DS Bigham–


Teaching Philosophy

“Do you really grok it?” :: As a teacher, my goal is to foster the connections between students’ diverse knowledge and personal experiences to texts and materials discussed in class. My classroom is a collaborative environment where students learn to challenge the material and join multiple kinds of information together to form a unified whole. I emphasize looking beyond the facts and theories presented in the texts to help students see the ways of thinking that lead to the discovery of knowledge and to comprehend which necessary next questions would impel the advancement of knowledge.

When students are encouraged to challenge the material, I have found their focus becomes less about whether their questions are “right” or “wrong” and they grow more willing to participate actively in class. Challenging the text exposes the potential for connecting a student’s understanding to different aspects of her or his knowledge and for assessing what connections have already been made.

Students in the 21st century both require and deserve a style of teaching in which the immediacy of the text and classroom is but one juncture for learning. The persistent and intimate access to the diverse body of information, such as today’s students have, demands not simply an ability to memorize facts and texts, but the ability to critically collect, filter, and weave this information into conclusions and opinions that are as well-formed as they are well informed. This, above all else, guides my teaching; the achievements and tribulations I have experienced in my own classroom have helped me in crafting and continually revising this philosophy.

Courses at San Diego State University

Students currently enrolled in one of my courses should go to the course page on Blackboard (or check email) for the most up-to-date information.

In my four years (so far!) as a professor, I've prepared eleven distinct courses and one fully asynchronous online version of a course. Teaching schedules, materials, and syllabuses (and the sometimes multiple revisions from year to year of those syllabi) can be downloaded from my Academia.Edu profile page. Fellow teachers looking for tests, quizzes, worksheets, and classroom activities should email me— I'm more than more than happy to share everything!

  • LING 101: Introduction to Language [course webpage]
    Fall 2011, Fall 2014
    Asyncrhonous Online Edition: Summer 2013, Spring 2016

  • LING 243: Invented Languages: Klingon & Beyond!
    Spring 2014, Spring 2015 (also taught at UT Austin as LIN 312, see below)
    Over the four semesters I've taught this course, my students have produced many amazing examples of final projects. Some of those can be found on my [distinguihed student projects page] on Tumblr.

  • LING 345: Queer Linguistics
    Fall 2012 (as LING 496)

  • LING 502: Language, Mind, & Society
    Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

  • LING 521: Phonology
    Fall 2012, Spring 2015

  • LING 610: Historical Linguistics: Methods
    Fall 2013, Fall 2014

  • LING 640: Fieldwork Methods
    Fall 2012
    The fieldwork methods class using San Diego as a living laboratory for an exploration of linguistic methods. The student work in LING 640 is attached to the "San Diego Speaks!" website.

  • LING 651: Sociology of Language
    Spring 2013, Spring 2015

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Previous Courses

  • Invented Languages: Klingon & Beyond...
    LIN 312, University of Texas at Austin | Fall 2005, Fall 2006
    During UT's "Explore UT" Open House, I was asked to give a brief presentation describing the "Klingon..." course. The slides from that presentation can be found here:
    [Klingon 101 - Explore UT].

  • Introduction to Language and Linguistics
    LIN 306, University of Texas at Austin | Spring 2006, Fall 2007

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Student Mentoring

Theses Chaired
•Brandon Webb, MA in Linguistics, May 2012. Performance and Scene.
•Amanda Meza, MA in Linguistics, August 2013. The Linguistic Performance of Sexual Identity by an Openly Gay Christian Minister.
•Nicole Siminski, MA in Linguistics, May 2014. Manipulating Language to Index Varying Degrees of One's Identity.
•Danielle Jenné, MA in Linguistics, May 2014. Variation in the FACE and GOAT Vowels among Southern Californians.
•Yoojin Kang, MA in Linguistics, May 2015, expected.

Theses/Portfolios, serving as Reader
•Sara Kazemi, MA in Linguistics, August 2014. Computational Simulation of Linguistic Change: an Agent-Based Model.
•Monica McMurtagh, MA in Women's Studies, May 2015, expected.

Independent Studies Directed
Brian Lab, SolReSol Project ("Liebfraumilch"), Spring 2015.

Graduate Research Assistants
Jessica Campbell (Spring 2012), Sarah Bedrouni (Spring 2012), Nicole Siminski (Spring 2012), Amanda Meza (Spring 2012 – Spring 2013), Danielle Jenné (Spring 2013 – Spring 2014), Jarret Kurber (Spring 2014), Taylor Mahler (Spring 2014 – Spring 2015)

Undergraduate Research Assistants
Cynthia Morris (Fall 2007 – Spring 2008), Crystal Warren (Fall 2012 – Summer 2013), Mechelle Negrete (Spring 2015), Stellan Christensen (Spring 2015)

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