressuring students to pursue university degrees, preferably dual degrees, with internships, three languages, and a bustling social life.

    It’s impossible.

  • I am a Secondary Teacher and I am in Love with my Job

    I have been teaching for the past 20 years. First adults, then primary students, then adults again. now I am a secondary teacher, to everyone’s surprise. Would I have been asked even 10 years ago, my answer would have been a loud laugh and a quiet never.

    I ended up being a secondary teacher after moving to this small Danish village because I had no other option. I wasn’t getting another job in teaching if not in secondary. Or even any other job, but this is another story.