The first Latino psychologist, George I. Sánchez once stated “How many times have I seen this repeated by children with a foreign home-language. How many times have I seen a child cringe and crouch, physically and emotionally, because the language of the home was taboo at school and the language of the school was nonfunctional at home (Sánchez, 1997, p. 124).” Sánchez’s quote can be extended from language to diversity, encouragement, respect, challenge, and creativity in the classroom, which are the components of my teaching philosophy. It is important to note that when teaching not one student is the exact same as the person sitting next to them. Students who feel marginalized or inferior to the majority of students will not engage in class discussions or activities, and if the instructor does not take the time to understand how a classroom is diverse then they are committing disservice to their students. As an instructor, I try to address these issues by engaging students to discuss issues of diversity in the classroom; may it be diversity based on race, class, gender, sex, sexuality and even linguistic diversity. By doing so, students feel that what they are learning is actually related to them and not just something they learn in the classroom that is not applicable to their everyday life.
Previous Teaching Experience at Texas A&M University
- Introduction to Psychology
- Psychology of Language
- Psychology Research Methods
- Human Cognitive Processes (Introduction to Cognitive Psychology)
Teaching Experience at The University of Texas at Austin
A bilingual is defined as an individual who functions in more than one language on a regular basis. Psycholinguistics is the study of the cognitive processes that underlie how language users acquire, comprehend, produce, use, and represent language. This course will provide an introduction to classic and recent work on bilingualism from a psycholinguistic perspective.
After reviewing basic concepts and methods in psycholinguistics the course will address empirical studies and theoretical frameworks related to such topics as stages of bilingual language acquisition and the role of age of acquisition, how bilinguals perceive and segment speech sounds, how word meanings are accessed and stored, how sentences are understood and planned, how characteristics of written language affect reading, how mixed language utterances are processed, and how properties of specific languages shape thought. Additional topics will include cognitive and neural repercussions of knowing more than one language, the cognitive impact of differences in degree of informal translation experience, and how bilingual language processing may be affected by aging, disuse of a language, or brain injury.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of the topic, we will draw on research from cognitive psychology, linguistics, computer science, education, and neuroscience. Students will have the opportunity to apply course concepts by making their own bilingualism related internet memes. This course will consist of lectures, discussion, as well as in-class discussion of readings led by students.
The purpose of this course is to examine the psychological research and literature related to the experiences of Latinxs in the U.S. through readings, media, and class discussions. The course will provide an introduction to the various Latinx subgroups and will provide with an introduction and general background to Latinx psychology. This course is an interdisciplinary one and will draw on methodologies from different disciplines such as, but not limited to racial/ethnic studies, women & gender studies, queer studies, film studies, history, linguistics, literature, psychology, sociology, ethics/leadership, and popular culture and so the course we will:
- Acquire knowledge regarding historical, cultural, economic, and political factors that explain the experiences and value orientations of Latinxs in the U.S.
- Engage in Latinx self-expression and knowledge in various mediums (i.e. culture, religious practices, literature, poetry, language practices, etc.) in order to gain cultural competence to advance one’s knowledge and understanding of between and within group difference among Latinxs.
- Engage in ethical decision making that involves Latinx populations within the U.S. Discuss Latinx individual and societal roles affected by these decisions and how these decisions have a greater impact on particular groups.
- Examine how Latinxs have been positioned within local and national communities, cultural systems, and discourse using in class discussion and readings.
- Examine media representations of Latinx in film and other popular representations
- Arrive at an understanding of how Latinx psychology is both theoretically and intellectually important in relation to the Latinx experience in the U.S.
- Provide experience in using writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking and communicating.
- Provide tools and training that enables students to write effectively using the conventions of psychology, racial/ethnic studies, and Mexican American and Latina/o Studies.
- Provide students with the ability to respond effectively to the writing of others.
Sociolinguistics of Mexican American and Latina/o Communities
Sociolinguistics is the study of the interaction between language and society. In this course, students will learn about a variety of sociolinguistics topics, but with a particular focus on sociolinguistic phenomenon in Latina/o communities. “Sociolinguistics in MALS” examines the presence and use of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and other indigenous languages in the US, by focusing on those aspects that characterize Latina/o communities, such as language acquisition; bilingualism/multilingualism, language maintenance, language change, and loss; language contact phenomena such as code-switching, lexical borrowing, language brokering; linguistic identity and ideology, linguistic attitudes, and the intersections of language, gender, race, ethnicity, politeness, and social class. Students will explore the different linguistic aspects that help shape identity, identify and illustrate historical developments relevant to the presence of Latina/o populations in the US, discuss the diversity of US Latina/o communities and its linguistics implications, discuss and analyze important language policy challenges posed by the presence of various language-speaking communities in the US (mainly those involving Hispanic and Latina/o populations).
Latinx Linguistic Repertoires
Latinxs in the United States are not a homogenous group and neither are their language(s) and language experiences. Through processes of colonization, immigration, language contact, as well as policy, the ways in which Latinx acquire, utilize, and experience language(s) vary. The purpose of this course is to explore existing literature on how Latinxs utilize language(s) as a form of identity and self-expression, but also empowerment. Topics to be discussed and analyzed include, but are not limited to: bilingualism, language acquisition, heritage language learners, language policy, education, humor, code-switching, language brokering, language ideologies, stigmatization, and translanguaging. The goal of this course is to draw upon research from linguistics, linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, as well as social and cultural studies in order to better understand the complex mechanisms both internal and external that lead to language use and language variation among Latinx populations in the U.S.
I’ve also taught the following graduate conference courses at The University of Texas at Austin:
- Language, Identity, and Technology
- Latinxs & Language
Other Teaching Interests
- Figurative Language
- Psychology of Women
- Decision Making