COMM ST 1B
Thank you for showing an interest in my class. I developed CS1B because I realized so many students from around the world want to learn both American-style English and American-style culture. So I asked myself, how could students best learn? How could they become fluent in the way Americans speak and act—the movies! When you watch a Hollywood film you hear how Americans talk and you see how Americans behave in many different situations. Thus, movies are a way of diving into American language and culture—immersing yourself in a way that is safe, comfortable, and fun. (I have found students learn most quickly and efficiently when they are actively involved and when they are enjoying the lesson.)
Overall I want Communication Studies 1B to make you more fluent in American-style English (language) and more competent in American customs (culture).
Here is a list of the specific goals I have in mind for you.
- Quickly and effectively learn to express your thoughts and feelings in English
- Make Hollywood movies a powerful tool to better understand Americans
- Be able to speak and interact with Americans in all situations
- Learn both standard academic English and casual American slang
- Use movies to develop your own personal style of speaking English
- Turn every movie into a way of better understanding yourself and other people
Now that I have told you what I hope you will learn, I want to tell you how I plan on helping you learn. What would be the best way to teach you American English and culture using movies?
Which movies? We will be watching three Hollywood films—Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; The Magnificent Seven; and Hell or High Water. I chose these three films because they will help you learn: the powerful stories underlying American culture (Fantastic Beasts); the roots and present day dynamics of American culture (The Magnificent Seven); and, how Americans now live in a multicultural society of immigrants (Hell or High Water). So you see, the class is set up to look at the past, present and future of American-style English and culture. Also, these are really good and popular movies!
How will we watch the movies? All of the movies will be watched outside of class. I want to use every minute of our class time together to actively talk about the movies. Therefore, every time you come to class you will be telling both your fellow students and me what you thought about each film. It will be the same as when you talk with friends about the movies you see at home but it will be in class and in English. (Note: If you cannot find a copy of these movies to watch—do not worry. I will put a copy of each film in Powell Library at UCLA so you can watch it in their Media Lab.)
I prepared the following course description so you can better understand what I have planned for your summer at UCLA. Please feel free to contact me at the above email address so we can chat. I enjoy hearing from students before meeting them in person when they arrive in class. See you this summer at UCLA!
For more information about the course including the syllabi please visit the course websites.
The time I spent in the course was a truly enriching experience. There was a great international kind of feeling during class. I learned many things about America itself but also about the countries of the other students – and of course they got to know about my country as well! It is funny and interesting to see how many cultures share the same roots and people living all over the world actually share a common ground. The work with movies ( watching them, talking about them in class ) and other media was a really fun way of learning. The instructor, Dr. Dee, is one of the kindest and smartest persons I have ever met, it really didn´t feel like class when he was instructing. I recommend this course to everybody who wants to learn more about America, media and international cultures!
~Lukas from Germany
Dr. Dee is awesome! I enrolled in his course 2 years ago but I can still remember what he did in that class even now. He helped my a lot not only as a prof but a friend!
~Peter from China
I really enjoy Dr Dee's class because it provides me with the opportunity to think more deeply about movies than I normally would if I were to view them passively. For me, the class has been very enriching, because the discussion and sharing style in which it is conducted gives everyone the chance to hear a range of opinions from others. This allowed us not only to learn from the professor, but also from each other. I like how this gave me the inspiration to further my knowledge about a range of topics brought up by the films assigned and this input from my classmates. Dr Dee has been a really great professor at facilitating these in-class discussions. He is warm and friendly and encourages everyone to share their opinions, even after class, as he makes himself available for office hours sessions. He also respects everyone's views and is always open to understanding various perspectives. Overall, this has been one of my favorite classes at UCLA; it has broadened my worldview.
~Amanda from Singapore
This class is a unique class, not like other classes that we memorize a lot of material and at the end of the quarter we forget. In Dr. Dee's class, I have learned about many cultures, and life stories about people, from almost all over the world. In my classmates' speeches, I have learned about the dolphin problem in Japan, Chinese culture in the U.S, religious beliefs of different people with different cultural backgrounds, and so on. In other words, this class teaches you life lessons that you don't learn in other classes and lectures. In summary, this class teaches skills that extends far beyond a letter grade and will apply towards your life.
~Sooren from Iran
About the class, I think the biggest benefit is getting to know American culture beyond the surface. We all learned the significant historical events in textbooks, we thought we already knew America well, but the class has exposed me to various cultural elements which are deeply merged into Americans' daily life yet not familiar to foreigners. Movies are quite emotional so through the scenes I saw not only the culture but also how it is interpreted by the people living in it, they bring the culture to life. I enjoyed the research and discussion quite well, the process of exploration actually offered more than the movie itself. Dr.Dee has been a great instructor, friendly, patient, willing to help. He always had something to offer and our conversations were very enjoyable and inspiring.
~Lukia from China
Dee Bridgewater is the co-director of the Communication Skills Summer Institute for International Students. He has been a lecturer in UCLA's Department of Communication Studies for thirty years, where he has developed innovative classes, aiding nonnative speakers, teaching assistants, and diverse groups of students to speak more effectively in challenging and foreign situations. A licensed psychologist in private practice for the past twenty five years, he has advanced training in script analysis and the creative process. He has also aided a notable group of actors, writers, and directors in creating award-winning television and movie projects.