Skip to content
  • Print

Olga Sylvia

Visiting Lecturer, French


Phone: 209.946.2449


WPC-Annex 251


PhD, French, University of California, Berkeley, 2016

MA, French, University of California, Berkeley, 2009

BA, French and English, Moscow State Regional University, 1996

Curriculum Vitae 

Teaching Philosophy

Entering a classroom on the first day of class renders even many experienced instructors nervous because he or she realizes the importance of creating the right dynamic at the beginning that will define the student and instructor interactions for the whole semester. Foreign language classrooms can be challenging for students not only because they have to reveal their knowledge and share their opinions with their classmates and their instructor on variety of different, often unfamiliar, subjects but also because they must do so in a foreign language. Therefore, from my first minutes of my first class, I try to create an informal atmosphere in which each student is encouraged to participate when he or she feels comfortable to do so.
In my classes, I try to address different styles of learning and to accommodate each student's needs. I know from my studies and experience that students' academic performance improves when instructors use a variety of teaching methods to accommodate their different learning styles. In addition, I try to be accommodating to the different educational goals that students have. While some are interested in acquiring a deep linguistic and cultural knowledge of French in order to major in French or even to study it in graduate school, others simply want to gain sufficient knowledge for everyday use when they go to France for vacations. Moreover, I have extensive experience teaching French privately to people of different professions and interests, which had made me cognizant of ways to apply academic knowledge about the language to practice.
I believe that the study of a foreign language occupies a unique position among academic subjects because it embraces many disciplines and touches all aspects of life. While I obviously teach my students grammar, vocabulary, and written genres, I also guide them to relate the theoretical knowledge to their personal experience and encourage them to think about how language functions in society. I teach them to find "clever" ways to express new meanings they want to convey to their interlocutors by means of words and structures they already have, even if these structures are very limited. I want my students to overcome the idea that they need to know exact words and rules to be understood by others and to understand that a language represents the boundless options. I aim to help my students to develop a novel identity for themselves in the form of a new language.
In conclusion, I consider that my goal as an instructor is to recognize and respect student differences and to create an atmosphere in my classroom in which everyone has the opportunity to learn.

Scholarly Interests

Animals in French Renaissance; Animal Theology; Early Modern Philosophy; Teratology; Traveling Literature; Madness in Early Modern Literature; Medieval Literature and History; Medieval Manuscripts; Norman Presence in Chanson de Roland; Historical Analysis of Oxford Manuscript of Chanson de Roland


French 112: French Civilization, University of the Pacific (Spring 2016) "Real and Fantastic Animals in French Renaissance"
French 11B University of the Pacific (Spring 2016)
French 23 University of the Pacific (Fall 2015)