course
Comprehensive Intermediate Spanish

Mar 2012

Perla is absolutely fantastic. If you are looking to take Spanish with someone who not only really cares about her students, but is also an expert in her field, you'll be in luck with Perla. It is so obvious that she loves teaching, and she makes an effort to make sure that all of her students stay on track with the course. If you need extra help, she's extremely accommodating. She's also super understanding if you need an extension. She grades fairly in my opinion. Participation is a large part of your grade, and she calls on people so essentially everyone participates which helps when final grades come out. If you get a chance to talk with her about Cuban politics or any politics really, definitely do so! She's a wealth of knowledge. If you're enthusiastic and put effort into the class, she won't over look it. Pretty much, she's great. I definitely recommend any of her classes. (I've taken three with her.)

Dec 2010

Perla's certainly very nice, but I must say this class turned me off to Spanish and Hispanic studies greatly. Classes were repetitive, which is typical with languages, but she rarely clearly explained the grammar we were studying. Had I not known most of the grammar beforehand I probably would have gone crazy. She definitely had favorites and didn't try to hide that, calling on the same few people over and over again. Her policy on compositions (she averages the grade between original and revised versions) was unnecessary since she rarely bumped the grade any more than from a B to a B+ even if all corrections were made. I also found it frustrating that she never responded to emails or made an effort to use Courseworks (or any technology) in this class. Overall, she's a sweet woman but did not create an environment or class that I enjoyed or found to inspire interest in the language. p.s. Don't get all of the books listed on courseworks (and DON'T buy the $80 online component), because we never used an expensive textbook or the online version. $115 wasted, $80 of which I can't get back.

Jan 2010

I took Perla's Comprehensive Spanish class, which is a combination of Intermediate 1&2. It was the fastest and easiest way to get through the language requirement and it was so enjoyable. Perla is such a sweet woman and her class was my most enjoyable class during my first semester here at Columbia. The class is not that difficult. She calls on students alot in order to get everyone to participate (class was only 17 students). So, I recommend that you do the homework so that when she randomly calls on you, you can actually answer the question correctly instead of worrying because you're not prepared. The movies that she assigned for us to watch were really good. We discussed them in class, some much more than others. As long as you sometimes have one thing to say, your good. There were days when I would barely say one thing in class, but I guess I proved myself in other ways because I surprisingly got an A-. The final group project counted for a good amount. It was written and oral. I think it definitely helps your grade if you put the effort in. I definitely would recommend Perla because she's so amazing and reminded me of caring high-school teachers, which I don't think I'll find often around here. cons: A little disorganized, especially when it comes to what she assigned for homework and from what books. A little confusion on the final project in terms what she expected for the first draft, but it didn't affect anyone's grades. We almost had an in class essay, which would have been kind of hard, but luckily, we ran out of time in class and we never had to do it. She taught alot of material in the last handful of classes, including several new verb tenses. Most of the multiple choice on the final was about verb tenses.

Dec 2006

If you get Carlos, count yourself lucky. Not only is he funny, easy going and an adept teacher moreover, he likes his students and understands we work hard. That's the pc way of saying he doesn't kill you with busy work. Great class to actually practice speaking. He won't make fun of miserable accents or look down at you as you fumble the conjugations outloud for the first time. If your first year left you feeling like a spanish retard, this is a great class to review the grammar and get comfortable using it. I highly recommend him.

Jan 2006

Prof. Golston does like participation, but she encourages some fun and thoughtful participation from her students, who often get excited during the discussions. She genuinely wants her students to be as excited as she is and to really learn the language. She speaks very clearly and fluently though she is not a native speaker. What stands out most is that she is a caring individual that wants to hear your voice--we will often stray from the informal course plan to talk about something she believes is more important. She will talk occasionally about her family and personal life...so maybe you will be lucky enough to have her husband as professor as well (he is a gold nugget, by the way)!

