TAKE BACK MY POSITIVE REVIEW -- DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. You will be so unprepared for Intermediate I!!!! Romero will not teach you the appropriate grammar.
I agree with all of the positive reviews on Professor Johnson. Now that I am not a student anymore, (last semester Spanish, woo!), I can safely say this... EASY ON THE FUCKING EYES.
I loved this class. This class was my favorite online class. There were a couple lessons during each class, we would do group activities, and present our work. It was a small class, which made it fun. Battezzati is super sweet and is always open to questions. In this class, the teacher only talks in Spanish, which may seem intimidating, but that was the hardest part of the class. The assignments were not difficult and were even fun sometimes. There was a final paper and a final presentation. Homework was usually done through an online textbook or was a writing activity. Homework was a completion grade.
Ben is understanding, teaches well, and makes class engaging and even entertaining. If you can take his class, you will likely have a good time and learn the content well. His teaching is clear, especially of grammar topics, and it often seemed more clear than what I'd experienced from other instructors. He also is willing to clarify stuff in English, especially administrative matters, to make sure people understand. Google Translate felt accepted though for words we didn't know but wanted to use, which maybe is a good or bad thing. He was also willing to amend the curriculum and class schedule to meet our needs. When we asked to work on pronunciation, he came to the next class with a lesson on pronunciation. This is part of his extremely understanding nature which, applied to his teaching, makes him always willing to improve his teaching. Three big examples: 1) when a quiz had a listening section with an accent we didn't feel comfortable with, he graded leniently; 2) when we suggested a different format for the final presentation and gave impromptu feedback on the COVID project, he listened and changed the final; 3) when we had a quiz scheduled for a day when many of us had midterms, he changed the schedule to give us more study time. Overall, class was a fun time too. He gave us engaging topics to practice our Spanish with (e.g. talk about a celebrity breakup), had a relaxing sense of dry humor, and got in on the fun with us when we dressed up for Halloween (he put on a lion mask). The downsides: didn't have a ton of time to practice speaking Spanish, and some might find the class a bit disorganized. The end result was class environment that everyone seemed to feel very comfortable in. For our final presentations, while Ben's WiFi cut out (he was in a place where a big storm knocked out some wires I think), we all felt continuing our presentations, with some recording them, and willing to stay after class to support out classmates who still had to present.
Professor Jimenez is a really nice and helpful teacher. He's available in & out of class, and is really dedicated to his students. The class can be a little disorganized sometimes, but I didn't find it nearly as bad as the other reviews made it out to be. He really encourages every student to talk, which for me, was really helpful--my oral/listening skills have definitely improved this semester at a much faster rate than they did in my high school classes. A lot of the class functions in small discussion groups to practice conversing, so I guess what you get out of it depends somewhat on the effort of your classmates. His grading is pretty easy--the quizzes are based directly on the textbook chapters, which means you know exactly what's coming and if you study you'll be fine.
I took Elementary Spanish II with Fran in Fall 2017. My Spanish did not improve even a little bit, and he spent most classes going off on strange linguistic tangents. Additionally, he gave little to no guidance for our final project. My group and I handed in our final project and we returned to school for the next semester to find that he was not pleased with any of the projects from the entire class and he gave us the option to redo the project for full points back. He ended up giving me an incomplete as a "placeholder" until he put in the final grade, apparently unaware that incompletes are permanent on Barnard transcripts, and I had to go to CPAS to get the incomplete removed. I needed his approval for CPAS to consider my petition and he waited until 10 minutes before his approval was needed by CPAS to send in any information, even though I had been emailing him once a day for two weeks. Additionally, we are nearing the end of Spring 2018 semester and he still has not graded our final project or input a final grade for the class for my fellow group members and me. One of my group members was unable to apply to a scholarship because of the blank on his transcript because of this class. I have repeatedly tried to get ahold of Fran and he keeps dodging my emails. His behavior has been so unprofessional and disrespectful of his students' time. DO NOT TAKE ANY CLASS WITH HIM!
This is the most honest assessment of Fran I can give. I will begin with umbrella statements regarding what types of students will like him and those who will not. If you are not very organized and do not like to plan your workload across days/weeks/months/semester, you will probably get along with Fran. He is, without doubt, the most disorganized professor I have had at Columbia. In short, he is a hot mess. He rarely has a lesson plan (unless you consider coming to class only to have him put on youtube videos whilst assigning you group work from the book covering material you have not seen yet a lesson plan). I am a very organized person (homework syllabus, study schedule, etc.) and his class and his personality does not mesh well with those like me. One might think only an organized person would have success in a class such as his, but his lack of foresight and nebulous due dates makes for a miserable experience. Simlarly, if you require structure and honest assessment, Fran is not for you. We have tangentially touched on the lack of structure, but I would be remiss if I did not reinforce the fact that Fran does not have a plan for you. He jumps around, sometimes going between chapters in successive lessons. Additionally, he is known to change assignment dates and assign substantial work hours before it is due, which leads into him not giving you honest assessment. That is, he grades generously. Now, this could be because he is a nice guy (undeniably so), but I think the bigger factor is that he has low expectations for you. Thus, those who desire to learn the language, or at least feel comfortable using it outside his classroom, ought not take Fran. Those who do not wish to put in at least 3-5 hours a day on Spanish should not take Fran. Typically, you could get by with an hour or two a day, but with Fran, you need to make up for what he lacks. This is to say you will have to teach yourself the grammar and syntax as he prefers to place you in groups and focus on conversational Spanish (useful, to a point). Without these additional hours, exams will be a nightmare. Thus, those who are disorganized, noncommitted, and desire dishonest assessment, you will get along with Fran. I have found those with substantial Spanish exposure will due well with him because you can do the one thing he emphasizes: speaking in Spanish. Sadly, honest beginners (those who should be in Elem I and II) will find themselves lost in his course. Additional tidbits: Fran missed four days of class during this past semester, which the astute Columbia Spanish student will recognize as one more than what the department allows before it deducts a full letter grade from your final grade. Three of these instances were without explanation. That is, we showed up to class to find a "substitute" who had no idea where he was in his lessons. One time, he sent us an email with about 15 pages of grammar work, which he did not teach us, plus a 200 word writing assignment at 4pm the afternoon before it was due at 840 the next morning. Sure, we did it, but we did not get anything out of it. The worst part of it is he left town and missed that class and the one after it after saying all this was due. Why assign all this work for the next day if he knew he would not be there to check it (one of my classmates saw him with his suitcase leaving campus a half hour after he sent the email)? He finally got around to checking it two weeks later, and by checking it I mean he put the answers up on his powerpoint. That is, something we could get from the back of the grammar book. Conclusion: Fran, simply put, is a nice man, but please do not let this allow you to believe he is a desirable professor. I can only recommend Fran for students who have significant exposure to Spanish, those who do not like structure, and those who just want to satisfy the core.
