course
Elementary Spanish I

Dec 2020

I LOVE THIS WOMAN !!! Prof. Lozano is the sweetest person I have ever met. She is so kind and genuinely cares about her students. I took her during our online covid semester so FALL 2020 and she was so flexible. She made learning fun and given the fact that I was on central time and taking this class at 7:40 am CT, I was still excited to learn. The class goes by so fast with her.

Dec 2020

Professor Johnson is the best! He is so kind, receptive, and helpful, and he has a great sense of humor that made this class really enjoyable. I was clear that he put so much effort into this course, and he was able to facilitate a great class environment even over Zoom. I highly recommend Professor Johnson!

Dec 2020

Wow. Just wow. How does she not have a gold start on CULPA? She should. Most enjoyable class/professor I have had at any school I've been to. She gets to know students on a personal level and makes learning the language fun. Online is obviously less enjoyable, but she adapted well by having very clear instructions and utilizing the break out rooms. Break out rooms can be hit or miss, but the way she holds the class makes everyone want to participate. We had a blast. AND it was at 8:40, so the odds were not in her favor!

Jun 2020

Isaura is amazing. She is so kind and understanding. The class is not overwhelming at all. Her biggest focus is for you to practice. She is not hellbent on grading.

Dec 2019

I took her class last spring and had mixed feelings. TLDR: course itself/grading/learning was fine, but i'm not a huge fan of her personally. if you get put in her section, just do the assignments and do them on time, participate in class from time to time, and study for the tests. Keep a low profile and you'll be good. That's basically what I did to get an A Things she did well: -got us to speak a lot in class. This really helped me improve my confidence in speaking/applying the concepts -others lamented that she was a harsh grader, but I actually felt that she was pretty fair... when she took points off, it was because I legitimately did have mistakes and my final grade was fine. -was pretty clear in explaining content imo Things I didn't like: She said some things that were honestly very problematic. This was my big issue with her. Here are some examples: 1) our class only had 1 boy in it, and she called him "attractive" in an example of a grammar concept. When the class was understandably confused, her reaction was "come on guys, be nice to him." 2) she would bash the US in a problematic way, calling Harlem ghetto (in so many words), and saying things like "well back in Spain we don't have racism" (which is obviously not true) 3) using the names of students from other sections in examples, but describing them negatively (called one guy a womanizer) 4) she would show up 5-15 minutes late somewhat frequently but chastise other students when they did 5) when certain students were presenting their final projects, she would say things like "this is what I want out of all of you," when other students had already presented

Apr 2018

I took this professor for Elementary Spanish I and Intermediate II. I learned so much from him, possibly more in Elementary I with this professor than in Elementary II and Intermediate I with other professors combined. He is a great professor and genuinely nice person. He explains things in a way that makes sense in real life contexts. One of the best teachers I've ever had, but his class isn't necessarily easy.

Dec 2017

Xavi is an amazing professor who truly wants you to succeed. This class is really easy if you show up and put in the work. Xavi is so fun and really wants his class to be a peaceful, stress-free environment and it was clear he'd rather us prioritize our mental health over his class. He constantly made jokes with us and brought us food once (!) but also really wanted you to work hard and challenged us with assignments. Even in my first Spanish class ever, I could understand him when he spoke Spanish because he was so clear and used hand gestures/props to make us understand. 10/10, amazing professor. Also he is really hot.

Nov 2017

Wonderful teacher who is very personable and willing to help out at all times. She is a very light grader and the quizzes are easy and a great boost to your grade in the class. I think she is teaching Spanish II now but I'm sure she will be just as great!!

Sep 2017

The BEST professor you could ask for in regards to an intro class. There's a good amount of work but she's super approachable and gives a lot of feedback. It was an 8:40 for me and I hate morning classes and this one kept me v engaged. Attendance is important. I got an A- in the course with a moderate amount of effort (basically do all the assigned work and you won't really need to do any extra stuff)

Jan 2017

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.

