Dear CCCLI (California Community College Language Instructors),
Welcome to the CCCFLC blog! Since I’m the blogger right now, I’d like to give you some information about my background and experience. My name is David Forbes Pardess but at this point in my life I like “Dave.” It sounds less like British nobility. Anyway, I grew up in multi-cultural, multi-lingual San Pedro, California. At San Pedro High School I managed to take three years each of French, German and Spanish. I absolutely loved studying languages and cultures. I also had my French teacher help me start learning Italian on my own and my German teacher guide my introduction to Russian. At UCLA I was like a kid in a candy store—there were so many languages and other interesting subjects to explore! But I had to control myself and wound up with a BA in Romance Languages (1971), an MA in Romance Linguistics (1974), and later (1990) a PhD in Romance Linguistics. I taught Spanish as a TA (Teaching Assistant) in the UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese from 1972 to 1975. I was next in line to teach Portuguese, but a couple of new grad students arrived from Brazil and since they didn’t know Spanish they got to teach the Portuguese. Besides Latin and the “Big 5” Romance languages (the fifth being Romanian), by the end of my time at UCLA I had also taken (for some reason or other) some Bulgarian, Catalan, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian and Yiddish, plus several courses in linguistics, my favorites being those focused on phonology and historical linguistics. In the summer of 1975 I had the incredible good luck to be hired as a full-time instructor at brand new Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar. I taught a lot of Spanish and Italian and some French and Portuguese at Mission from 1975-2012. I retired at 61 in 2012 for health reasons that, thankfully, no longer exist, but I still teach Italian and linguistics as an adjunct at LAMC. In the 37 years before my retirement I also had part-time gigs at Valley, Pierce, City, Moorpark, Cal State Northridge, Cal State LA and UCLA where I met a lot of interesting people and experienced many textbooks and ways of teaching. I’ve also co-authored a Spanish textbook, given demonstrations of various teaching methods at UCLA, and attended symposia with speakers like Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrell. As you can see, I have a lot of years of varied experience and have formed opinions about topics we will be discussing in the blog. Even so, I am not doctrinaire or closed-minded to new ideas. I do think, however, that at this point I can pretty well predict what new ideas and methods are going to work or be the best way to spend precious time both in and outside of class. But we’re here to share ideas and experiences, and your input is just as important as mine. I’ll try to be entertaining, and sometimes even play devil’s advocate a little; please don’t take anything I say too seriously. And please consider my blog entries, even if somewhat lengthy, simply as points of departure for further discussion. Let’s begin by talking about our students!