ISAURA IS THE BEST PROFESSOR EVER!!! TAKE HER CLASS!!! SHE IS SO SO AMAZING!!! She is just a phenomenal Spanish teacher. I had her for Elementary 2, and it was my favorite class. She was so patient with me if I had any questions, she made learning Spanish so fun, really not a lot of work, she explained really hard concepts in simple ways, she revived my passion for this language. TAKE HER CLASS! Now I believe in myself and I feel like I can actually become fluent!! I've talked in Spanish recently to people I've known for a long time and they told me that my Spanish is noticeably much better. It's all because of Isaura.
First semester into college and this was my absolute favorite class. José made everyone get to know one another really quickly making everyone feel at ease. We learned through his funny powerpoints and through his numerous games. His methods of teaching are very effective if you are a visual learner as I am. I never left the class in a bad mood. You can also tell that everyone genuinely enjoyed going and sitting through class. Cannot emphasize enough how incredible this class was. Learn Spanish just so you can have this teacher!
José is one of the best professors you can take a class with at Columbia. Period. I took a 5:40-6:55 class with him on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, but he never made this class boring. I always looked forward to taking class with him, and as someone who had zero experience with Spanish before taking Spanish I and II with him, I admit that it was intimidating at first. But I guarantee you that he will make you fall in love with Spanish and him. First of all, there will be no English spoken in the classroom. And it's unbelievably helpful in picking up a foreign language, because you're forced to quickly adapt to listening to and speaking Spanish. But I think for someone who didn't know any Spanish at all, his kindness, enthusiasm, humor and care for his students made the language as a whole extremely attractive. In terms of grades, as long as you return his enthusiasm and show that you are willing to be serious about learning the language and that you care, you will get a good grade. I personally didn't deserve the grade I received, but because I had never missed a single class and always participated, I got a grade better than I expected. That said, I found it incredibly disrespectful that other students took advantage of his easy-going and casual nature to talk while he was lecturing, or refuse to speak Spanish, or simply just not attend class. The thing is, by disrespecting him and not taking his classes seriously, you're doing yourself a disservice by not taking advantage of this brilliant professor. José deserves every single teaching award that could possibly be given to a professor, and I'm so incredibly fortunate to have been able to take this class with him. I'm still taking Spanish even though I've already fulfilled my language requirement with something else, and although the professors I have taken since then are also brilliant, I will always miss José.
Hector was the worst! He was a nice enough guy, but a truly awful professor. He absolutely NEVER responded to emails and didn't hold office hours. His grading was arbitrary. He didn't give really any grades back until the very end of the semester, so no one had any idea how well they were doing in the class. His teaching was confusing and when the class didn't understand, he didn't take the time to make it more clear. The class was a disaster.
Where do I start? I guess with the part that he's a huge fucking asshole. More assignments than any other Spanish class that I've heard about. Complete disregard for all of his students' well-being. He doesn't give even the slightest fuck about what you have going on outside of class. This is evident in the millions of assignments and ridiculous deadlines that he throws out. Fuck this guy. Stay the fuck away from him at all costs. Take Spanish with anyone else.
Why is Prof. Romero so highly rated?? Why?? She is a wonderful person, very kind and sweet, but her class is a mess. She will assign homework at 2 am and expect it done for class. She will change due dates, she will assign projects that make no sense. She is an incredibly harsh grader. Most students are failing this class, and I had to P/D/F it. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS
Professor Abraham is incredibly understanding and fair. He makes it a point to be available for his students. However, his method of teaching, at times, leaves a little to be desired. Having already had a substantial background in Spanish, I was able to nonetheless get through the course fairly easily but others often complained that his lectures were a bit sporadic. Most classes were spent doing various exercises or working with the book. It is clear that Professor Abraham means well and that he is very passionate about his work, but sometimes his class felt a bit like a waste of time. However, overall, I did enjoy the class and would definitely recommend him to somebody just trying to get the language requirement out of the way.
