Second Year Russian I

Jun 2006

I hate Sergei, I'll be honest. BUT, I also grew to respect him as a teacher. There were times that we were both incredibly frusterated by eachother, but in the end, I think I actually managed to learn something. Yes it's a lot of work, and yes sometimes we have long awkward silences in class, but in the end I think it somehow worked out. It's one of those classes that the entire year you swear you aren't learning anything and it's all a waste until you get to the end and realize that you actually did learn...

May 2004

I agree with the previous reviews, both about the strength of the Slavic Department TA's in general, and about Jon's excellence even among this elite group. The third Grad Student instructor I've experienced in my Russian Language course history, John has been the best of the bunch. He is an excellent teacher for all the reasons mentioned in the other reviews; he knows how to teach the language to non-native speakers, he prepares extensively for each lesson, knowing exactly what he wants to get accomplished...but most of all, he keeps the pace of the class moving; it's not so much that we're covering material at a faster rate, but rather, that we're covering the same material from a wide variety of alternating approaches, and through different sorts of excercises. As opposed to simply having us read through the examples in the no good, poorly organized text book, John brings in his own excercises, which are always much better, and always include a healthy dose of that peculiar slavicist irony that keeps the class moving. Great teacher, I have no complaints at all. Highly recommended.

Jan 2004

Vadim lacks the enthusiams needed to make a language class interesting. He knows his Russian, but his explainations fall short of satisfying anyone with even the slightest interest in linguistics. To his credit, he does grade the homework, but his comments are not helpful. He only marks what is wrong, not why it is wrong. His classes are not worthless but there are so many better professors in the Slavic language department who are passionate about the language. If you are in his section, you may want to try shopping around a bit more.

Nov 2003

Margo Rosen is fantastic. I can honestly say she's the best language teacher I've ever had, and I've taken a LOT of language classes. Unlike many other teachers, she really engages the material and tries endlessly to pull your face out of the textbook and get you actually talking. Often, during group "conversation" exercises from the book, you have to leave your seat and actually converse with the other students. She encourages conversation in class, as long as you make a good effort to use the current material. I can't count the times we've all cracked up laughing over a bon-mot po-russki. Yet somehow, we still cover everything we need for the tests. I swear, room 707 must be in a time warp. She also really explains grammar, instead of just lecturing about it. If you want to know why that vowel is fleeting, or when you're supposed to drop the soft sign, she will explain it happily and articulately. She teaches a great class, whether your interests are academic or functional. She also rewards creativity, encouraging students to explore what they can do with what they already know. If you want a class where all you're expected to do is copy the example and change the word you're declining, please don't take Russian with Margo. If you want to have fun and learn Russian for real, sign up!