Jan 2005

Isabel is a great teacher. Although I had my conflicts with her over certain issues, I learned a great deal in the class. Although she is strict and gives an overwhelming amount of work, some of which is a little ridiculous, she was able to teach a large sum of information in a short period. I would recommend anyone who is interested in learning Spanish in a short period of time, if you're willing to put in the time.

Jan 2005

The December 2003 reviewer has blown things way out of proportion. The entire class didn’t hate Isabel. She doesn’t take off 5 points for accents. She doesn’t speak softly to herself. And although she does speak Spanish quickly and with a slightly different accent, you’ll quickly adapt. ABOUT THIS COURSE: Two semesters are compressed into one in this no-frills Spanish class—no games, no cultural lessons, no movies, no vocabulary(!), few short stories, ALL GRAMMAR. There is also some emphasis on listening, speaking and writing. The pace of the class is fast and you’re expected to teach yourself many of the concepts outside of class. Be sure you know what you’re getting into. ABOUT THIS PROFESSOR: I found Isabel to be somewhat of a disagreeable person. At the beginning, there was definitely some tension between her and a few students, but those issues got resolved. But she always seemed to have a rude tone when addressing the class both in person and in e-mails. As the December 2003 reviewer noted, she won’t hesitate to mark you late or lecture about it, yet Isabel herself was often late to class (she usually blamed it on the copy machine...but is that any more valid than the student’s typical excuse?). At one point Isabel decided that ‘late work won’t be accepted’ but again, hypocritically, she was often very late is returning our tests and compositions -- she usually tried to gain our sympathy by lecturing us on how much work she has as a grad student. The amount of work assigned for this class was pretty ridiculous. Over the course of the semester, we completed the ENTIRE workbook (even the language lab part). The workbook exercises (two chapters worth) were due the day before our quizzes, and the language lab part was due on the day of our quizzes. To genuinely complete the language lab section (yes, she wanted us to do every exercise...) would have taken about 4 hours—I decided to spend my time studying the grammar points for the quiz rather than listening to audio clips of lame documentaries about gangs...it’s a good thing the audio lab answers are in the back of the book! When she assigns 20 or 30 grammatical exercises I find myself doing a mediocre job on all – assigning fewer would have been more beneficial. Despite my many, many issues with Isabel’s policies and personality, these complaints don’t overshadow the fact that she’s a GREAT TEACHER. She genuinely wants us to succeed in learning Spanish and she tries very hard (and succeeds). She does a good job planning lessons and class time was well spent – attending class was worthwhile. Perhaps most important, she explains the grammatical concepts concisely and clearly and illustrates them well on the board. In the end, I’ve learned a lot of Spanish, but it was a rather painful experience.

Dec 2004

I liked Isabel and her teaching style. Take this class if you are self-motivated in learning Spanish. It seemed that those who were taking the class to fulfill a requirement were miseraable. Drawbacks of the course were limited time to spend on conversation and vocabulary development. We focused mostly on grammar.

Sep 2004

Everything the other two reviewers said about the Spring 2004 course is completely right. Although she is a very sweet person, she shouldn't be teaching Spanish, as even she will admit she doesn't know how to teach grammar. There is nothing you can learn from her that you can't learn from the book [faster and less painfully].

May 2004

gina is a very nice person, who i think honestly believes that she is teaching you. unfortunately, she isn't. the class is conducted at least 50% in english (sounds nice until you realize you aren't really learning spanish). nonetheless, when you ask her to explain a grammar point, she can't explain it, saying that instead you should instinctively know it.....from hearing the spanish that she never forces you to speak! my class was also bogged down by people who were all to eager to speak english and carry on fairly pointless conversations, whom gina allowed largely to run the class. to be fair, it isn't entirely her fault.

May 2004

This class was the bane of my existence for the entire spring semester. Gina is a very nice person, which is why I feel bad giving her such a bad review. Her class is completely unstructured. It was not made clear what we had to learn or why we had to learn it. Quizzes would be given with ambigous answers. She did not encourage classroom conversation. The whole class was a big waste of time as I did not need it for the language requirement.