I served as a Teaching Assistant (TA), Associate Instructor (AI) and Reader for 16 quarters during my graduate studies.

  • Associate Instructor
    • Intro to Linguistics (LIN 1)
    • Linguistic Analysis I: Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology (LIN 103a)
  • Teaching Assistant
    • Intro to Linguistics (LIN 1, 1Y Hybrid course)
    • Linguistic Analysis I: Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology (LIN 103a)
    • Linguistic Analysis II: Morphology, Syntax, Semantics (LIN 103b)
    • Intro to Phonological Theory (LIN 111)
    • English Grammar (LIN 106)
    • Historical Linguistics (LIN 151),
    • Language Universals & Typology (LIN 152)
    • Intro to Public Speaking (COM 1)
  • Reader
    • Intro to Phonological Theory (LIN 111)

In 2015, I won an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award from
UC Davis Graduate Studies!

Philosophy of Teaching

I strongly believe in learner-centered teaching (Weimer, 2002)—a pedagogical approach that I have practiced as a teaching assistant (TA) and associate instructor (AI) at UC Davis. For me, being an instructor is more than simply presenting new concepts or ideas. I design my courses and discussion sections so that students play an active role in their own learning.

I strive to create a culture of growth and inquisitiveness, where students readily practice being challenged (e.g., problem sets, discussion questions). Here, it is important for these challenges to not always be letter-graded. For each lecture/section, I always provide ‘low-risk’ opportunities for students to synthesize and test their knowledge (in small groups or alone, depending on their personal preference). One of my favorite ways to do this is by designing worksheets (physical or online) that include interactive activities, self-quizzes, and practice datasets; critically, these worksheets are not extra homework, but are activities that students do while they are in class. 

Engaging with the material is key for their overall success in the course. This is especially true for lectures: here, worksheets/activities are a fantastic way to ‘break up’ the traditional powerpoint-based presentation. I enjoy these more interactive discussion sections and lectures, where students break-away to work in small groups and discuss their approaches. 

Michelle was hands down one of the best TAs I have had in my three plus years at UC Davis. She was knowledgeable about the material and was willing and able to answer any question students had. I greatly appreciated the effort Michelle put in to make our class worksheets. Worksheets that helped us practice the needed skills for homework assignments and tests. The extra effort Michelle put in to provide us with resources that helped us in the class was more than helpful. I have had too many TAs unwilling to go this extra mile for their students. I also greatly appreciated how available she made herself to her students, welcoming emails, appointments, and office hour visits to get help. Michelle has shown that she is a TA that cares for her students and wants them to do well.
-Student evaluation (TA, LIN 1: Intro to Linguistics)
I thought she did an excellent job answering questions and appealing to various ways of learning (e.g.: hands-on, visual, etc.) through different methods of presenting the material like activities and videos.
-Student evaluations (Instructor, LIN 1: Intro to Linguistics)
Michelle Cohn is always patient and ready to answer questions, even if she must pause our lab time to ensure that we understand the materials. She is always ready to go the extra mile to find ways that will help us tackle the homework, exams and help us remember the concepts we are learning in class. Our discussion time is always filled with energy and allows us to work with our classmates
-Student evaluation (TA, LIN 111: Intro to Phonological Theory)

Mentoring voice-AI projects

I have additionally co-mentored graduate and undergraduate projects exploring human-voice AI interaction. Here are a couple examples at the 2019 UC Davis Undergraduate Research Conference!