Thursday, May 5, 2016

Modern Language Association's 8th edition in practice

Bob (left), and Evan - Spring 2015
Have I mentioned how much I love my colleagues?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) released it's new style manual (8th edition) last week, and today, I highlighted the changes at two department meetings - English and Social Studies. Before I say another thing, I want to thank the department chairs, Bob Stevenson and Evan Remley, who carved out time for this presentation from their very busy, last-working-meeting-of-the-school-year agenda. Thank you!

I also want to give a shout out to Joyce Valenza who wrote up an excellent summary of the changes on April 18 in her Never Ending Search blog. It is an excellent review of the changes.

Most of all, I want to thank The Modern Language Association for producing a style handbook that works for contemporary researchers. I was overjoyed (truly, I was) when I read the first page, and my enthusiasm only grew from there.



The nine elements of a citation... One potential mnemonic:
Athletes Spread Cheer Over Very New Power Dominated League
These standards address an important shift in researchers' needs. Last spring, I wrote a post about the challenges of being in the business of standardization in a world that defies standardization - Questioning Authority Control. We don't know how to properly document research for media developed during the inter-manual years (lately, every 6-7 years).

The Modern language Association developed a style manual that will work for all media by defining the nine elements of a citation. What follows is what I wrote to my colleagues about how I anticipate this will impact researchers.

Hello, 

Thanks for your time this afternoon. I was glad to have a chance to highlight the eighth edition of the MLA handbook for you - not because I love citations (I really, really, don't), but because I felt as though the old standards led many kids to frustration and failure. Most juniors who fail to make goal on the research paper do so because they don't properly document their research process. I am hopeful that these new standards will be more teachable, and that students will focus more on the inquiry process, close reading, and expressing original ideas. 

A few resources:

    • Here is the presentation. I only reviewed slides 27-41 with you. It is much longer than that (and still growing, I'm afraid). It will, eventually, become a video.
    • MLA's page highlighting the changes
    • Joyce Valenza's post about the changes (Joyce is a leader in my field. I learn tons from her.)

I am just starting to revise How Do I Cite, the exemplar works-cited list composed of three years worth of texted inquiries from New Canaan High School students (it's on the library website, and THE ANNEX@).

Thanks again!

:-)ML

So ... the presentation? It is still in development, but one can learn more from sharing a work in progress than a finished (or, as I like to call all my projects, abandoned) project. It follows. Eventually, when I permanently abandon it, I will narrate it, and post it to YouTube.

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