Alma Mora is the WORST professor I have had at Columbia thus far. Not only can she not speak English, she assigns absurd amounts of work. For example, a 28 minute video about art AND we weren't allowed to read from a script. None of the other Elementary Spanish II classes had to do this video. Her grading is crazy: I do not know one person in my class that ever got an A on any test or paper. STAY AWAY FROM HER. If you actually want to learn Spanish, Alma Mora is not the Professor for you. She can't relay information about tenses in a clear way, which is obviously unhelpful, and refuses to work with students (especially GS) who have jobs outside of school/ the class room. She claims that nothing is her fault, and thus blames her department for her miscommunication with her students or the intense work load she assigns us. If she actually wanted to help/teach her students, she would make an effort to meet with them and find the way that helps them learn best. She also is horrible at responding to emails, and on many occasions, I emailed her a few days in advance of a test or of a due date for a paper, and she never got back to me. In my personal opinion, a Professor should be sitting at the edge of their seat waiting for a student to ask for help. Alma Mora did not teach me an ounce of Spanish this whole semester, and instead, I turned to the internet to teach me because it was more reliable and responsive than her. Essentially, I am completely and utterly disappointed with the education I’ve received by Professor Mora, and the fact that the Spanish department has kept her as a Professor for so long.
Great professor! This was one of the most interesting and engaging courses that I've taken. He has a very different method of teaching and stays away from the traditional lecture type course you may be used to. He hopes that his students grasp more than just the language. I thought this was an amazing aspect of the class. There are some reviews who felt it was a waste of time to go to class after March and that you should stay away from him. He is by far one of the most understanding professors and will help you as much as he can if you need him because he genuinely cares for his students. It is true he might of had a difficult time during that period after March, but that is not indicative of the teacher he typically is. He is a human being and is not perfect. As students, we tend to forget that. Overall, I recommend him to any student. I believe you will be pleased with him as your professor.
I love Prof. Jimenez-Caicedo, and having taken two semesters of class with him, I can say for certain that there is a reason he has a silver nugget. However, his charisma aside, I feel obliged to review him objectively. Prof. Jimenez is extremely approachable, understanding, and encouraging, and can be a great professor when he chooses to be. My Spanish improved immensely after taking his class and I am forever indebted to him for he helped me through my most difficult time: having literally no previous exposure of Spanish, I walked into his elementary 1 class last semester finding that my classmates were already ahead of me. It was an intimidating experience--I would get a stomach ache every time I had to go to class because I was terrrified that I was going to be called on and be embarrassed in front of my classmates. However after these first few agonizing weeks, I actually looked forward to going to class. Prof. Jimenez was the most enthusiastic, energetic, hilarious, thought provoking and absolutely engaging professor you can expect. He helped me develop my skills and my confidence and made me fall in love with Spanish. I always felt so motivated that I genuinely enjoyed doing all the assignments, like the biweekly blog posts and the essays. Class was just so much fun and Prof. Jimenez turned us into a big group of friends. Overall, a great experience. However, I do share the feeling with the review below that by the end of March, things started to fall apart. Prof. Jimenez did not give any real instruction on anything relevant to the course material for the second half of this semester, and instead gave us lectures on Latin American culture and his personal life. While I enjoy the cultural elements of his class and appreciate his teaching philosophy of "changing the world through the word", I at times became frustrated at his endless digressions and student-led debates over simple grammar uses that were leading to nowhere. I was especially disappointed that he gave up the very helpful oral exercises when I was getting more and more into them. Also, he could be slow at replying to emails or giving us feedback on written assignments. I noticed that some of my classmates never discovered that he never gave some of our compositions back, but being a very organized person myself, I could not neglect the fact. I suspect that a lot of this disorganization had to do with his personal life, and I feel bad about writing this for there simply aren't any negative things I could say about him or the class before March. He has been a phenomenal teacher, and has a way of making us learn without realizing it, but I wished he could be more structured and prepare us better for the departmental exams. All that being said, he is still pretty much the most popular choice in the Spanish department. If you believe in having fun and have a passion for the language, you probably wanna be in Prof. Jimenez's class, but you'll need to push yourself a bit harder. Definitely make time for his office hours if you are struggling with grammar, if you need to discuss your writings, or if you just need some constructive advice. He is super helpful when you approach him personally.
JP is a nice guy. He clearly loves his kids, and he clearly wants us to learn something about the world after taking his class. That said, I literally cannot fathom why this guy has any positive reviews, let alone a silver nugget. He just didn't teach us any Spanish. We got lectures in Spanglish on linguistics, Colombian history, the American education system, and the meaning of life (I kid you not). What we never got was an effective lesson on preterite vs. imperfect, on irregular verbs in the conditional, on ANY topic that was actually relevant to the course material. At the start of the semester, we'd occasionally do structured activities that helped us grasp the material, like reading things in small groups or having discussions relevant to the vocab list. But all semblance of real instruction fell away by the end of March. I have no idea why I kept on waking up at 8:40 for that bullshit. It's an easy course. You'll probably do fine. But if you want to learn a language, stay far, far away.
I found Mercedes to be a great professor! I had her first semester of my freshman year, and I was really nervous to see how language classes would be conducted in college. I took 4 years of Spanish in high school, but have always struggled with it, so needless to say I was terrified on the first day when she only spoke in Spanish! However, I am confident to say that my spanish skills immensely improved after taking her class. She conducts every class entirely in Spanish, which really is the best way to learn a language. It only became annoying when I had to ask a question and didn't know how to say it in spanish and would feel awkward asking it in English. Class time is usually devoted to working in small groups, which was helpful because it was a great way to become more comfortable speaking Spanish. She's a tough grader, but if you put in some effort and actually do the homework exercises getting an A or A- isn't too difficult!
