Three Things to Keep in Mind When Teaching the New MLA Style

By Nora Carr

1. Remember that there is no longer necessarily one “right” way to cite a source. Emphasize to your students that it is up to them to use the list of core elements to create works-cited-list entries and to draw on what is optional about the style to emphasize the most important aspects of their use of a given source.

2. Use the practice template from the MLA Handbook. It provides a useful and easy-to-understand visual breakdown of all the components of the new style. Review the list of core elements enumerated on the template with students and have them practice creating citations for a few different sources using the template in class.

3. Keep an open mind about source material. Encourage students to look in unexpected or nontraditional places for their research—this will allow them to understand the full extent and flexibility of the new style and will also provide opportunities in the classroom to discuss how to evaluate and use a range of sources.

Published 23 March 2016

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