Latin American Culture Through Conversation (SPAN 3101)

Dec 2006

Marina is a delightful teacher in that she is very friendly and seems like she truly enjoys speaking Spanish and discussing hispanic culture with her students. However, the course is not very helpful if you are trying to improve your Spanish considerably. True, it is an opportunity to speak Spanish, but you will probably not do so for enough time to make serious improvement. Moreover, the material in the book is incredibly boring and not very relevant to current issues. While the most interesting discussions we had in class were spontaneous ones about modern Latin American culture, politics, etc., the teacher insisted on convering everything in the book. That said, she did have a lot of knowledge to add on the subjects presented, which did make the readings a bit less painful. Essentially, you should take this class if you want two credits for doing next to nothing. I highly recommend that you use it as the required language class before going abroad if you are planning on traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. That way, you fulfill the requirement but don't have to work too hard. But if you do end up taking the class, make sure you take it with Marina, she is excellent.

Jan 2006

Don't take this class to maintain your fluency. It's too infrequent, and not particularly intensive. If you want to read good poetry and criticism, perhaps watch a film or two of note, go right ahead. Dr. Potes is a soft-spoken woman, and calm, but also very passionate about what she does - a musician, a social critic, and an adherent to her region's culture. Her intense curiosity seems to draw the most reticent students out of their shells; someone so receptive and genuinely interested takes the fear out of speaking Spanish. That seems to be Dr. Potes' goal in this class.

Oct 2005

Prof Miranda is Great. He's funny, sarcastic, isn't afraid to challenge the status quo, is not phased by students talking about their love for drugs, or their apathy towards smoking in front of children. He's also a great teacher, pushing his students to express themselves in Spanish and giving minimal yet very constructive criticism when we mess up. This class is the highlight of my week.

May 2004

Sra. Golston is an extremely nice woman. She is dedicated to helping her students improve their spanish. She is more than happy to meet with students during office hours, etc. My only complaint about her is her seeming lack of preparation. Sometimes she seemed a little lost in class, so she told us to just kind of talk (in spanish) amongst ourselves. It's possible that I mis-read these situations; maybe this was really how she wanted to run this kind of strange conversation class. I also felt like she could have encouraged a little more conversation and a little less reading out of the (bad) textbook. All in all, she did a pretty good job teaching a class that any spanish-speaking person could teach. In fact, she is probably over-qualified to teach this class. In general, I would recommend her, as she is extremely kind, and clearly cares about her students.