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Peer Teaching Evaluation

Faculty being evaluated: Keith Cagle, PhD

Peer evaluator: Brenda Nicodemus, PhD
Course: Structure of Language (INT 707)
Date Evaluation Completed: 12-27-14
I evaluated Dr. Cagles teaching of Structure of Language (INT 707) class, which he
taught and video recorded on November 20, 2014. I viewed two video recordings of Dr.
Cagle teaching the course. The links to the videos are provided here:
(Video Length: 10:48)
(Video Length: 1:04:15)
INT 707 Course Description. The INT 707 course description states that topics in the
class include phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and sociolinguistics, as well as
depiction, bilingualism, language acquisition, and language variation. Students will
identify and analyze linguistic features in their own and other peoples linguistic use, and
apply this information to and skill to translating and interpreting work.
Opening of class
Keith opened the class with enthusiasm. Made a comment about the students feeling the
burdens of the semester that would soon be alleviated by the Thanksgiving break.
Engaged the students in class by talking about the weather in DC and the heavy snowfall
in upstate New York. This was followed by asking the students and intriguing question
Who is the new face in our class? in which he was drawing attention to the video
camera and he explained that he was recording himself for evaluation purposes.
Same Handshape Story
Keith reminded students that they had experienced this activity in the past two weeks and
it was being continued in this class. Discussed allophonic variants of B and 5
handshapes. Dr. Cagle first provided a 1-minute example of a B-5 story. The story had a
sad ending and he apologized to the class. Several of the students were heard laughing at
his apology and the story. He attributed the story to MJ Bienvenu.

Review of Prior Class

The class was then warmed up and he then began a quick review of the prior weeks
lesson, which was on ASL sentence types, syntactic forms, discourse structure, and
pronominalization. He asked the class to quickly name the types of sentences that had
been discussed. Keith called on students and affirmed their answers. He also repeated the
answers so all students could access them. He limited his review to approximately two
minutes and then introduced the new topics: Discourse Register and Semantics
After a student presentation on Discourse Register, Keith introduced the lesson on
Semantics with the slide titled Why English is hard to learn and read and INTERPRET.
He proceeded with a lesson on homonyms and multiple meanings, e.g., the bandage was
wound around the wound. Keith worked with the student on several examples of
semantic equivalents between ASL and English.
Keith ended the class with short review session about the content that had been discussed
during the class. He tasked the students to express what they learned. His final closing for
class was to sign, Have a great Thanksgiving! but he modeled several signs for
Thanksgiving. How appropriate, given the lesson!

Notes and Observations

Keith gives a great deal of reinforcement to the students throughout the class. His
demeanor is highly professional but still inviting.

He made effective use of PPT and white board. He didnt overuse these materials,
but appropriately used them served to supplement his lecture. (Question: Would it
be possible to get a clicker so you dont have to move back and forth to advance
the slides?)

Keith reminded students what they had covered in the course and what topics
remained in the semester. In this way, he conveyed that he has a clear plan for the
entire semester and is guiding the students learning in a structured way.

Keith added life to his lessons by adding personal stories (about liking the smell
of nail polish as a young boy, how some older Deaf people sign HAVE-TO, etc.)

Timing was good on modeling the examples (and asking for students input). The
examples were gone through quickly and with clarity.

After modeling the multiple meanings exercise, Keith then had the students

brainstorm various ASL signs for other multiple meaning words in English.
Engaging activity.

In one situation, Keith had to gently remind a student that One student talks at a
time. He was both professional and non-threatening in making that reminder.

At times Keith repeated questions or statements from the students, which helped
the flow and structure of class.

Keith taught a highly structured lesson in which he warmed up the class, then
moved into a review, followed by the lesson content, and with a review of the
days work. The classroom was both dynamic but was under his clear guidance.
Keith achieved the goal of the course description clearly in this highly structured
and professional lesson.

Further thoughts
One of the strong points in the class was the discussion about prototypes and semantic
networking. I would encourage even more of this type of theoretical discussion in this
Masters course. There are interesting articles on direct and indirect speech, context,
pragmatics, and prosody in discourse and I think the students could benefit from further
discussion on these areas through the research literature. The students might not be aware
that there are subfields in linguistics in which people study semantics, pragmatics, etc.
Bringing in books on these topics might be of interest to them.
It was a pleasure to observe Keith Cagles teaching and classroom management. He was
highly organized and followed the structure that he had laid out for the class. He is
clearly an experienced and gifted teacher. I learned myself from doing this observation.