Since most people holding a Ph.D. in linguistics become university teachers, it is important for a graduate program to set up a framework within which teaching skills can be developed. The Department therefore requires that every student acquire some teaching experience, either through faculty/student team teaching or by being responsible for teaching a section of one of our introductory courses. In addition, most seminars are structured in such a way as to provide maximum student responsibility and opportunity for classroom participation.
The typical graduate student begins preparation for a teaching career by apprenticing with a faculty member teaching introductory linguistics (either Linguistics 101, "People and their Language," or Linguistics 201, "Introduction to Linguistic Theory").
Students gradually take on greater responsibility and prepare to teach independently. This may involve leading discussion sections of Ling 101 or teaching a section of Ling 201. Ling 201 is the ultimate responsibility, which nearly all of our students undertake. Graduate student instructors in Ling 201, called "teaching associates," have almost complete control over the content, evaluation, and instructional methods for a 30-student section of this course. Needless to say, this experience is essential preparation for an academic career.
New teaching assistants should attend an orientation program offered by the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development each fall.
Instructional resources for faculty and students are also offered by the UMass Library
A database of UMass graduate student-designed 201 materials is available. A CD version is also available. Contact , current TA Coordinator, with any questions.