Objective: For students to practice editing in-text citations
Total estimated class time: 30 minutes
Additional outcome(s): Discussion and clarification of the MLA style guidelines
Course work or assignment under way: This exercise could be introduced at any time during the semester but is preferable to assign while students are working on a paper that requires them to put sources into dialogue with one another and with their own writing.
Work completed before class: Read section of the handbook dealing with in-text citation (pages 54–58), as well as articles that cite sources in the text that are keyed to a bibliography (examples of any system of citation will work).
Instructor preparation before class: Write a paragraph (or model one on the handout I’ve created) that cites several sources keyed to a works-cited list. The paragraph should feature several errors, including common errors that students make, such as
- using incorrect punctuation, particularly unnecessary commas
- failing to distinguish among sources that are identified similarly
- citing a source’s title in the parentheses when the author’s name sufficiently identifies the source
- not indenting long quotations
- omitting the page number
- redundantly including the author’s name even when it is already mentioned in a signal phrase
- citing a source not included in the works-cited list
Print out copies of the paragraph and bring them to class.
Sequence of classroom activities:
- Pass out the paragraph to students.
- Give students a few minutes to read through the paragraph and note down the problems they find.
- Ask for examples of problems. Clarify rules or questions as they come up.
Reflection on the lesson’s success or alternative approaches: The nice thing about this exercise is that students get to demonstrate their knowledge of citation practices, and the discussion is based on observations they make.
Published 17 November 2016