She's great! She really focuses on conversation and therefore a lot of time in class is spent conversing (participation is 20% of the grade and it seems as though she's pretty generous w/ the participation grade as long as you actually participate, which it seems impossible not to). Although in class she emphasizes practicing speaking the language (vocabulary) I feel like the tests and homework emphasize grammar. The grammar in elementary Spanish is significantly easier to grasp than the grammar in intermediate. However, I feel like the sequence (w/ her) is definitely manageable as long as you put in effort and stay on top of all of the grammar.
The negative comments below may work to the advantage of students who ultimately choose to take Fran's section. Fran is really an exceptional educator - not a lecturer or instructor mind you, but an educator - and this really comes through in small classes. Fran's approach is to teach you Spanish for the language's sake. Contrast this with lecturers who teach for an exam or otherwise rigidly follow a textbook or check-list. Fran places heavy emphasis on spoken Spanish, expecting everyone to participate without being overbearing or intimidating. On the contrary, Fran is exceptionally sympathetic and patient. He reviews grammar in class but expects students to have familiarized themselves with the topics at home. He is widely read and surprisingly knowledgeable and is willing to let conversations flow where they will. Nonetheless, he does review and assign materials in the curriculum, as he is obliged to do, and one does not feel under prepared for exams. Fran is a soft-spoken, deeply thoughtful, and invested educator. He is the best language educator I've had the pleasure of studying under and would highly recommend him to anyone looking to substantially enhance their grasp of the Spanish language.
Fran is a very sincere and genuine person. In class, he is really interested in his students learning how to speak and communicate effectively in Spanish. When it comes to actually teaching grammar, vocab, etc.. he does not spend that much time on those things in class, and rapidly brushes by them in his powerpoint slides. This is a great class if you want to converse, but the midterm/final will end up being mostly self-study because he speaks very rapidly and it is hard to understand him. (95% of what he says is in Spanish, while some other Spanish teachers us a lot of English while explaining concepts, which is more effective at this level since we are still only in Spanish 2). As far as work is concerned, he is very lenient and the only things he really checks are the compositions and the myspanishlabs. As far as grading, he really looks for improvement in the course, and at the end of the semester, he changed some of the past composition grades/participations grade to give you the higher overall course grade, which I thought was very fair since he graded kind of harshly in the beginning. I am little concerned about going on to the next level, since I did not really learn that much in class (it is very hard to understand and learn EVERYTHING in Spanish-even definitions of vocab were provided in Spanish, and some students did not understand the words used to define the first vocab word, preventing the students from actually learning the word- at some points just saying the English definition is better, but Fran strongly tries to incorporate as much Spanish as possible, which should be save for a higher level Spanish course).
I think the other reviewers here were put off by Fran's somewhat unorthodox style, which is definitely unlike those of the other language professors I've encountered here. Instead of lecturing for the majority of the class and requiring students to participate during certain activities, Fran's class is casual and conversational. He does strongly encourage participation, and is willing to restructure class if a fruitful discussion is going on. I don't see any problem with this. If you are in fact trying to learn to communicate in another language, you actually have to speak it. In terms of the organization of the class: he puts a calender up on courseworks at the beginning of the semester which he follows pretty closely. I guess If you're used to professors who holds your hand and remind you multiple times about every due-date, it can be a bit of an adjustment. Otherwise, you'll be fine. If you do miss something, he's very forgiving about deadlines. If you want to chill on your phone while getting the language requirement out of the way, take another section. If you actually want to practice your Spanish, give him a chance.
Honestly, this is the first and last time I will ever write a review on a professor again but Fran is the worst professor I have had at Columbia. He is a nice guy but he does not explain things well at all and no one ever knows what's going on in class. He really makes you participate and randomly call on you and will take it as an insult if you don't talk in class. He is very frantic with everything he does and talks extremely fast. It is honestly a waste of time when you walk into class. Seriously, DON'T TAKE THIS CLASS!
I absolutely love Isaura. She makes class enjoyable, so much so that Spanish went from my least favorite class to my favorite. She really wants you to learn, and she never makes you feel silly for asking a question. She also has a knack for explaining things in ways which are clear and that I really understood. There was a lot of Spanish speaking in groups and also as a class, and it was fun and also helped the students get to know each other (which was really nice and doesn't always happen). Homework was standard, and there were 4 compositions. She's terrific, you won't be sorry if you take a class with her.
The first day of I thought this 30something non-native Spanish speaker was going to be disorganized and kind of scared like most young teachers are. Oh, how I was proven wrong. Craig is one of the few young teachers that has his shit down. His in class activities actually got me excited and speaking instead of awkwardly sitting around. Instead of practicing trite dinner conversations, we talk about cool short stories, politics and crazy situations. He is also super chill and jokes around in class but still maintains the respect a teacher needs to do his job well. However, don't expect to walk through this class and expect to get an A. There isn't a whole lot of work but his expectations are definitely higher than that of my previous teacher (Gonzalez-Soto). I wouldn't recommend his class to anyone just looking to get their language requirement out of the way with as little work as possible. If you actually want to learn Spanish, TAKE HIS CLASS!!!
Not only is she a wonderful instructor, but she is also a wonderful person. Classes were informative and she would happily go over grammar and vocab. Sometimes they'd get boring just because we would be doing work in groups and she gave us way to much tie to complete the assignments, so you just end up talking in english, which she doesn't really care about. This class manages to be easy and help your Spanish. She gives A/A+ on almost all writing assignments and really wants you to succeed. Class participation is big and easy to get an A on. Take this class. She is adorable.