Jan 2017

Alma Mora is the sweetest lady, and I definitely recommend her as a professor. I do agree that most of the time I have no idea what she is saying or what's going on, but I think that's how it is in the Spanish department in general. It's the teaching method. Professor Mora barely gives any homework, and I find it to be an incredibly light load. You can skimp if you want; a lot of stuff is not graded, she just wants you to look over the material that will be covered in the next class. Professor Mora is also an easy grader; I was able to put in minimal effort and get A's. If you put in an effort to make is seem like you really care and really want to do well, Professor Mora is very receptive to that. Go to office hours a few times. Participate in class. Ask questions. It's easy. As for the classes themselves, very little material was covered, and they are quite easy compared to part II of each.

Apr 2016

TL/DR: Take his class, any class, if and whenever possible. David. Ah, David. Pronounced Dah-veed, it is a name that you will always remember if you take one of his classes. In a good way. David is a fantastic teacher. He has a very laid-back, free-flowing teaching style with lots of humor mixed in, yet he manages to, well, manage the class extremely well. For example, one class, we ended up discussing vegan-ism for nearly forty minutes, arguing back and forth across the circular seating arrangement -- all in Espanol, of course -- and David STILL was able to interrupt at key points and get the components of his lecture in. While not every class was like this, his keen ability to adjust to the fluidity of a small, immersive, foreign language class was just amazing. Oh did I forget to mention that? Yes, his classes are Spanish-speaking only and very participation heavy. That's OK though; the class time will disappear in no time flat. How much did I enjoy his class? Well my wife visited me one Friday for the first time in five weeks -- and she and I get along quite well -- but by-golly I still went to David's class that morning. Did I have to? No. Did I want to? You betchya. If I didn't have to return to Seattle this summer I would take his Intermediate 1 course. Even then, I am tempted to stay. Just for his teaching. To quote the prescient Shia, "DO IT!" and take David's class. Oh and did I mention he is incredibly handsome? (Editors, feel free to cut that last line if needed. But you shouldn't.)

Jan 2015

She is absolutely wonderful. Not only is Prof. Craig-Florez extremely competent and effective at teaching, she is also very warm and cares about her students. I came into this class with zero spanish skills and felt really worried and down the first couple of weeks. The class seems to be geared towards students that have some basic skills in the language already, so if you're new it can be really intimidating and intense. The texts for the class are almost entirely in spanish, so doing homework can take a really long time since you have to translate all of it. My heart sank and I would sit in class with the dear in headlights look and a tummy ache, but she made me feel at ease and assured me that with practice I would be ok. I wish I would've utilized her office hours as I'm sure it would've made life easier. Prof. Craig-Florez is very organized and keeps a fast pace, but slows it down for tougher concepts. You'll need to get over any insecurity of speaking spanish in front of others as there's a lot of group exercises, but it was funny sometimes. We had some laughs throughout the semester. She's also a very fair grader and willing to work with you if you get sick and need to make up for something. Make the effort and you will do well in this class. I was crushed to find she doesn't teach elementary II. I'd take her for every section if I could. If you're a "true beginner" as she has called me, take her class. If you're not, take her class. She's awesome!

May 2014

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.

Jan 2014

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.

Nov 2013

The semester's not over yet, but I'm writing this review 'cos course selection begins next week for some of us, and I know some of y'all will appreciate this :) In brief, Sonia is amazing. I have her for Elementary I this semester, and she makes learning Spanish feel really effortless. Very intuitive explanations of language, lots of conversation time in class. Workload is very light, and I don't feel like I did much homework, but I've really learnt a surprising amount of Spanish. This is hands-down my favorite class this semester. Ella es una buena maestra, muy amable y paciente.

May 2013

After reading some of the reviews for other Elementary Spanish professors, I realized that this needed to be written - Maria deserves silver or gold, hands down. She is extremely personable, understanding, and helpful. She keeps the class on pace, constantly engaging with students or having the students practice various skills with each other. There is no down time or "busy work" in this class. The Spanish curriculum relies heavily on the "Gente" book and materials, so you end up working out of it every class - it is ridiculously expensive, but you use it through Intermediate. Maria set a balance between classroom exercises and book work that was perfect. She ruined me to other Spanish professors - after a few weeks in Elementary Spanish II with a subsequent, sub-par professor, I realized how bad a Spanish class could be when you work directly out of the book.

