Book and Materials Reviews
Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing Bloch Joel. Buffalo, NY: Multilingual Matters, 2012.
Article first published online: 26 FEB 2014
© 2014 TESOL International Association
Volume 5, Issue 1, pages 189–191, March 2014
How to Cite
Kelly, C. (2014), Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing Bloch Joel. Buffalo, NY: Multilingual Matters, 2012. TESOL Journal, 5: 189–191. doi: 10.1002/tesj.107
- Issue published online: 26 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 26 FEB 2014
Plagiarism. Just stating this word and considering the issues it entails can often produce feelings of anxiety and exasperation for students, instructors, and institutions at large. Indeed, when reflecting back on my own experiences teaching introductory composition courses, I realized that this topic baffled many of my students as they had little or no previous knowledge of the concept and little or no experience citing sources. My students—some of whom were multilingual writers—often expressed frustration during our discussions on plagiarism and subsequently approached each assignment with trepidation and reservations that stifled the creativity of their writing and discouraged their motivation.
However, Joel Bloch's 2012 book, Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing, can help ease the tension with addressing plagiarism in classrooms such as mine. Certainly, in his book, Bloch discusses these concerns and related queries as being part of his aim, which includes fostering insight into “why this term ‘plagiarism’ brings such fear and confusion to everybody involved and how to create classrooms where students can safely confront these issues” (p. 23). Undoubtedly, Bloch successfully accomplishes such objectives by providing a historical and practical exploration of plagiarism, especially in regard to multilingual writers and the composition classroom.
While it is a short read—only 188 pages—Bloch divides the book into seven chapters and fills the sections with past and current contexts, scholarly research, and concrete applications pertaining to the concepts of plagiarism and intellectual property. The book's organization allows readers to advance their understanding of plagiarism and intellectual property. That is, sections build on one another to present Bloch's ideas on the ways to reconceptualize teaching about plagiarism and intellectual property.
In the early chapters, Bloch provides a historical focus that surveys the conceptual development of plagiarism and intellectual property. Bloch's clear account stresses the relevance of these concepts to a multilingual classroom as it covers the diverse social and cultural points of interest that may arise when discussing plagiarism. In particular, he offers valuable insight on the legal, cultural, and technological components affecting society's views and actions toward plagiarism and intellectual property; such insight helps composition instructors and their students understand and address the varied social and cultural values related to this topic.
His later chapters take on a more practical and pedagogical approach, showing ways to view and address this topic in the composition classroom. In these sections, he offers an analysis of metaphors used to conceptualize plagiarism; in-depth discussions of empirical research related to students', instructors', and institutions' views on plagiarism; and strategies and tools for implementing a course focusing on plagiarism. These chapters further develop Bloch's aim to provide a critical understanding of this topic. Specifically, he supplies instructors with detailed examples of research and experiences that address the ways to approach plagiarism in class. For example, he describes and explains an academic course that is devoted to understanding plagiarism and intellectual property. In this course, he applies the metaphor of plagiarism as a game in which instructors and students continually address and balance the differing views and treatments of plagiarism while examining their own and others' texts in various academic and multimedia settings. His in-depth reflection and discussion of this course offers instructors a model for addressing plagiarism in an open and productive manner. Indeed, after implementing Bloch's conceptual framework and resources into my own classroom—which includes a combination of writers from different linguistic backgrounds—my students have expressed less apprehension when discussing plagiarism.
On the whole, Bloch's Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing is an essential text for composition instructors as it effectively addresses a vital concern not only in multilingual classrooms but also in academia and society in general. Through his historical and practical examination of plagiarism and intellectual property, Bloch offers instructors a concise and insightful framework for addressing plagiarism and intellectual property.