Oh my gosh, Javier is the kindest professor around. He is super patient, friendly, and the class never had that uptight, intimidating feeling of many language classes. Ideally, you speak Spanish the whole time, but Javier's not above explaining something in English if it's necessary. My speaking skills improved much more in this single semester class than in my three years of high school Spanish. Javier uses great PowerPoints (which he also posts online), language and speaking exercises, and his approach seemed to provide the basis for a really natural acquisition of the language. The class is light on written repetition, so unless you take the outside initiative it might be difficult to build up vocabulary and grammatical rules. Take this class!!
This is probably the best and most rewarding Spanish class I have ever taken, hands down. Unlike most other graduate instructors I have ever encountered at Columbia, Diana actually puts effort, planning, creativity, and care into her class. She is incredibly organized and makes use of all kinds of technology--CU EdBlogs, Google Sites, MySpanishLab, in class audio/video, etc. Note: because she uses the online service MySpanishLab, DO NOT BUY THE BOOKS USED OR SEPERATELY, as only the new book SET includes access to this, and seperately the access is very expensive. Expect to learn a lot, but also expect to be a little confused in class and commit a good amount of time outside of class. The time commitment is NOT overwhelming, however, as it is spread throughout the semester evenly. Rarely will there be any sleepless nights caused by her assignments--they usually take no more than 20-40 minutes 3x a week, and she is reasonable and forgiving if you forget an activity or two. The only things that take longer are compositions, rare longer assignments, and one project (it was centered around hispanic/spanish art in NYC and was as fun and rewarding as any other project I've done here).
This man is the best professor I have had so far at Barnard. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to take a Spanish class with him, I would highly encourage you to do so. He is extremely kind, caring and patient. Even when people in my class asked him repetitive questions and yelled out in English, he never lost his temper and remained extremely calm. His comments on all of my papers were extremely extensive and helpful and he is very available outside of the classroom. Because he is from Barcelona he really loves Spanish language and culture as well as sharing it with his students. Although the workload was a lot (we had to do all of the exercises for all the chapters we did in the red and blue gente workbooks as well as selected grammar exercises and compositions), I feel like I learned more Spanish with Javier in one semester than I did in my four years of Spanish before college.
She is a very good professor. She gives daily homework, but as long as you stay on top of it there shouldn't ever be a problem. She never picks the homework up. Instead, she goes over it in class so if you don't do it then she will know when she calls on you. She is very nice and really makes an effort to help everyone in the class succeed. She responds back to e-mail fairly quickly. She doesn't speak too fast and makes it easy to pick up on the language. I always looked forward to this class. She is very into group work. I'm not sure if all Spanish classes are like this, but every class we had to work with a partner. It was usually good when you had someone who was a decent Spanish speaker, but sometimes it sucked. She is pretty easy going. If you forget to do your homework one night, she doesn't hold it against you for the entire semester.
Basically he is awesome. Flexible with due dates and understanding. Wants you to do your best and have a good time. Class is very enjoyable and doing the homework isn't a big deal. You practice speaking a lot which ends up being really helpful and you learn without realizing it.
After taking Spanish 1102 with Juan in the Spring, I would feel wrong if I didn't write a review for him. Hands down, Juan is great. He had no trouble keeping our whole class engaged for the whole semester, which is especially difficult with a class that meets 4x a week. In short, Juan turned the class into a group of friends, who happen to be learning spanish together. We usually spent the majority of the class talking to one another and learning new things about everyone in the class, which eventually turned us into a big group that could speak together comfortably. Juan was most concerned with all of our individual development rather than being picky about grammar assignments and homework, which was a huge help and relief. I learned more spanish in one semester with Juan than in 4 years of high school spanish.
I would take professor jimenez's class again in a heartbeat. He has a way of making you learn without you realizing you're actually learning things. His classes are structured, as you'll see how he writes the class agenda on the board, but the class flows so smoothly you'll barely realize you're going from one task to the next. He's got a great sense of humor, is extremely friendly and very encouraging. you will never have to be nervous about speaking out loud in faulty spanish in his class because he is super nice when correcting you. just generally a great guy. if you want to have a good time learning spanish, professor jimenez's class is the place to be!
She is a really nice person,and you can tell that she puts a lot of effort into maintaining an entertaining class. However, she is not always great at explaining the material. In addition, if she ever notices you closing your eyes even for a second she will let you know it. She was also a really hard grader. The compositions were worth 25% of our grade. However, the grading scale used for them was unclear and they were graded ridiculously hard. It did not matter if I spent two hours, or five on a composition, I could never get an A on it. So all in all, she's not a bad person so don't hesitate taking her unless you really want an A in the class.
I took Sooudi for both elementary spanish II and intermediate spanish I. I would recommend this class if you have a little background in spanish. Sooudi is well organized (following the syllabus very closely), very helpful, and also patient. I definitely recommend visiting her in her office hours if you are confused at all on her material. She is very helpful outside the classroom, and will even make time for students that can't visit during her office hours. I would recommend Sooudi if you have taken spanish in high school and have a very basic understanding of some of the material, but i would not recommend her of you do not have any foundations in spanish. Overall, she is a very well prepared teacher who is understanding and helpful (which is hard to find at Columbia). She grades work fairly and averages the rough draft and final draft of your essays to get your final grade on an essay.
After reading the previous reviews, I was kind of nervous taking Raquel's class but in the end I was glad I did. She is a bit eccentric and has some wierd rules, but her eccentric ways and rules only help you in the end. Her teaching style is a bit scattered but you get used to it. She does throw people out of the class for yawning and stretching but she only does it because she knows it's catching and pretty soon the whole class will be yawning if she doesn't outlaw it. You will have to work in pairs for the whole class, there is no individual work in here class but it does help with your conversational skills. I recommend the class only if you aren't a stickler for details bacuase she really doesn't have a structured class.