May 2013

Mercedes is highly motivated and tries to get everyone to learn. If you're primarily interested in another subject but need to fulfill the language requirement, RUN! However she is a very harsh grader compared to every other class I've had at Columbia. According to my transcript, only 13% of my section received an A- or better last semester (my next lowest class is 29%, with most in the 30-40% range). This semester I have her again for Elementary II, and I expect the same thing. We've had a few compositions, which she usually grades and has us revise to resubmit (the final grade is an average of the two drafts). I never find her comments helpful, and my grade on the revision rarely improves very much. Lots of grammatica and online My Spanish Lab homework every class. I don't think any of this is particularly atypical. She loves making these powerpoints out of the grammatica book to illustrate stuff, but they're rarely very helpful to me. She has us spend a lot of class working together in small groups of 2-4, which can be helpful but there's little feedback on what we're doing wrong.

Jan 2013

Mercedes is pretty good. She has reasonably high expectations for comprehension, and pretty much exclusively uses Spanish in class. However she isn't cruel if you're clearly struggling, and will drop a few key English words or write things on the board, etc. She does lots of in class activities in small groups of 2-4. The grading on the compositions was a bit harsh. I know many of my classmates got spanish speakers to write (or sometimes just proof read) the compositions. I think that hurt the grades the rest of us received, although it's hard to say. The exams were standard for the department, and not too difficult. While she's not amazing, if you're willing to work a bit more than some other classes I think you'll get a bit more out of her section.

Apr 2012

I'm surprised he doesn't have more recent reviews. Professor Suarez-Garcia was my teacher for Elementary Spanish I last semester. I didn't realize how fortunate I was until Elementary II; my current professor is great but here's what makes Professor Suarez-Garcia stand out: 1) He's a very experienced teacher, so no matter how bungled your Spanish phrasing is, he actually understands what you're trying to say and gently corrects and helps you. Additionally, his English is also very good, so at least for my class, he always knew the Spanish translation for any English word we asked about. 2) I don't know if this is common for Elementary I, but he conducts his classes entirely in Spanish, except for the first day when he explains the syllabus. Though this was quite intimidating at first, it's extremely helpful. And I doubt it's easy to do, considering he had to repeat and rephrase things a lot for us. 3) He is incredibly encouraging. He'll be sure to praise you for your struggles throughout class, and he is actually sincere about it. This aspect may not seem that important, but particularly for beginners, it can really benefit your mindset towards Spanish. 4) On the first day of class, he said that he wouldn't make us participate, but he actually does--this is good because you end up with a lot of practice, which is helpful for the exams. I highly recommend Professor Suarez-Garcia for this class.

Dec 2011

Professor Muniz was a really kind, funny, and energetic professor. She was also a very fair grader. Many classes would offer more hands-on learning experiences, such as putting on an impromptu play with your classmates, doing yoga in class, and playing games. Her assigned workload was also very manageable, though nothing to ignore. However, only speaking in Spanish all the time in an Elementary Spanish I class meant that several students stayed behind and never understood very basic concepts, because it was only being taught to them in a language they did not know. A couple students dropped and some just suffered through knowing they were going to get a really bad grade. Those that shined in the class were the ones that already spoke Italian or Portuguese, or took Spanish for 4 years in high school. Walk into the course knowing that it will be taught to you full immersion style and do yourself a favor: go beyond the requirements and study ahead of time and more than what she suggests, because you will often feel lost in class unless you have a background in Spanish. Do this and you will do well. If not, realize that many students make Bs and Cs in Spanish, and you may be one of them.

Dec 2011

Nicole's Elementary Spanish I class was fun. She was fun to work with, and she showed us some cool Spanish videos. With that being said, I think her grammar lessons lacked depth. We simply read through what it said in the book--something we could have done on our own. I would much rather have had her spend time actually teaching the lesson herself rather regurgitating the book. Also the system for homework just wasn't efficient. For most of the semester we were required to bring to class three questions that we had about the hw, which on many occasions was very difficult to come up with when the computer program used actual have the answers. I also felt that the hw assignments were arbitrary in that we never went over what we were asked to do in the assignment before we actually did the assignment. So we had to teach ourselves the grammar for the most part. In addition, the MySpanishLab program has to be the most annoying programs I have ever used. Its unbelievably slow, and there were definitely times when it wouldn't let me submit my hw. Nicole also is not a hispanohablante, so often when we would ask her what some word means she would just say "oh you know" and tell us the word again with a different emphasis. When it came to teaching the lessons, she would start out speaking only in Spanish but eventually she would give up when a student was asking a lot of questions and just revert back to English. Nonetheless, she definitely tried very hard, and she was a nice person.

