course
Intermediate 2

Nov 2012

If you want to know why half of these reviews worship Raquel while the other half demonize her, read on. Raquel does not fuck around. She wants you to do the work she assigns you, and frankly, there's not much outside of class. Yes, she requires you to write in class essays, but I honestly don't think they really matter for your grade, regardless of what she says. I know a girl in my class who was AWFUL at Spanish and failed every single one of those essays yet she got a B or B+ in the class because she tried during class and made it clear that she wanted to improve her Spanish. If you genuinely want to get better at Spanish and have fun at the same time, this class is for you. Everyone in our class got substantially better at Spanish because of Raquel, whether they were good or bad at Spanish to begin with. I love Raquel and really hope she is still teaching here because not only was she an amazing teacher, but she made me question the way I think about everything, from language to social issues. She is willing to talk about drugs or sex or whatever will interest the class and that makes it a lot of fun. While I (and everyone else in my class) loved the time we spent with Raquel, I can understand why some people don't agree with her tactics. She does make it seem like half your grade is based on how you perform on the in-class movie essays, but I have evidence they don't, as long as you are working to improve each time. She will also start a fight with you in Spanish and cause you to get extremely frustrated that you can't say what you want to say, while she has the entire Spanish vocabulary at her disposal. My guess is that the students who reviewed her badly made it clear to her that they didn't want to be in her class, or that they were looking for an easy A, and she wasn't having that. And I respect her for that. There are definitely language teachers at Columbia who don't really push their students. Bottom line: If you genuinely want to improve your Spanish and are willing to try during class, you want to be in Raquel's class. She is a riot and will care about you if you care about her class. Also, she may try to scare you out of being in her class on the first day; this is her way of weeding out the lazy students. BUT If you are just trying to finish the language requirement and don't really care about your level of proficiency, maybe try another instructor.

May 2011

BEWARE! If you want to learn Spanish, or feel as if your tuition dollars are being put toward good use, stay away! Borgman is without question the worst Spanish teacher I have ever had (and I've taken Spanish since 6th grade, at a public school). 1) Classes have absolutely no structure. 2) She speaks English for about 60% of the class period (what happened to the idea of learning by immersion?) And 3) Your grade is the most arbitrary thing in the world. You will have no idea whether you will receive an "A" or a "B-" until you timidly log onto SSOL come post-finals time. Stay Away.

May 2010

I had Jose for Intermediate Spanish II from 7:40-9 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. THAT'S RIGHT -- A thursday and friday night class. This sounded like suicide at the beginning BUT jose is the best so it turned out to be amazing. He is one of the best professors, if not the best professor, that I've had at Columbia. He is a great teacher that knows his stuff - he co-wrote the Gramatica Basica book and tries to teach grammar without memorization. Because we don't learn in the normal, boring, textbook manner, we have a lot of fun. We learn without realizing that we learn! This class will also help your speaking skills immensely as no English is allowed... The best part about Jose is his fun, witty, enthusiastic manner. Take his class! You'll see what I mean and you won't regret it.

Jun 2007

The BEST Spanish Professor I've had at Columbia. Super sweet, smart and reasonable. I would switch around my entire schedule if it meant another class with her. Seriously, this lady is the bomb.

May 2006

A class with Flora is an experience to say the least. The woman is out of her mind! I'm sure she was very intelligent at one point, but from what I hear she's losing screws with time. It is true from the other reviews that you need to suck up to get a good grade in her class; she definitely choses favorites. The class doesn't really go by the syllabus that much which is departmental so you're screwed when you get to the final. On the other hand, most of the class is reviewing homework assignments that everyone just copies the answers out of the packet and into the book for, and she frequently lets class out as much as 45 minutes early. I'm really not sure if she knew she was letting us out so early, because the woman is that out of it. Don't expect though that it will be completely easy and an easy A, on certain assignments she can be a pretty harsh grader.

Nov 2003

Professor Motyl is a wonderful person to have! I really enjoyed her Intermediate 2 class. She is alway very friendly and positive. You may also get to go on field trips in this class!

Aug 2003

I've spent 6 years taking german classes, and the highest marks I've gotten have been B's, coupled with C's and D's. Jutta's class was the last one I had to take for my requirement, and I was relieved to finnaly find a German teacher with a heart. I got an A- in this class. She understood when I had to miss class for a job interview, when i was sick, let me make up missed assignments when i had sports conflicts, and conducted a great class. Highly recommended!!

Apr 2003

I took this class because he had good reviews and I wanted to learn some Spanish. But, unfortunately, I learned nothing. This is a GREAT class if you want to do nothing, get an A and have some fun. However, if you care about learning Spanish I definitely wouldn't take it- there's nothing assigned and Ernesto doesn't really seem to think it's important if his students learn anything.