Overall a thorough and helpful professor. She isn't giving out any bonus points though, that's for sure. I would recommend her, as she can be there for you and she really goes through all the grammar. She is also lenient on a late assignment or a missed class.
Let me break this down for you, I couldn't tell if i hated the class or if I hated how she taught the class because I was too busy doing all the freakin homework. She is no joke about the homework. I spent so much of my time just trying to complete all the assignments that I honestly didn't learn much spanish, which is very sad. She has the ability to teach the class, I saw it a few times when I looked up from doing MORE homework! I am in intermediate spanish II now and I have about 1/3 the homework I had in D.Romero's elementary II course.
Armanda is great!!! She is super-nice and knows her spanish cold. She reviews all the vocab and grammer quite well and still fits in time for us to listen to Spanish songs and films (which surprisingly have really helped me out language-wise). She is very approachable and very fair in her grading. Take her if you can.
One of the best teachers Ive ever had. She is smart and creative, and engages all students to participate in the class. She is always available for help outside of class, and is also good at responding to emails. The class consists of both exercises from the book and ones she creates, and all are done with a partner. She prefers to explain grammar at least once in english, which is very helpful. She is also just a pleasant woman. Jokes a lot, likes to discuss current issues, and uses music or props occasionally. Try not to miss more than 2 or three classes, because she does mark down. Also, the lowest test grade was dropped.
Wonderful teacher! Anytime there was a question, she would stop and try to explain it the best way possible. She was an English major in her college years, so she is always willing to give a quick, but relevant, explanation of the Spanish-English grammar questions. Always willing to work around your schedule, very reasonable grading and the corny games actually got a little better (and more helpful) as the semester progressed. Take her class if you can!
If your looking for a Spanish teacher who is both demanding yet fair, Angelina Craig is for you. Unlike other Spanish teachers I've had, she does not hold students accountable for ridiculous amounts of busy work. She is very reasonable and motherly and very fun to have as a teacher. I must warn you however, DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH IN HER CLASS!!! Solamente espanol or its OFF with your head!!!
Although elementary language classes can often be cookie-cutter in the way they are taught, I have to say that Professor Winkel's style is very unique. Part of the reason is simply because of who he is. As an American graduate student in the Spanish and Portuguese department, he has a deep understanding of both Spanish and English, so he can almost always give you a precise explanation for any grammar rules in Spanish that can be explained. (Of course, there are some things that can't be explained, but that's just the way languages work.) Second, he's about as close to someone like yourself you can get as a professor at Columbia. He's a great guy, and I had absolutely no trouble relating myself to him, and I don't think anyone in the class was ever alienated by his style. This made it really easy for the class to learn. Understandably, many first-year Spanish students want a professor who makes you speak Spanish all the time in class, and provides you with constant cultural experiences. Such an environment will probably teach you how to say memorizable phrases in Spanish right away, but you may never get a good explanation on how the phrase was constructed. I think that once you finish the class, it's much easier to forget what you've learned because you don't really know why things work the way they do in the first place. In Professor Winkel's class, I feel that I have obtained a solid grasping of almost all the grammar in the Spanish language.
Anabela is one of the best instructors that you can ask for. She is the most helpful and the most pacient. I was initially worried because of the amount of homework but once you get the hang of things you are ok.This was a really great spanish class I recommend her whole heartedly.
If you want to be extremely confused and disoriented for majority of this class, take this professor. She talks incredibly fast and most the time I couldn't understand her. Most of the work in class has nothing to do what you are learning or goes along with the book. With this being said, she does care a lot about you learning Spanish. I would not recommend taking her if you don't have an extensive knowledge of Spanish even though this is an elementary class.
One of the best Spanish teachers in Columbia. Knows her stuff. Knows how to get it across. Easy grader and overall very pleasant. Sweet even.
Aura is an amazing teacher. She is always willing to help outside the classroom, and explains the language in an esay to understand manner. I had a really small class with her, so she would always stop and review something if anyone was confused. By far, the best language teacher I've ever had.
Melissa rocks! She knows her shit and explains it well. If you need extra help and can't make office hours, she'll make time for you outside of office hours. She's patient with even the dumbest mistakes, and doesn't make you feel uncomfortable. But few people, besides my language challenged self, ever needed extra help because she explains grammar so clearly. She speaks both English and Spanish perfectly. Her tests are challenging but she grades extremely leniently. She's funny and laid-back, and if you act like a clown in class, she'll call you out on it in a completely funny way. But she's so nice, she just wants to make sure you know your stuff so she can give you an A, so just do what you need to do. Even though spanish is hard for me, I learned a lot. I wish I could take the next semester class with her.
Emily is a great teacher!! She is very well organized and does an excellent job explaining the grammar concepts. Her in class activities are fun and very useful. In addition, Emily is very personable and friendly. I've studied 3 foreign languages here at Columbia and Emily is one of the best language instructors I've had.
This class was relatively dissapointing. It's difficult to pintpint what was missing... I believe it was just a very average course and I was expecting a great course. We sat and Professor Shatz lectured to us about the readings. I found him difficult to understand...
Excellent professor! She makes every effort to make classes interesting and enjoyable, which they were! About once a week we had interactive classes, either by some "social mingling" game or pictionary, charades, you name it. She has lots of fun sing-song-y mnemonics to help you with things that might be tedious or difficult to remember. Her quizzes were on the slightly challenging side, but that may have been simply because our class was a bit on the advanced side. I can honestly say that this semester we did not have a single class i could call boring or uninteresting. Highly recommended! As a side note, at least one reviewer mentioned that she is not a native speaker (as a positive attribute). I just want to point out that her pronounciation is very close to native, so there is no fear of learning incorrect pronounciation.
