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11 tips for teachers to foster academic honesty


Proudly telling the world about our philosophy in our 50th anniversary year


As thousands of students and teachers worldwide prepare for their exams, here are some tips to support academic integrity, prevent plagiarism and ensure that students can take great pride in knowing that the work they complete is their own.

1. Nurture the ten attributes of the IB learner profile. They are the foundation for your teaching and learning and can help individuals and groups become responsible members of local, national and global communities. This includes the individual’s responsibility towards academic honesty and integrity. The ten attributes are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, reflective.

2. Support students to become actively responsible for their own learning. Here’s a Tes article about strategies to develop independent learners.

3. Take time to talk about academic integrity—encourage students to develop personal integrity. We ran a competition for students to create a film or poster about academic integrity. Could you do this in your class?

4. Ensure that students receive guidance on how to produce genuine and authentic work. This IB World article by a teacher in Texas in 2015 asks: Authentic learning can create a generation of thinkers—but are teachers themselves authentic enough?

5. Don’t assume your students know how to reference—particularly in the age of digital information. IB teachers can find documentation on effective citing and referencing within the programme resource centre.

6. Give students regular feedback and encourage them to respond to the feedback.

7. Involve students and staff in developing your academic integrity policy—embed integrity into the culture of your school.

8. Lead by example—act with honesty and in a responsible and ethical manner. IB educators can access this educator’s IB position paper on academic honesty at the IB across the four IB programmes by logging into the programme resource centre. The paper outlines the challenges that learners face in demonstrating honesty and how teachers, schools and learners themselves can share responsibility for ensuring that all actions in support of academic honesty are integrated and consistent.

9. Encourage your students to accept their strengths and weaknesses and encourage them to do the best they can.

10. Promote fairness and be open to questions. Your school’s librarian(s) can also help, find out more here.

11. Help parents understand your academic integrity policies. IB teachers can find this helpful leaflet on the programme resource centre to use when discussing academic integrity with parents

In this digital age, where a world of information is just a click away, and where interaction with others across the world is so easy, we need to help young people understand the benefits of such opportunities but also the many risks associated with them. Through learning and teaching we can create the culture where academic integrity is understood and valued.