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 multimodal 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. In my my teaching and mentoring, I hope to help students to find their own staple removers, so that they can discover new ways of thinking, understanding and expressing themselves.
I am currently teaching "Literacy through Literature" - a course which explore the role that literary language and aesthetic and playful modes of reading and writing can play in the development of literacy in a second and additional languages.
- Campus-Wide Teaching Effectiveness Award (2003, University of California, Berkeley)
- Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award (2003, University of California, Berkeley)