Proactively Addressing Plagiarism and Other Academic Honesty Issues with Second-Language Writers


  • Jane Conzett Xavier University
  • Margaret Martin Xavier University
  • Madeleine Mitchell Xavier University



program model, reflective practice, approach, plagiarism, second-language writing, paraphrasing, l2 writers, nns writers


In response to difficulties in dealing with plagiarism and academic honesty, faculty and staff in a university-based American intensive English program (IEP) took specific measures to help international students understand these issues. The host institution’s policy on academic honesty, which was too difficult and nuanced for second language writers to understand, was replaced with a new policy written in simple language, making concepts and penalties easier to understand. Program-wide measures were implemented in stages to build summarizing and paraphrasing skills for students at all proficiency levels and to support their development as academic writers, and changes were made to the curriculum, incorporating writing from sources at an earlier stage, in scaffolded assignments. Teaching emphasis was shifted from after-the-fact punishment of plagiarism to proactively teaching about concepts of academic honesty and writing from sources. To assist with this, plagiarism detection services were repurposed and used as teaching tools for students instead of policing tools for instructors.

Author Biographies

Jane Conzett, Xavier University

Jane Conzett, Director for the intensive English program at Xavier University, has taught academic writing to second-language learners for over 18 years. She received her MA from the University of Northern Iowa. Previous publications and conference presentations have focused on vocabulary acquisition and developing students’ abilities to do research and work with text.

Margaret Martin, Xavier University

Margaret Martin has an MA in Linguistics and a TESL certificate from the University of Wisconsin. She has been an ESL instructor at Xavier University for 12 years, and she specializes in teaching low proficiency second-language writers. She has presented papers in linguistics and second-language pedagogy at regional and national conferences.

Madeleine Mitchell, Xavier University

Madeleine Mitchell has taught at Xavier University for 15 years. Her teaching experience includes ESL for academic and professional purposes. She received her MA in TESOL from Hunter College at the City University of New York. She has presented papers in second-language pedagogy and corporate English program development at regional and national conferences.


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How to Cite

Conzett, J., Martin, M., & Mitchell, M. (2010). Proactively Addressing Plagiarism and Other Academic Honesty Issues with Second-Language Writers. Writing and Pedagogy, 2(2), 293–309.



Reflections on Practice