NEW FACES: Linguistics welcomes Dr. Jaydene Elvin

Assistant professor Jaydene Elvin joins the Department of Linguistics

The College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State is the largest college on campus, encompassing nine departments, and the Armenian Studies Program.

Of the 60 new faculty members at Fresno State this fall, about 22% of the new hires are in the College of Arts and Humanities. These new faculty bring innovative research, diverse disciplines and technical expertise to our college, strengthening our programs across many of our disciplines.

Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to these new faces, by department.

Department of Linguistics

Jaydene Elvin, linguistics assistant professor

Dr. Jaydene Elvin joins the Department of Linguistics as an assistant professor, coming to Fresno State from the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University in Sydney, Australia.

Elvin has two primary teaching areas: teaching English as a second language (TESL) and general linguistics.

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: I’m ready and excited for a new adventure! I’m looking forward to getting to know all of my students and colleagues. I’m hoping to be able to motivate students to learn about the role of linguistics in teaching and to get them involved in research.

Q: How did you become involved in your specialty area?

A: I’ve always been interested in language learning so when I completed my B.A. in Spanish, I decided to complete my M.A. in TESL. While I was completing my M.A., I met two professors who gave me the opportunity to work at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, in the speech and language program. From then on, I was hooked! Those professors encouraged me to complete a Ph.D. on the interrelation between second language speech perception, spoken word recognition and speech production. Interestingly, my Ph.D. focused on Australian English and European Spanish learners of Brazilian Portuguese, but the theory applies to the learning of any language, including English.

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the Linguistics Department offerings here at Fresno State?

A: I’m excited to bring my knowledge of second language speech acquisition to my TESL courses. I think it’s important that TESL students are aware of the role of speech perception in language learning and how it affects our ability to recognize and produce words. Many language learners (and even some language teachers) do not realize that the reason we speak with a foreign accent is because we are already listening with one! So while many ESL classes focus on teaching students how to pronounce certain speech sounds, they don’t often train students to improve their speech perception skills. I think it’s a really important part of speech acquisition, so in my TESL classes, we will look for ways to incorporate this knowledge into our teaching.

I’m also really interested in ESL classroom management and teacher performance skills. Generally, these topics are covered in a one-off workshop or as a topic in a class, however, I plan to make them an integral part of some of the courses I will be teaching here at Fresno State. I’ve got some exciting plans for our TESL practicum course!

Q: What are you reading?

A: We have a Siouan reading group in the Linguistics Department and so I’m actually reading some chapters out of Grazyck’s (2007) “Grammar of Crow.” I’ll be working with some of my linguistics colleagues on Crow, so I’m excited to learn more about the language!

Q: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

A: I was actually planning on a career in technical theatre, but instead I spent a year in Spain (yes, I speak Spanish!) and then decided to go to university. But, I will always love performing and being involved in the arts. In fact, those old drama skills are going to come in handy when I am working with my TESL students on their classroom management and teacher performance skills!

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom or a mistake students tend to make?

A: Students should never be afraid to ask questions in class or to approach their professors for help outside of class if they need it. I get it, some of the things I’m teaching may be difficult to grasp. But, I want my students to have a positive learning experience, so I think it’s really important that you feel comfortable asking questions approaching your professor for help.

Q: When are your office hours?

A: 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Fridays

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: My door is always open, I love to chat and I love to collaborate!

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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