Gabrielle Smith-Dluha, MA


Room 3E-O1-35


Professional interests:

  • Motivation, creativity, imagination, and student-centered teaching/learning in tertiary education
  • Adaption of literary masterpieces for ELLs
  • Adaption of scientific articles for a wide public audience
  • Visual rhetoric
  • Social media, video and visual abstracts


On a personal note ...

What do you like most about your job?

I love class discussions with students. Students always come up with another way of looking at the issue, or the text, or answer my questions in unexpected ways. I learn a lot from students. It keeps the classes interesting, keeps me on my toes, and opens my eyes to other perspectives. I also love finding current material – an article, a satirical video, an image – and I think “This exactly illustrates what we were doing in class. I can’t wait to share it with my students.”


What's the number one piece of advice you wish you had been given as a student?

The writing assignments aren’t there for the teacher or for you to get it done so you can pass the class, get credits, graduate. The writing assignments are for you and you alone! For your own personal development. Writing at the university is so you can try out cogent thinking, try out developing an idea – your own idea, your own unique voice! Be confident in expressing yourself. Enjoy the process. Don’t rush through it. It’s fun. Writing skills are something you will use for the rest of your life. Being a good writer will make you stand out in whatever profession you are in. So, savor the fact that you get to practice being articulate and eloquent and get good at it now.


Which English word/phrase/grammar point do you especially like to teach to your students?

I find pronouns infinitely fascinating. In his book The Secret Life of Pronouns the social psychologist James Pennebaker writes “By analyzing their use, we begin to learn how speakers are connecting with their audiences, their friends, their conversational topics, and themselves….the smallest, most commonly used, most forgettable words serve as windows into our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.”


What’s your favo(u)rite line from a song or your favo(u)rite saying?

One of my favorite lines from a song is “The universe is shaped exactly like the earth. If you go straight along enough, you’ll end up where you were” in 3rd Planet by Modest Mouse. I used it in a story I recently wrote and published.


When you are not at the department, where do you like to hang out in Vienna?

The vineyards! My neighborhood is near the vineyards. To clear my head I like to climb all the way to the top, off the path, where the vineyards meet the forest, no one is around, I have it all to myself and there is an absolutely majestic view of the whole city. It never fails to thrill me and take my breath away.


What's the scariest thing you've ever done in your life?

Jumped off a 12 meter waterfall in Italy into a small pool below (Kids, don’t try this at home).