I have had the great opportunity to teach at different levels, from intro to lingustics to graduate seminars.

I believe students have always something to teach to their teachers. I am grateful to all of them for what I have learned. Only those who have taught will understand this wonderful paradox.

Anyhow, this is a sample of what students think about my teaching.

I have taken groups of students to field trips. Instruction in the classroom is the basic we can do, but I believe that having the experience of being in the field is incomparable and should be a crucial component in the education of any linguist.

Field trip to Yucatan, Stanford University people and Scott from UC Santa Cruz, 2007

I am advising the theses of

  • I was invited to give an Introduction to Lingustics guest lecture at the Department of Linguistics, Alberta, Canada. I never had previous contact with the professor nor the class. After the lecture two students e-mailed me. I was very surprised to see that undergraduate students were motivated enough to contact an unknown lecturer. These are their reactions:

Hey there! I'm a student in the Linguistics class you guest lectured in at the U of A and I just wanted to congratulate you on an excellent class! That was by far the best lecture I have ever attended. I am, as of yet, undeclared but you have inspired me to perhaps pursue a major in linguistics! Thank you for the wonderful lecture.

Your no. 1 fan,

Greg Johnson, Undergrad at the University of Alberta.


I attended the Linguistics lecture you gave yesterday at the U of A, and I just wanted to let you know that it was such fun, but also very informative and interesting! All day afterwards, I was making vowel noises to see where my tongue was situated in relation to the i and a sounds. I've been toying with the idea of switching majors since the beginning of the year, and your lecture, as well as the class in general, have really added to that idea! Thank you so much for coming out to present the lecture, it was really great.


Isabelle Brulotte, Undergrad at the U of Alberta

  • I was exposed to very smart and demanding Lin 1 student's at UCLA. This experience was terrific. I specially enjoyed their candid intuitions that often shook so many theoretical assumptions. We all should listen and take our Ling 1 kids seriuosly.

Mr. Avelino showed genuine concern for student learning. He did an excellent job. All assignments were graded fairly. This is a challenging course.”

He had excellent communication and superb knowledge of the course, Highly recommended and really nice.”

Heriberto was cool. He had answers for everything. He justified why a certain answer was that way. Overall, I enjoyed Heriberto.”

Very good, very fair TA. He went above and beyond the call of duty by making handouts for subjects that were not covered in class well enough due to time constraints.”

  • Some graduate student's evaluations

I taught several Phonology and Field Methods courses back in Mexico City. I consider my students from that period the most curious and creative. I am proud that several of them continued careers in lingustics.

- From Violeta Vazquez now a Linguistics graduate student at NYU:

As a teacher, Dr. Heriberto Avelino has a number of strengths I would like to remark. His courses were always well organized, based on a comprehensive and adequate syllabus, and known for choosing updated lecture materials. Every information concerning the structure of the course and the evaluation criteria was clearly established from the outset. Dr. Avelino himself provided the reading materials and designed the exercises we worked out through the course. With respect to the latter, Dr. Avelino often asked native speakers of mexican indian languages to come to the classroom and help us by giving information of their languages so that we could develop skills in phonetic transcription. This way of working with first-hand data was certainly helpful and effective.”

At every moment, Dr. Avelino showed a great capacity to explain and introduce new concepts, a capacity that reflected his overall understanding on the subject, both in width and depth. His ability to explain ideas and concepts clearly was outstanding, and I very much remember his creativity in this respect, for he would always find an interesting way to make his presentation clear. For instance, I remember that one day, near the beginning of the course, when he was explaining the organs of articulation in articulatory phonetics, he used a dentist's speculum to show us his own glottis! Although this might sound like a silly anecdote, I remember that class for making us understand the points of articulation more clearly that any diagram could have done. Dr. Avelino’s sense of humor and manage of knowledge always promoted active learning and discussion on the part of students.”

