December 27, 2004

Young, Benjamin
[FREN W1101] Elementary French I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Generally a positive experience within the context of French 1. He seemed to be a fairly generous grader and prepared us pretty well for the coursewide exams. We also managed to cover all the material in a similar depth, unlike some other sections that fell behind. He was generally very approachable and nice, but didn't always remember when he had given extensions. Study the book's grammar lessons carefully because he often teaches the exceptions before practicing the basics.

I would recommend against taking French at Columbia. The other language departments seem less intent on trick exam questions and embarrassing presentations. Our exams and tests were full of unfamiliar vocab and structures, and they were always too long. This lets students with an advanced background screwup the curve. However, if you do take French, Benjamin is not a bad option.

Workload:

Standard for Columbia's intro language courses. He added one extra assignment right before Thanksgiving, but counted it as extra credit. (Though we didn't know that at the time). The final was very nasty and seemed more intent on tricking us than testing knowledge. (The same final was given to all sections). Grading sometimes seemed a little random, but often in your favor.