Intermediate French II

Apr 2021

This is my first time writing a CULPA review, but if anyone deserves one, it's Laetitia Ndiaye. This was my last semester taking French for the language requirement, and I'm so thankful I lucked into having her as a professor. She's a grad student, so I'm not sure how much longer she'll be at Columbia, but if you have the chance, take her section of French! She is so kind and truly cares for students. She can also relate because she is currently a student herself. Of course, language classes require lots of homework assignments. I never felt like too much was assigned for one day. We did read a book that was incredibly difficult and time-consuming (La Place), but she helped us with it in in-class discussions. The reading was also spread out over several days, and I think every Intermediate II section teaches it anyway. For many of the assignments, we could redo it as a quiz on Courseworks until we got a score we were happy with. Other assignments were mainly graded on completion. Either way, she gave feedback on every single homework assignment. Some of the assignments were watching a film and preparing for a discussion. She had assignments neatly arranged in modules on Courseworks. Her class is the best online French class I've taken, and I'm sure her teaching style is just as good (if not better) in a classroom setting. She encourages participation by calling on people for answers, incentivizing people to pay attention. She is also patient if you do not get the answer correct. The final presentation was helpful for getting pronunciation down. She let us either work in pairs or by ourselves, which I appreciated. Doing group work is so terrible in college. It was in place of a final exam, so I am finished with my French class before my other finals began. Overall, I can't complain about her at all! Take her class if you have the chance.

Apr 2021

Professor Holst-Knudsen is truly one of the kindest, most considerate professors I've had at Columbia. If you can get into one of her classes, you without a doubt should immediately stop reading this review and sign up because you won't find someone better than her. In terms of the class, Heidi makes an effort to, along with grammar and tense instruction, intersperse French culture, whether it be by means of movies, television shows, books, etc. And she doesn't overburden students with homework. The assigned homework is always clear and can be resubmitted again and again after online submission/grading. Heidi also doesn't believe in large, overbearing tests, preferring to give homework/quizzes on a regular basis, which ends up being a huge relief for students. She is thoughtful and extremely understanding in terms of late assignments. I personally have submitted compositions weeks late with no penalty. Lastly, Heidi did not give us a final exam. Instead, she gave us a final group presentation. This presentation brought the class closer together (even in an online environment), and worked really well to test our knowledge in a constructive way. Summary: Take her class!

Dec 2020

An easy A if you learn the grammar and vocab, and THE NICEST PERSON ON THE PLANET.

Apr 2020

Truly atrocious. The lectures are rambling and nonsensical--I'm pretty sure my French actually has gotten worse. We regularly are assigned readings/films with one day's notice that are comparable in difficulty to CC texts (some of the readings we've been assigned were literally assigned in the English version by my CC prof). Somehow thinks we're fluent in French and don't need any notice to do readings that are already in English. Maybe this isn't applicable for later semesters, but she's also been so unaccommodating during COVID-19. I know all professors are struggling, but she'll assign us about five days worth of work every single night, including really morbid ones like writing our own wills and causes of death (the assumption being that we'll all be dead by the end of the semester???). I'm not writing this review because I'm mad about my grades or something--the semester is mandatory P/F and even when we were getting grades it was sort of manageable. But be prepared for lectures that make you discuss how to end racism in France (which no one even knows how to do in English) and tests that focus on grammar you never even learned.

Jan 2019

I highly recommend Laurence Marie. She is energetic and kind but demanding. I felt that my French improved a lot with her, so much so that I went out of my way to take a course with her again.

Dec 2018

Hadley is one of the most amazing professors that I have ever had. Her workload is very fair- it is enough to learn the material but not overcomplicated or unnecessary. She really cares about all of her students and is very reasonable. She is fun and energetic and always in a good mood. Highly recommend any class you can take with her!

Nov 2018

Professor Albes is hands down one of the best teachers in the department. I still can't believe the amount of French I learned while taking her class even though I've taken French language classes for multiple years. She teaches grammar concepts in a concise, meaningful way that allows you to both appreciate the beauty of the language while also understanding how to use it. She is also insanely understanding and is absolutely willing to work with you if you need an extension on a composition or would just like to improve your French skills. I would highly recommend her for whatever class she teaches.

Dec 2017

Heidi is hands down one of the best French professors that I have had at Columbia. As someone who has struggled with the language but has to finish the program for the language requirement, I've found it very difficult to find a professor willing to go the extra mile to make sure that I understand concepts and the myriad of grammar rules that the language demands. Heidi has been so accommodating and has always offered extra assistance. Her attitude is very sincere and approachable and I appreciate her patience where other professors have displayed frustration. While I agree that her accent is quite American, I don't believe it takes away from the course at all. Her intense knowledge of the language more than makes up for it. I found her to be an incredibly engaging professor who is always prepared for class. Class sessions are very well structured and thought out, so if that is an environment that you prefer, she is a great choice. In addition to her language knowledge, she also knows a ton about French culture and makes an effort to integrate cultural topics in every lesson whether it be discussing current events or connecting grammar concepts to films and literature beyond just the scope of a typical Intermediate II syllabus. I am so happy that I got to have her a as a professor for Intermediate I and II and would whole heartedly recommend her to anyone looking for a professor that is personable, invested in your classroom performance, and knowledgable about the subject. Plus she is just a really cool person.

