HBCU Buzz

Dillard Prof, Terri Cole To Use Melania Trump’s Speech To Teach Students A Lesson

On Tuesday, Dillard University professor of English Terri Cole tweeted that she will use Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which appears to be nearly word for word from First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech, as a lesson to show and teach her students on some of the common types of plagiarism during the new academic year at the black college next month.

“Actually, I’m kind of excited about using Melania’s speech in teaching first year composition this Fall,” she said. “It’s often hard to explain to students that plagiarism isn’t always just copy and paste. But using same ideas, in similar order, to same rhetorical effect is also plagiarism.”

Cole spoke with The Chronicle about plagiarism. Check out some of the highlights of the interview below.

Image result for dillard university terri cole
via WNYC.org

On teaching her students to not plagiarize their work:

“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.”

On what she hopes her students will learn from Trump’s plagiarism:

“I think the major piece that comes across to students, regardless of what their major or their eventual field is, is to get your house in order before you go to the big stage.

Melania Trump’s plagiarism, if that had happened in my classroom, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. We wouldn’t go to student services. You’d come to my office, you’d do a rewrite. But this isn’t freshman comp. This is the Republican National Convention.

To me, the bigger red flag of this whole thing is actual money went into this, there were meetings, there was a team of speechwriters involved in some way, shape, or form. They’re experts, not Melania Trump, but experts in this field did this and missed it.

The lesson for students is that this is the same reason that you don’t write your paper the night before and then hand it in, because if you aren’t paying attention, if your cards aren’t in order, and then you send your work off to other people’s eyes, you look stupid because you haven’t done your due diligence.”

Cole also discussed the difficulties of being an English as a Second Language student, how she personally deals with plagiarism in the classroom and creative ways to get students more engaged in writing essays. Head over to The Chronicle to read more.

Tommy G. Meade Jr.

Tommy G. Meade Jr.

Tommy G. Meade Jr. is the Editor-in-Chief of HBCU Buzz. He is a Central State University alum and is a proud member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.

Meade formerly was a Staff Writer for HBCU Buzz. In 2012, he was selected by Luke Lawal Jr. to lead HBCU Buzz.