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Capture imaginations and find the familiar: it’s as easy as Author (Year)

Referencing is as central to university life as red double-decker buses are to London: it is hard to imagine the latter without the former, which somehow also need the latter to account for their existence. Helping somebody understand the connection between Routemasters and London is easy; simply show them any film or TV series set in London, and there they are. However, nobody has yet made a film about referencing, its appearances in Pitch PerfectThe Theory of EverythingLegally Blonde and Mona Lisa Smile presumably left on the cutting room floor. 

Yet while you can take a tube in London, or a taxi, or even walk, it is impossible to get through a university course without referencing. It’s vital, it’s ethical, and it can also be seen as tedious and frustrating. How best to teach something so necessary?

Branimir Pantaleev is Senior Lecturer in Professional Studies in WSMSE, responsible for teaching referencing to the new officer cadets. He wants his students to do well, and impresses upon them the need for high quality research in order to get better results. 

To catch and hold their attention, he takes a personal approach to teaching referencing. 

In the first session, he asks where they all come from. As none of them will be local (due to shipping company policy), there will be an opportunity to do some background research before session two.

He follows up in this session by showing, for example, a quote by Winston Churchill, and then a photo that relates both to the quote and the place where one of the students is from. He does this a second time: another quote, another photo, another relevant place. Suddenly the class is personalised, students are proud of their heritage, and a connection is made. 

Once he has established the way in, he is able to talk about opinion and authority, insider perspectives and outside views, quoting and paraphrasing, always from this familiar and personal perspective. 

Capture imaginations and find the familiar: it’s as easy as Author (Year).