Teaching Assistantship: These Languages Were Here First: A Look at the Indigenous Languages of California
I really enjoyed being the course development assistant for Sarah Ogilvie’s class “These Languages Were Here First: A Look at the Indigenous Languages of California”. It was my first time being a part of a Stanford Sophomore Seminar and I really enjoyed the small class size (15 students) and interactive teaching style. I helped arrange the visits of 10 experts on Californian indigenous history, culture, and language, which provided a variety of perspectives and important issues to discuss. I also helped arrange a class visit to UC Berkeley to visit the Californian language archives in the Bancroft library and the artifacts in the Hearst museum. I really enjoyed giving a guest lecture on my methods of Community-Based Fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, in contrast to the historical accounts of Californian fieldwork in the 20th century. I’ve attached these slides here.
This year, I was very happy to be assigned as the teaching assistant for LING-110, Introduction to Phonology, taught by Arto Anttila. This was a very fun class to teach - the students were incredibly engaged with the material. Even in the second week, so many students were attending my office hours that I had to turn them into a weekly session to not only review key points of the textbook (Introductory Phonology by Bruce Hayes) but to cover many exciting topics that didn’t fit into our two weekly class periods. I very happily taught two class lectures on stress and syllable weight. In these lectures, I tried out a new way of interacting with the class - I asked for anonymous feedback throughout the lecture that monitored comprehension and engagement, automatically populating a graph on the screen. Within seconds, I could determine how many students had done the reading or the homework, without any student having to publicly admit to being behind. This allowed me to tailor the lecture to the class. I also used this tool to gather data for discussion, for example students could submit topics to a live-updating word cloud for discussion in small groups. You can see these strategies in the lecture recording below.
Kate Lynn Lindsey