Diana is a great spanish professor. She has a lot of energy, and she makes classes interesting with a lot of her own activities and worksheets. She is also very genuine and will always answer questions. The class is not that hard, but be aware that she will always expect you to do your homework assigmnents (most of which take less than 10 minutes) and she will call on people during class. Participation is key here.
Paz is so cheerful and nice. She'll often come into class and go on this quick rant in spanish about something that just happened to her. It's funny and cute. Sometimes I understood it. If you get Paz, you will have a nice semester and learn some spanish. The workload is far from excessive. It's decent and the class won't overburden you at all. One day you have to do a 5 minute oral presentation or something like that.... over whatever you want. I don't think she grades this one too hard. You also do an oral discussion exam at the end, but it isn't solo. It's a small group. Also a pleasant experience. So anyway, Paz is cool. Enjoy her, you lucked out!
Adorable woman! This 5 foot Korean woman speaks beautiful Spanish, and loves it. She's enthusiastic, hilarious, and sweet. Ridiculously lenient this is an easy A no matter how bad your Spanish is, but honestly I learned more from her than from my last class which was a total waste of time. Her quizzes and tests are well-announced, and she prepares you for everything. Beware the departmental exams! But don't worry, like I said she's an easy grader.
Ernesto is a lot of fun and a fairly easy grader, but has no qualms about embarassing you in front of entire class if you cannot conjugate a verb correctly. At times he would come to class with a headache or just lack of proper rest and would occupy us with worksheets while he all but passed out at his desk. He doesn't spend a lot of time on vocabulary, mostly on verb use, which I think is more important anyway.
Theresa has got to be one of the best grad student instructors at Columbia. She is brilliant (tri-lingual!), personable, easy to approach, flexible, enthusiastic, and fun - AND a nice grader. Between Spanish-language conversations about your love lives and Friday afternoon Jeopardy games, you will learn more Spanish than thought was possible in an intro course. Â¡Es una profesora magnÃfica!
If you want to learn anything Gina is DEFINITLY NOT the person you want to take this class with. Not only will you not learn anything, but she will grade you really harshly and wonder why the WHOLE CLASS is not doing to well. She incredibly nice but a very horrible teacher that speaks WAYYY to much english and then tells the class they need to speak more spanishh.....
Profesora Lin-Martinez is nothing short of a delight! She always found ways to make class enjoyable and if she wasn't light-heartedly making fun of students in class, she was bashing her lazy, useless husband. In terms of academics, she was also great! She was a fabulous teacher who was dedicated to making sure every student understood the concepts. She insisted that Spanish be spoken in the classroom unless you asked permission first and she wouldn't hesistate to use English herself if it seemed like the class was struggling to understand something. She was always quick to respond to e-mails and was eager to grant extensions on the compositions if you needed them. She is extremely understanding no matter what the situation! Overall, she was wonderful! I would take a class just because she was the professor!
Professor Martinez was not only enthusiastic, organized, and informative, but also the nicest and funniest professor I had all semester. The pace of the class and the material was very managable and the assignments were very clear, relevant, and helpful and not at all overwhelming. Professor Martinez has a fabulous teaching style. Although the class is very laid back and enjoyable, she expects a lot and because she's such a nice person, you sincerely want to do your best. She even brought us Spanish deserts on two occasions. I'd love to take her class again. If you want to learn Spanish and have fun at the same time, DEFINITELY TAKE HER CLASS!!
When I saw there were no reviews of Sra. Martinez, I had to write... she's the best! Definitely sign up for her class. She is nice, funny, (makes funny comments about her lazy husband, etc). She gives a reasonable amount of work and grades fairly. The cool thing about Martinez is that she is willing to speak in English if the class is totally lost. If there's something super important, she re-states it in English. I had her class from 7:40-9pm and never missed a class... now that is a telling tribute of her greatness!
RUN FAR, FAR AWAY!!! If you're taking Spanish for the love of the language, and have plenty of time to devote to homework, studying and practicing speech...this professor is great for you. On the other hand, if you're taking spanish because it's required and you don't want a butchered GPA, find another professor.
This man is absolutely abominable!!! He speaks neither "academy" Spanish nor English: he speaks his own brand of venezuelan spanish in an accent that is extremely difficult to understand. He cannot pronounce names. Plus, he is aesthetically frigthening: beware his tendencies to dance and stomp his feet in class. Very tedious class, unbearable learning environment (Alphabetical Seating is required, daily graded homework) Does not explain grammatical structure. By far the worst class I've taken at Columbia!!!!
Phenomenal. Jenny is one of the brightest and funniest teachers that you'll meet (incidentally, she's also very pretty). She brings a *lot* of extra materials to class - every Friday was music day - and she teaches grammar very clearly. She often has off-beat writing topics to get us to use the stuff we've learned in specific chapters, and she often had us play games where we had to see who could conjugate verbs the fastest on the board (which got surprisingly competitive). As far as workload goes, it's the typical Spanish department workload. Jenny will make it as bearable as possible (ie, mininal trips tro the language lab). She also is very knowledgeable about Spanish and Latin American culture in New York. Overall, Jenny is probably the best way to get through any semester of Spanish.
If you are taking this class purely for the joy of learning spanish, with no care as to the grade, this is the professor for you. He is thorough, well planned and drills you. For the rest of us who actually care about out GPA. My humble advice is DON'T DO IT BOY. YOU GOT A WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU!!! His test are some primal torture device with the sole purpose of failing you, and he grades horrible. He is for the most part a stickler to the rules, and is to be nice a brutal grader. Overall as a teacher he is good but as a grader he sucks.