Apr 2011

I actually like Guada a lot. She does speak very quickly and she does tend to go over elements of grammar quickly as well. Sometimes people find her difficult to understand (she speaks so quickly) and perhaps I did do slightly better because I had taken some Spanish before (albeit years ago). However, she is very approachable, willing to help, a very fair grader and very chill about when you turn in homework. If you're struggling all you have to do is ask for help and she'll go out of her way for you. Punctual and always answers emails. Very laid back. I can't stress enough how laid back and approachable she is. She expects you to do the work but she isn't a hard ass. I would take her again and I would recommend her.

Jan 2011

Joselito is the man. Lucky for you, he basically refuses to speak English. Your Spanish will become that much better because of it. He's so understanding and fun. You'll want him to become of your best friend -- but he likes to run off rather quickly after class. He's surprisingly shy when he's not "performing" in class. Oh well. He's actually a pioneer in the linguistic world and employs new unconventional ways of teaching that were clearly effective. There are of course the kids that have taken Spanish all high school, but you catch up quickly. I knew basically 0 Spanish and came away with an A+. If you study it, practice it, and actually pay attention in class and participate, it's almost impossible not to get an A.

Dec 2010

Roxanna is amazing. She really helped set up the foundation for the Spanish language and did everything she could to help the class and me really understand what we were learning. She's one of the best professors I've ever had. I don't know how I would have been able to do this without her. She's very understanding and uses an immersion technique, only speaking in Spanish from the very start of the first day of class. It makes the need to learn the language that much more necessary, but it really helps.

Apr 2010

Professor Blumberg is great! She is very personable and is great to talk with if you need a little help. I took spanish in high school so I knew the material pretty well. But overall, she presented it in a easily understood way even if you have never taken spanish before. She is very approachable and helps a lot on your papers. You get two chances to write the paper and she splits the grade. This helps you learn spanish and also get a better grade at the same time! Highly recommend taking her class for a good grade and to learn basic spanish.

Feb 2010

Wonderful teacher for Elementary Spanish I. She really cares about her students, was never frustrated with anyone for not understanding something, and let you submit a draft of every composition before the final draft so that you were basically guaranteed an A+. To be honest, the class was an easy A+, but I did do all the work and I really felt like I learned a lot of Spanish. She focuses on putting the class into discussion groups every day so that you do get a lot of practice speaking. All in all, it was an easy class, but I love her and think she's a great teacher.

Dec 2009

Heather is awesome. She is kind, personable and understanding. I would highly recommend her as an instructor. As someone who has never taken a romance language before, I had a slow start in the class. Heather understood. When I went to her with concerns about speaking in front of the class she was helpful with suggestions and carefully went over some grammar with me. She explains the grammar in English if the class seems very confused and was open to suggestions. She really tries to make Spanish interesting and doable. She is forgiving with late arrivals and flexible with receiving assignments a little bit late (like if you forgot to bring your workbook to check or didn't print out your composition). Plus she has really great fashion sense. As an aside, I highly recommend Barron's 501 Spanish Verbs. There are some irregular conjugations that are not in the textbook, but are required in the homework. It's also possible to look these up on verbix.com and such, but I've found Barron's to be a helpful to the atrocious grammar book that comes in the required packet.

Mar 2009

Angelina is clear, helpful, understanding, and a very capable teacher. She answers all questions and makes herself available to her students. She is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of Spanish and does a fantastic job relaying her knowledge to her students.Take her class!

