Prof. Jin is obviously very passionate about teaching Asian American lit and clearly enjoys discussing the books she assigns. Her lectures are dotted with refreshing observations about the readings (which are indeed great by the way), and she also offers general remarks about the readings' themes and issues. A bonus is her genuine concern for her students. The size of the classroom impedes student participation sometimes, so I would suggest a smaller room and movable chairs. All things considered, a great course to take.
Great reading list. Nearly UNBEARABLE lectures, about as fun as chewing on tin foil. Seriously, this class was nothing like described in previous reviews. Jin seemed painfully uncomfortable speaking in front of the class...it was often downright awkward, especially when she attempted to facilitate class discussion (unsuccessfully). She herself said she was not great at conveying enthusiasm - that's an understatement. Analysis of the books basically boiled these really complex works down to a few bullet point themes and her exams ask you to regurgitate and support the themes she argues for. Essentially, the whole experience felt like a poorly run high school English course, despite the fact that there were a lot of grad students and majors in the course. We also had to specifically request feedback if we wanted it on the "papers" we submitted to courseworks, giving me the feeling that she was committed to doing as little work as possible. My advice: don't waste your time here.
Professor Jin is a great professor. She gives a mini-lecture, but then takes her class to task in discussions. She respects all points of view and can even see another side of an argument. At times, I felt that she hadn't seen all the sides of a piece of work yet, but that just means every idea is welcomed. She sets very good expectations for her class, and if you pay attention you should do well. She takes feedback very well and is concerned for her students. I really enjoyed her ability to bring up current events into the discussions. She offers a very diverse syllabus...but that said, the supplemental packet is awful and burdensome.
Prof. Gamalinda's class is 80% watching videos/listening to inane discussion/trying not to fall asleep and 20% self-investigation of what seem to be interesting texts. The reading selections run the gamut, from gay Indian poets to angry Chinese/Korean/Japanese writers. As a person who usually does well in these types of classes, I found the papers to be graded rather harshly--maybe our TA, Jason, finally realized that the lack of teaching in the classroom translated to a lack of integration in written work. In other words, I feel like Prof. Gamalinda does not teach at all--what the other reviewers said about classes being lead by student discussion groups is absolutely true. While this may be a useful pedagogical tool in theory, this probably ranks up there with Da Vinci's flying machine--probably a useful invention but in reality a complete and utter failure. That being said, if you usually do well in English classes, you'll probably do well in this class. If you want a slacker class and get a decent grade--B/B+, take this class. This class is DEFINITELY not an easy A.
I enjoyed Gamalinda's class. He picks interesting readings. I liked his teaching style and his poetic sensibility. However, I loathed going to class when the TA took over because she was the poster-child for pretentious English PhD students. At times, I appreciated her effort. It's sucks that the grading depends mostly on teh two papers due right around mid-terms and finals.
I only took this class because I thought it would be an easy A. The class was easy but not everyone got As. (I think the majority got Bs and B+) The only two books that were important in Professor GamalindaÂ’s class are America in the Heart and The English Patient. DonÂ’t ask how the last book fits into this course but itÂ’s important. I think it would be wise to get the syllabus from last semester and look at the essay question he assigned for each book, since a large portion of your grade comes from the two essays. Work out the papers way in advance if you want a good grade. I really donÂ’t think anyone got lower than a B in the class but I didnÂ’t know too many people who walked away with As. I think Professor Gamalinda didnÂ’t do the grading and it was our TA. She was harsh with the grades and she was very specific with what she wanted in our papers. I agree with the last review that this is a good slacker class, but if you want A in this class you have to write two excellent papers. Workload: Extremely light its ridiculous. A story or a poem for class each time we meet. One week off from class to read each of the novels. Saw around two movies (Â“Finding ChanÂ” and I forgot the other one). In the beginning of the semester he split us into groups to discuss poems. So you were left on your own to decipher itÂ’s meaning, which usually lead to nowhere. DonÂ’t expect too much from Professor Gamalinda because he is not the greatest lecturer. He would stop in the middle of his sentences and forget what he was saying. He is very approachable and friendly, but not always available when you need him outside of class. DonÂ’t even bother with emails because he takes a very long time to reply. Towards the end of the semester the TA basically took over and lectured the class. Sometimes I thought the TA was more like the professor than Professor Gamalinda. The two papers needed to cite books and articles he gave us.