In and out of the classroom

It’s always great to have a speaker visit one’s class or to take one’s class to experience a different learning environment. I took my “English Grammar in Use” class to the Special Collections section of Memorial Library, where librarians Susan Barribeau and Robin Rider introduced us to early volumes of the Philosophical Transactions and other early scientific texts. (Fun fact: The pad thingies the books rest on are known as “book futons.”)

As part of their course work, students updated the Grammar Badgers website and added several new features, including an interview with linguist John McWhorter as well as with teaching assistants from across campus and, a linguistic listicle (“Linguist tell all“).

At the end of the fall term, I had the privilege to be part of the “podium party” at Winter Commencement. It was very special to see every graduate cross the stage from up close. (Since my alma mater, the University of Göttingen, doesn’t really do robes, I was handed a hood with German colors — not sure which college and degree it actually belongs to.) The person next to me in the picture is Lori Berquam, our fabulous Dean of Students.

During spelling bee season, speech language pathologist Beth Coppoc Gunshor from BCG Language & Literacy gave a guest presentation on the linguistic basis of spelling in my class “The Structure of English.” Beth shared insights from her work with students who struggle with reading and writing. She is passionate about teaching students how to analyze the structure of words — recognizing common roots and learning about the behavior of affixes. English spelling — it’s not as crazy as you think! (Bonus fact: “helicopter” and “pterodactyl” share a common Greek root.)

Beth Coppoc Gunshor

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