Jan 2009

Lorena is great and I miss her now that I have a new teacher. She's funny, pretty, explains things very well, and lets *everything* slide. Class was all about going drinking afterward... we didn't learn as much vocab as I would have liked, so I paid a price for the easiness, but I got in the habit of hearing Spanish and working on grammar. She does press you if you seem clueless, but if you pay attention in class you should be ok. I hated the partner work but that comes with the territory of an elementary language class.

Jan 2009

I agree with everyone that she is personally a very nice person and it is hard for me to write a bad review because of how nice she is. However, I have to agree with the previous reviewer that this is NOT the professor to take Elementary Spanish I with if you don't have a background in Spanish prior to the course. She is an exceptionally tough grader and no English is allowed in the classroom from day one. For a beginning student this is a bad combination because you end up not asking questions because you don't know how to form the question in Spanish yet. If you are willing to teach yourself Spanish on your own and want to use the classroom as a place to practice conversation then Lorena is perfect for you. If you are expecting a class that starts at the basics and works its way up then she is not the professor for you. One other thing to mention is that it feels like there is some slight animosity with the Barnard department having to accept Columbia students because it takes spots away from Barnard students. It is just something to be aware of if you are a Columbia student.

Jan 2009

I can understand why so many people love Professor Rodas. She is sweet, understanding, patient and enjoyable to talk to. Personally, however, I did not particularly enjoy the course. Professor Rodas speaks Spanish in class from day one, and while I understand why this immersion might be great for some people, as someone with no background in Spanish, I felt behind from the first week. I feel like professor Rodas' class would be great for people who come into Elementary I with a bit of experience, but if you are someone who struggles with languages (like me), then I would enter with caution. I had a hard time with some of the grammar concepts, since I am the type of person who has a hard time teaching myself foreign grammar out of a textbook. She is also a very picky grader, and even after going to her office hours, I had a hard time doing well on my compositions. I thought maybe since she graded so harshly, she would curve our finals grades up, but I don't think that's the case. There is no doubt that Professor Rodas is a sweet person, but I guess I just didn't mesh with her teaching style.

Dec 2008

I absolutely adore Professor Rodas, she made Spanish by far my favorite class of the semester. She is energetic and fun. Class attendance and participation is very important. Although you can get away with not doing all of the exercises she assigns from the textbook, if you're having trouble it's definitely better for you to do them. The essays are only 150 words each on a topic that pertains the to chapter and you do a rewrite for all of them and the two grades are averaged. She is definitely a fair grader and she is very approachable. She is also very laid back but don't take this as a sign that you can try to take advantage of her and get away with it - she's very perceptive. Overall, definitely take any Spanish class with Senorita Rodas if you can. She is flexible, approachable, and genuinely wants all of her students to do well. I could not imagine a better Spanish teacher.

Dec 2008

At the final, I did the exam, turned it in to Profesora Rodas, and then cried like a baby while I was saying goodbye. She was unbelievable. SO helpful, SO patient, SO kind. You're left wondering how so much fierce passion for the language and her students could emanate from such a little body. (She's adorably short) My one AND ONLY qualm about her class was she had too much patience for attitude problems and people who really didn't want to learn. There's a nasty rumor that next semester (spring '09) will be her last at Columbia. If I were you, If this is true, Columbia (or Barnard, whatevs) is losing what has to undoubtedly be the best Spanish teacher EVER. But let this be as warning: she will make you learn. So, please, if you want to just slide by this requirement, leave this class for the people who really want to learn Spanish.

May 2007

Okay, I read the culpa reviews before I took this class, and I thought that there was no way she could be as unreasonable as everyone claimed. I was wrong. She cares way more about people yawning in her 9am class than she does about making sure they understand the material. She does encourage conversation, and I enjoyed her immersion style of teaching, but aside from that she doesn't seem to care if you learn Spanish or not. The daily oral exercises are good-intentioned, I suppose, but essentially useless. You can have a 97 quiz average, but if you yawn or stretch or turn your page too loudly during a test (true story) she'll dock your participation grade and call you an inconsiderate student. It's not worth fighting with her either, because she'll just tell you to switch sections of you have that much of a problem. She broke her hand three-quarters of the way through the semester, and when the grad student who finished the semester came, he was basically appalled by how little people had grasped the material Raquel had 'taught.' Basically, if you're not looking to have to fight for the grade you deserve, steer clear.

