My Teaching in 1 Minute
If I want to learn something well, I always look for an opportunity to teach it to someone else. Growing up with six younger siblings, I never lacked students for all the topics I was eager to learn! Whether it was knitting, dancing, conversational Thai, or baking cookies, I couldn't wait to play the expert and cement my new knowledge by teaching it to one of my sisters.
This early teaching plays a role in the way I teach today. To get my sisters to play along, I had to effectively persuade them to be as excited about the lesson as I was. I had to take risks by modifying the lessons to match their interests and background knowledge instead of my own. And finally, I learned to be a very clear communicator about my expectations and about what I wanted them to learn.
In 2015, Bonnie Krejci and I led a 10-week Field Methods workshop on Czech. Our ten students successfully elicited incredible data for phonetic, morphological, syntactic and semantic analysis. Learn more about the course and see final class projects.
Flipping My Classroom
In a flipped classroom, taped lectures are given out as homework and class time is preserved for interactive responses to the reading, small group discussion, class debates and group work on problem sets.
Promoting Awareness of Language Endangerment & Linguistic Diversity
The general public is fascinated by linguistic diversity and shocked by the rates at which languages are disappearing. I give invited lectures to general audiences about these complex issues and highlight steps that anyone can take to get involved in language preservation.
Foreign Language & Literature
I majored in French literature and minored in Arabic and Russian languages at American University. This experience gave me the skills to tutor Arabic, French and Russian in the states and tutor English in Russia.
Teaching that Inspires Me
set high expectations
Naomi taught me my first linguistics class in 2010 called Language Fights. I will never forget our first class when Professor Baron told us candidly that she expected each of us to make a meaningful contribution to the class and to come prepared each week to lead a discussion on complex issues related to the spread and death of languages. She mandated office hours, tirelessly critiqued paper proposals until we each had a suitable research plan and exercised our critical thinking skills in every class. Her fearless standards showed us that she truly cared about and believed in our learning, and the class rose to the occasion. I hope that my teaching can empower my students to excel, just like Professor Baron's did.
I first met Nick at the 2011 LSA Institute in Boulder, CO. He was the Ken Hale professor teaching the Field Methods course. Professor Evans took a big risk during our class. Instead of inviting a speaker from one of the dozens of languages that he has worked on, Nick invited Wasang Baiio, an Idi speaker, to co-teach the class. At the time, Idi was undocumented and unwritten! By choosing a language that he himself didn't know, he was able to effectively model for the class how to begin documentation of an unknown language. Classes were unpredictable (just like fieldwork!) but because Nick took this risk, the class learned an extremely important skill from one of the most talented fieldworkers in linguistics.
When Kevin walked into our phonetics class, you could feel how much he was looking forward to teaching us about fricatives. Even before he had us testing the length, strength and echoability of our /f/s, /v/s, /s/s and /z/s, the class was abuzz with excitement. From the second Professor McGowan opened his mouth, we could tell - Kevin loved phonetics and he loved teaching. We were all on the edges of our seats. Not only did his enthusiastic teaching style help me remember the articulatory and acoustic properties of fricatives, Kevin's passion for learning and teaching inspired me to approach my own work with the same vigor every day. I hope that I can communicate how much I love what I do in a way that inspires my students to love what they do too.