Linguistics 5800A-B: Conversation Analysis (co-taught with Prof. Barbara Fox)
Linguistics 7800: Bilingualism in Context (Ph.D. Seminar) (Fall 2016 syllabus)
Linguistics 1000: Language in U.S. Society (Spring 2017 syllabus)
Linguistics 4800A-B: Conversation Analysis (co-taught with Prof. Barbara Fox)
Spanish 3050: Spanish Phonetics and Phonology (Fall 2016 syllabus)
Spanish 3120: Advanced Spanish Grammar
Spanish 4215: Spanish in the United States (Spring 2017 syllabus)
Given that we live in an age in which new information is just a few cellphone clicks away, the classroom has to provide something that students can’t get faster (and cheaper!) elsewhere. Why should Jane sign up for a ‘Research Methods’ course that meets three days a week…at 8:00AM…when she could just check out and read a textbook from the library? Why should James take my advanced ‘Language in U.S. Society’ course when he could find a quite a bit of content on-line through a Google Book preview, or a few free PDF downloads? The classroom must offer students something more.
What that “more” is, exactly, naturally varies depending on the topic of the specific course in question; but regardless of the course or level, taking advantage of the forum setting of the classroom is crucial. Whether it is an introduction to the discipline, a capstone course for a student’s major, or an advanced graduate seminar, debate, discussion, and the hands-on application of knowledge are key. This is precisely the process through which students link course-specific content to other arenas, both substantively as well as methodologically. This is how students learn to think ‘outside of the box’ and move beyond a simple regurgitation of the five points covered in last week’s lecture. Instead, can they take those five points and apply them in a novel context, or to novel empirical data? Can they comment on the theoretical implications of those points? Can they problematize some subcomponent of those points—be it theoretically and/or methodologically? I believe that equipping students not only with the content itself, but also with the tools to apply and actively interrogate that content, should be an essential goal of any course.
Relatedly, my classroom is one that emphasizes conceptual understanding and problem-solving over rote memorization (and, as mentioned above, over simple regurgitation). Of course some memorization is part of any course, but the overarching big picture is always most crucial to me. These are the infamous ‘why’ questions that encourage students to connect micro-level phenomena and course-internal content to more macro-level and course-external inquiries. I have found that this is a particularly productive method for teaching social theory: My approach is to set up a problem of sorts, and then have students work through it toward the to-be-discussed theory. In my experience, this undergirds students’ understanding of the theoretical framework in question, as they are truly able to recognize why the different components of the theory are what they are—because they themselves had to account for and deal with those same issues in working toward it.
My classroom is consistently a multi-media one: Video/Audio data, images, and the like regularly play an important role in my courses. The inclusion of such realia in the classroom keeps students engaged by encouraging them to see the real-life relevance of the course’s material. And, as all students learn differently, variety of input is necessary to ensure that everyone is getting what they need. This then helps students to learn the material not just for the purposes of the final exam, but for the purposes of using it in their daily lives.
Importantly, my classroom is a safe and welcoming space for diversity of background, experience, and opinion. The goal is for learning to take place, and numerous pedagogical studies have shown just how much more effectively and efficiently that happens when students feel comfortable being there. It’s my job to ensure that my classroom provides such a space—consistently and without exception.
Finally, with every class I teach, I am newly amazed by my students’ abilities. I routinely find that they will rise to the level that the instructor expects of them. The reality is that students are smart—not only with respect to course material, but also with regard to their time and interests. As such, if they feel a course is uninteresting, unchallenging, or otherwise unnecessary, they will dedicate their time elsewhere. I view it as my responsibility, therefore, to keep students interested and challenged, conveying not only that I want excellence from them, but also that I am here to help them achieve it.
SAMPLE STUDENT FEEDBACK (Originals available upon request)
“Chase is by far my favorite TA I've had at UCLA. He cares about student learning and he's able to make the course material relatable and relevant to his students. His passion for the subject is clear and the energy he brings to his sections is contagious. I wish I could have had him as a TA for every class!”
“Chase is an awesome TA that really cares about his students. Going to section was not mandatory but well worth it because he made it both interesting and informative.”
“Great personality and always willing to answer student inquiries when needed the most, especially during the time of tests. Good sense of humor and wonderful personality.”
“His enthusiasm about the material made me exciting to come to discussion and participate, as well as fueled my interest in the material. I don't think the class would have been nearly as interesting and I wouldn't have learned the material as well without Chase and without the discussion section.”
“I really like Chase! He is always prepared for section, he has a wonderful attitude, he is really knowledgeable, and he is open to helping students. He is also sassy and funny. I would definitely take a class with Chase in the future.”
“The TA was really funny and friendly! He definitely made it worthwhile to wake up at 8am on a Monday morning. I missed one discussion and felt so out of it! So, I never missed discussion again :) I felt really comfortable speaking in class and he was great at getting students to share ideas.”
One of my personal favorites:
“Chase was by far one of my favorite TAs in my entire college career. I'm grateful to have had him as my TA for my final quarter of college. His enthusiasm for sociology, as well as his care for each and every one of his students, truly made him stand out. His laughter and humor was fantastic... and his clothes were AMAZING. As if I needed another reason to hustle to class, I was totally excited to see his outfit. The winners definitely included the striped sweater he wore to the midterm and the salmon pants with the blue cuffs. I look forward to seeing him impacting other students' lives and really ignite their enthusiasm about sociology. He was simply a gem.”