One of the things I value the most from Dr. Avelino’s courses is our fieldwork experience. He conducted a research fiel trip to the Matlatzinca community to work on phonology-morphology aspects of Matlatzinca, in which six students from his Research Methods course participated. That was my first fieldwork experience, and Dr. Avelino guided the work with expertise, and showing at all times a deep professional preparation and strong research skills. He had, and taught me as well, a very respectful way of addressing people and asking them for information for our research. He also taught me how to ask the pertinent questions, and late at night, we had long sessions analyzing the data we had gathered throughout the day. At this field trip, I had my first opportunity to approach intensively a non-european language, as well as a different way of life, under circumstances that contrasted with our normal urban conditions. In sum, these visits to the Matlatzinca community were valuable not only academically, but also as a personal experience.”

In sum, Dr. Avelino’s courses were my first contact with linguistic research, and he did not only was able to engage me, as well as my classmates intellectually, but he also ostensively showed the sensibility needed for fieldwork, a kind of knowledge I would not have acquired if it was not for a first-hand experience.”

Now that I have myself the opportunity of working as a lecturer, although in a different field, I try to apply some of the teaching skills I learned from Dr. Avelino. Specifically, I try to encourage students to write papers to be presented at local conferences, for this has proved most effective for my own formation. In conclusion, based on what I have learned from Dr. Avelino’s courses I would rate him as an excellent lecturer, and I would not lose the opportunity of taking another course with him.”

- From Carlos Salgado, now a Lingustics librarian at the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City:

Both clases were approached with a high degree of proffsionalism by Prof. Heriberto Avelino. As for Phonology 1, the syllabus and goals were designed according to the general plan of studies and explained at the begining of the course. Likewise the approach to each and every topic was always clear and the Professor showed willingness to offer examples of the topics and satisfactorily answer the questions.”

As fo the Field Methods, Dr. Avelino focused sistematically in ellaborating pedagogical materials used in ellicitation sesions, in a way that the phonetic aspects planned could be identified in each session. Along the same lines, the methodology used by Dr. Avelino to conduct the practical sessions was greatly productive, because in these practices with the help of native speakers of Indigenous languages we identified certain aspects such as tone and vocalic contrasts, phenomena of rearticulation among others”

-From Lucy Santana, now doctorate student at University of Concepcion, Chile:

Working with Dr. Avelino was a great experience. More than an instructor he was a working partner and friend who encouraged us to see beyond the obvious, presenting models of interpretation that perhaps with a different teacher less enthusiastic, we could not be able to understand. Despite that Dr. Avelino was responsible only for that course, years after, when I needed advice and information for my MA research thesis I asked to Heriberto and he helped me out to find them. The Phonological Models II taught by Dr. Heriberto Avelino was one of the main causes that made me specialize in phonetics and phonology, areas in which I am working until today. If I were to give a grade to Dr. Avelino I had to give him 10, because 11 is not allowed.”

I taught a grad seminar at UC Berkeley. One of the most rewarding experiences I ever had.

I have enjoyed the class and also leaned a lot from it. Heriberto has been a well prepared and inspiring instructor. I hope this type of hands-on course will be offered every semester.”

This course provided me with an excellent opportunity to apply linguistic methodology to outstanding problems, and thus gain valuable experience”

    From Scott Anderson, doctorate student atUC-Santa Cruz, taking my Field Linguistics Winter/Spring 2007 at Stanford University

I am thoroughly glad to have had the opportunity to take field methods with Heriberto. It was great to have a two quarter sequence so that we could both do the more traditional field methods things and also learn about various kinds of newer experimental methodologies and what some of the disadvantages of “traditional” fieldwork are. Obviously, the highlight of the class was the field trip to Quintana Roo and Heriberto went above and beyond the call of duty in organizing and leading it. To get to have that kind of immersive experience was an unparalleled learning experience both in terms of learning about field methods and in learning Yukatek Maya to help prepare us to do future work on the language.

In class, Heriberto did a great job of fostering classroom discussion and was always open to analyses coming from different theoretical perspectives which I really appreciated. My only criticism is that I thought that the class would have benefited from having a little bit more structure. Class discussions would have benefited greatly from having assigned readings and were sometimes a little disjointed. On the whole though, the class was an amazing experience and Heriberto’s hard work and teaching are to thank for this.