January 22, 2004

Azagury, Yaelle
Composition and Conversation

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

As everyone knows, the language classes at Barnard are harder and better than those at Columbia with maybe some exceptions. Anyway, this course was definitely challenging, since it forces you to do lots of annoying stuff in French, the grading of which has no clear basis (ex. we had to write a resume in French, and were graded on the format and presentation of what we did instead of how the French was; we had to make ads in French and were graded by how the thing looked more than if it was correct). If you have great French, you'll get B's and B+'s unless you pair that with an eye for detail (aesthetic and grammatical) and some sort of flash/ hook for your subject (ex. make your final presentation fun, and she'll forget all about your French). She doesn't want this class to be boring, though you can space out through a lot of it. She knows her stuff, and speaks French as a native (finally!). She also seems a little too put together, but she really just wants to feel like a part of a group instead of a teacher. The fact that there was no midterm or final (not even oral interviews) was great because by the end of the semester we were just having fun. You'll spend most of the classes just talking about something she handed out. Take the course to keep your French from slipping and use this unique, small, conversational centerpiece to develop your speaking skills. You won't get amazing, but you'll get better.

Workload:

5 "compositions" of 1 page in length (some are just assignments like a resume or ad), 1 oral presentation done on topic of your choice with partner of your choice (seems daunting but is really easy), 2 films out of class (in library), daily stuff mostly reading with some translating (and stuff was actually discussed), but rarely needed to be done (almost never handed in), no tests or quizzes! don't need to participate a lot. I got an A and really was graded at best at an A- or B+. From what I heard, she gave everyone a break even though she seemed to be a hard grader throughout the semester.