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Teaching Philosophy

The poet Yoko Tawada uses the staple remover as a metaphor for the process of learning a foreign language. Whereas words and ideas are fastened tightly together in the mother tongue, in the foreign language a space is opened for creative and intellectual play. The thrills and insights that can arise through engagement with language within this playful space are something I try to impart to my students in both the study of language and of literature. Learning a new language, like interacting with a literary or artistic work for the first time, involves new modes of perception, new ways of understanding, and new conceptions of being. Today the real-world situations in which students will find themselves after finishing their education and leaving the classroom increasingly demand multilingual, multicultural, and multitextual competences. Whether they are traveling abroad, attending lectures at graduate school, or working in a company, students will be asked to communicate in new situations, which will require them to infer cultural expectations about how they are to act and think from the actions of others. By teaching language as something dynamic, I hope to help students to find their own staple removers, so that they do not simply make use of the German language, but engage with it in order to discover new ways of thinking, understanding and expressing themselves.

Current Courses

I am currently teaching "German Women's Fictions", a general education course, which examines a number of German-language cultural works (primarily novels, short stories, and films) from the 20th and 21st century and we will consider why personal narrative has been one of the predominant forms of women’s writing for over a century, what does that tell us about the relation between private life and politics, and what glamors and values different kinds of stories seem to hold for us.

Previous Courses

at the University of Arizona

Spring 2013

  • Gernan 475 Advanced German Usage
  • German 160c1 (Tier 1 General Education course) The German-Speaking World: Crisis, Conflict and Consciousness

Fall 2012

  • German 276 honors Youth, Angst, and Rebellion: The German Student Movements
  • German/SLAT 534 Literacy through Literature

Spring 2012 

  • Research leave

Fall 2011

  • German 508 Approaches to German Studies

Spring 2011

  • German 502 Legitimizing Lives: Autobiographical Acts in German Literature and Film
  • German 300 Encounters in Language and Culture

Fall 2010

  • German / SLAT 534 Literacy through Literature
  • German 450 Constructions of Identity: Multilingual Germans

Spring 2010 -

  • Traditions and Cultures 103 The German-speaking World
  • German 276 Crisis and Rebellion: The Many Faces of Weimar

Fall 2009

  • German 579 Issues and Methods in Postsecondary Foreign Language Teaching and Learning
  • German 508 Approaches to German Studies

Spring 2009

  • German 300 Encounters in Language and Culture
  • German 496/596c Milestones in German Literature and Culture

Fall 2008

  • German 301 Voices Past and Present
  • German 313 Studies in Genre

at the University of California, Berkeley

  • Spring 2005 - German 166 Significant Others: Gendering in Intimate Relations
  • Summer 2004 - German 20 Summer Intensive Course for Intermediate/Advanced German
  • Fall 2004, Spring 2003 - German 4 Advanced German Language
  • Fall 2002, Fall 2001 German 3 - Intermediate German Language
  • Summer 2001 - German 10 Summer Intensive Course for Beginning German
  • Spring 2001 - German 2 Beginning German Language II
  • Fall 2000 - German 1 Beginning German Language I

I also served as the Assistant Coordinator of the German Language Program from Fall 2003 -Summer 2004 and as the Summer German Language Program Coordinator in Summer 2003.


Teaching Awards

  • Campus-Wide Teaching Effectiveness Award (2003, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award (2003, University of California, Berkeley)