May 2015

O'Keeffe's class is a usually a one-man show, but no one seems to mind. Sometimes I wish that he would make more of an effort to stimulate class participation and listen to our ideas. My confidence in speaking French did not improve. Oral skills are targeted in Composition and Conversation, which I will take next semester. I valued O'Keeffe's passion for the French language, literature, art and history. He sparked my curiosity about linguistics, since he'd tell us about how words were formed. For example, the word "mayday" in English evolved from the French "m'aidez" or "help me." Writing about artworks in French vastly improved my writing skills as an art history major. It is helpful to copy the model of O'Keeffe's sample essays, handed out in class, because they are very straightforwardly and poetically. O'Keeffe is obsessed with literature and fables. Many of the paragraphs that we completed in class (by inserting the correct verb conjugations) were excerpted from Baudelaire, Baudrillard and other French authors. This made the usual painfully boring grammar exercises more fun and engaging.

Dec 2014

Heidi comes across as extremely nice during the first few weeks of class (aka shopping period), but then she becomes extremely passive agressive towards the class. Her exams are extremely difficult, both to prepare for and to take. The majority of class will be going over literature, but the bulk of the test will be grammar, barely discussed in class. Plus, this is the class where your accent will come to die. While Heidi definitely has a fantastic grasp of French grammar, her American prononciation of all words forces you and the rest of the class to care less. There is a serious lack of organization and communication.

Aug 2014

Masha Mimran is an outstanding professor (if she's reading, I hope she knows who's writing this). I consider the hours I spent in her class to be some of my most well-spent hours at Barnard, on both an academic and personal level. Professor Mimran is brilliant and hilarious. She led our class in stimulating discussions on the works of Baudelaire and Maupassant, during which she not only shared her own unique perspectives, but genuinely listened to and considered ours. This is rare, especially in the overcrowded French courses at Barnard! And she was able to make the grammar (and there was a lot of it) bearable, even enjoyable. She also organized other opportunities for us, such as hosting a French movie night. Professor Mimran is very much invested in her students--their well being, their ideas, and their success.

Jan 2014

She's a really good professor. She's hilarious, cheeky and engaging. She is thorough in grammatical explanations. Besides grammar, most There are about 3 quizzes, 3 compositions, a midterm, a final and class participation counts. She will drop your lowest quiz grade. One of the compositions is based on a french film of your choice so you have a chance to analyze a piece of your liking. Masha is also readily available to meet with you outside of class if needed. Just study and you will do well.

Aug 2013

Professor Mimran is a very nice person. She is very willing to meet with you in office hours (or even outside office hours) to go over concepts. The grammar in Intermediate II is a lot compared to Intermediate I. I found her explanations sometimes confused me even more so. There are a few papers (I think 3) where she grades on both your French ability and content. On essays she is tough on grades and getting an A certainly isn't easy (or even getting a B+ really). A lot of discussions on French Literature, really analyzing the short stories given out. Do not expect this class to be an easy A (as some lower-level language classes tend to be).

Jan 2012

Jason is a great professor! He's really nice, approachable, and funny. The pace of the class was perfect and he always made sure that everyone understood the material before moving on. The class consisted of regular grammar lessons and readings from well-known French authors (Baudelaire, Guy de Maupissant, etc.). He also adds in personal experiences and stories to the classes which were always humorous and interesting. Grading was definitely fair and the quizzes and exams were easy. If you have a choice, you should definitely take French with Jason!

Jun 2010

This guy should not be a teacher. His only job was to essentially assign homework and give tests. The rest of his time was pretty much useless. To say he is unprepared is an understatement. I feel like he would just walk into class, drop his book, and that's what we would do for that day. Vocab lists came out the night before the test, Paper topics were given on Thursday and due Saturday at 5. Why? Who knows, because we sure as hell didn't see it back for 2 weeks. I feel like a unlearned things in this class.

May 2010

I have to disagree with the first review. I only took this class because I had to fulfill the language requirement, so I have little interest in the subject matter. Prof. Leung made this class so enjoyable that I actually considered taking another French course. She is kind, patient, funny, a little off (in a good way), and great at explaining concepts. You can't teach a language like you would say, math- you can write out grammatical formulas but you also need tangential conversation about different points (about grammar, vocab, culture, whatever). We read some great literature, learned more advanced grammar, and learned a lot of music/film/theater vocab (which will definitely help if you plan on traveling to France). Granted, Prof. Leung was a little scattered sometimes, but I've been taking French since 7th grade, and I think it comes with the territory :)

May 2010

I found her teaching disorganized and confusing. She writes all over the board and so it is hard to follow her points. She would spend too much time on something irrelevant, and not enough time on grammar points that everyone had problems with. We didn't do much for basically the first half of the semester, and had 3 compositions in the last 2 weeks of class!! Though she is a nice person and genuinely wants to help us, sometimes she'd let the class dictate when we took a test or turned in an assignment. I found this annoying - she's the teacher, she should decide and the students can handle it. Seriously, don't take french with her, it'll be the worst hours of your week.