Monday, July 25, 2016

Melania Trump in the Classroom

Last week, Melania Trump made headlines when it came to light that portions of her speech at the Republican National Convention had been "borrowed" from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama without citation—plagiarism. Many in academic circles are using the speech as a teachable moment, including Terri Coleman, a professor at Dillard University.

In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education interview with Coleman, she unpacks her reasons and methods for using Trump in the classroom. She also dives into the root of plagiarism, the difficulty of the concept, and how she tackles it on multiple levels:
"For me, and I teach freshman composition, it’s trying to unteach the systematic five-paragraph essay, the thoughtless writing, the 'just put 500 words on the page and get it done.' So I’m trying to shift them from 'Oh, I have to write something' to 'Oh, I’m participating in a conversation and I have something I want to say.' If I can get them on the team of 'I want to have thoughtful conversations,' then it automatically fixes the other stuff. I try to shift them into a different goal."

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