Well, I don't think you could ask for a nicer teacher. Before I chose my class last semester, I read the culpa reviews and all the other teachers sounded awful! Paz was unreviewed, and frankly i couldn't figure out why.... I think Paz realizes that this is a required class and that most of the students in the class are looking to fulfill the core. However, she made most class periods engaging and she was very encouraging throughout our awful attempts at speaking her native language. She is willing to see anyone in office hours and she even jokes around sometimes in class. Hopefully I can get her again next year!
Warning! Warning! He's a nice guy but a terrible, atrocious teacher. Cannot explain grammer to save his life. Does not prepare class lecture, exercises, or even a hint of a game plan. He puts the class through boring, repetitive exercises and has difficulty answering questions. I was seriously underprepared for Intermediate Spanish thanks to this guy. You might think you'll take this for an easy 'A'. Don't do it. You'll regret it in the middle of the semester and you're bored out of your mind and in Intermediate Spanish
Jenny is a nice lady who really does make an effort to make the class enjoyable. She will often bring in songs and newspaper articles to pass the time more enjoyably. She does not assign much homework at all, but the class is fast paced so 4 1page papers with rewrites suffices to be a good amount of work. Also, you really have to study for the tests and quizzes if you don't come into the class with an advanced knowledge of Spanish. However, as in most Spanish classes I imagine, the material is straight out of the book, and it is gone through chapter by chapter in an organized fashion.
Bordao is probably the nicest prof. I have ever met. He is a really great funny guy who will tell you about some of the strangest things and he keeps class interesting. BUT, he is not a Spanish teacher. He does not seem to have a very great knowledge of Spanish grammar (which is what the class is about!) so he can't tell you why things are, just that they are. His rules for usuage are, "Well that doesn't sound right, so it is wrong. See? Say it. Doesn't that just sound wrong?" Well, I thought it sounded pretty damn right when I wrote it. Also, he doesn't make efficient use of class time at all. You will be in class for about 1 hour 15 min and 15 mins of that class will be learning Spanish. The other hour is him off on one of his very odd and numerous tangents. Not to make him sound all bad, he does try very hard to help his students and his does genuinely care about them. It is just that you will have a hard time learning much Spanish. So, expect to teach yourself.
Prof. Bordao is a really, really sweet guy. He's funny, considerate of students (even if he calls you by the wrong name for the first month of class), and tells some interesting anecdotes of his life back in Cuba. All of this, however, canNOT compensate for his lack of teaching ability. Firstly, he cannot speak English proficiently, which, given this is an elementary-level class, actually matters. His Spanish is way too rapid-fire and injected with a very heavy accent, so no matter what language he's speaking in, you'll be sure you understand. The biggest problem, though, was that when a student asked a grammar question, he was often (literally) unable to comprehend the question, and so the class would spend an extremely painful twenty minutes while various students engaged in various things to try to get him to just understand the question (ignoring, for the moment, whether/how he'd answer once he understood), including pantomiming. While he's a sweet guy, he has NO clue what he's doing in a class room.
She's a great person, enthusiastic,helpful.. gives good handouts. easy-ish tests- if i actually knew spanish i would have gotten an easy A. not too much hwk at all, mostly stuff you can do in the 30 mins before class, during lunch.
Carlos is awesome - where else can you find a teacher who has breakfast at La Rosita, brings in spanish pop music on fridays, has a dress-up day in the middle of the year, and takes his class out to celebrate? Right, i thought so. Having class with Carlos was so good that we were all willing to drag ourselves out of bed at 10:00 to the dungeons of Pupin just to have class for 50 minutes a day - and it was worth it! look for him - he's definitely worth it
This man gives more homework than anyone could imagine. On top of that, he's scandalous. He plays favortisim and he's the hardest grader here at columbia if he just so selects to have you on his bad side. Which you have no choice in the manner no matter how much you suck up. Even though I earned a straight up A i was given much lower. The man is just so weird. Drop him at all costs.
An absolutely incredible teacher. I've taken spanish for three years of my life (including high school), and every class was a painful excersize of rote memorization. I was on the verge of hating the language, culture, everything, until I had Fernandez as a teacher. He not only makes learning the language worthwhile, but he gets the class interested in spanish culture (especially Mexico, where he's from). He'll tell stories about his childhood and other countries that make the class blow by, while learning a really interesting language. Take his class.
For most of the semester, we weren't sure if Spanish was Alicia's first language--because she simply refused to speak any English! And as 2nd semester Spanish students, this was not easy at first but then was actually the best thing that could have happened to us. Her no-nonsense and participation-based approach to teaching was absolutely the best that I've ever had from any TA or prof, for that matter--she's there to teach you Spanish, and teach you well. I actually looked forward to class every single morning at 9 because I knew she would be working us hard, and I would be learning. And I did, and got a great grade to show for my hard work.
Raquel is a great teacher - enthusiastic and energetic. She really works to make the class interesting for all students. And even though the class might be packed with 15-20 students...she makes sure that everyone gets to practice speaking. I thoroughly enjoyed her class.
Jose "Pepe" Hernandez should be avoided at all costs. While his abrasive attitude and frequent antagonizing of the students are amusing at first, when the pre-finals stretch rolls around and you miss an assignment or two, his love of public humiliation becomes a little tiring. Anyone in his class will attest to the fact that he creates a totally unnecessary high-stress environment, and not the kind that encourages actual learning of the material.