Mar 2007

Marissa is such a sweetheart. She is a wonderful teacher. She gives plenty of interactive exercises to make sure you understand all the concepts and will help you on a one-to-one basis if anything is unclear. I highly reccomend her.

Jan 2007

Profesora Garland is great!!!! Enough said!!!!!!!!! If you want to learn spanish with a fun,vibrant, and helpful teacher!!! Look no further........

Jan 2007

Terrible. Avoid this class at absolutely all costs and the following reasons are why: 1. She does not make it a point to help her students even when they express serious interest in getting help. She, many times, shews them away once class ended. Once, she told a student in the staircase of Hamilton, "Go ask your classmates. Don't bother me with your questions." 2. She creates an unhealthy atmosphere not conducive to learning. This is because she harps on the students for doing regular things, like coughing, yawning, or stretching. And I am not lying. You can ask anyone who took her class. She has kicked people out for stretching! And the person I witnessed she kicked out he stretched once! She even got mad at a kid for "raising his hand too many times." Her punishments for students make them feel timid and therefore less apt to try to learn since they feel like she will punish them for trying. She is absolutely illogical and confusing.

Dec 2006

Diana is the best language teacher I've ever had - period. She gives a lot of homework, but it's so helpful that when it comes time for the (somewhat challenging) biweekly quizzes, you realize that you don't really need to study as much. She'll spend a ton of time in class going over grammar, and, if you answer incorrectly when she calls on you, she'll spend time going over what you did wrong. Speaking of which, you better do your homework, because her way of going over the exercises is to randomly call on everyone in the class; she'll know when you're not keeping up with the work. Also, as far as vocabulary's concerned, you have to learn it on your own, because she doesn't really much time on it (they'll definitely show up on the quizzes). If there are any negatives about Diana, it'd probably be her pace. She goes ridiculously fast, and as such, she has to assign the aforementioned piles of daily homework. This can be either a good or bad thing, depending on how well you learn languages. I'd highly, highly, highly recommend her for Elementary I -- you're going to learn A LOT. She's SO nice and friendly, has tons of patience, and seems to enjoy teaching our class. She's awesome.

Dec 2006

Raquel Diez-Diaz is one of the worst teachers that I have ever encountered. She in unable to convey the basic concepts of elementary Spanish in a clear and direct manner. She just whizzes from one chapter to another and you better sleep with your textbook and prepare to teach yourself. Absences: You are only allowed to have 3 unexcused absences throughout the entire semester, for a class that meets everyday of the week, and the only way to get an absence excused is with a written note, not an email or phone call. It has to be a written note. Homework: Homework is gone over at the beginning of each class and Raquel sits there, with her pen and attendance book, calling on students at random. If you don't have the homework she makes a little mark in her book and she is not subtle in doing this either. Stretching/Yawning: If you stretch or yawn in RaquelÂ’s class then she may/will kick you out. One freshman this semester was kicked out a few times for this and while it seems ridiculous, as yawning is not a reflection upon Raquel or her class, Raquel will not hesitate to lash out at you with a remark like: "This is my work and I don't come to your work and yawn do I? If you want to do that then go to your room." Class Exercises: Even though the class was only Elementary Spanish 1 you could not speak any English at all. You are expected to learn the vocabulary outside of class and most of the class time is spent working in groups on exercises that Raquel speeds through, one after the other, never really explaining anything. She passes out more paper and spends more time talking about sex and other nonsense than she actually teaches. Overall: While Raquel is not a mean person, her class was unbearable. Most of the time you are subjected to her mood swing of the day and you never know what to expect from her. She holds your grade above your head and makes it known if you are one of her favorites or not. As long as she has the most control, is the funniest, the loudest, and the most shocking then everything is alright. If you dare to EVER challenge her then your life will be miserable. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND RAQUEL AS A TEACHER, AT LEAST NOT AT THE ELEMENTARY SPANISH I LEVEL. SHE IS TEMPERMENTAL, UNPROFESSIONAL, AND HER CLASS IS A PAIN TO GET THROUGH ON MOST DAYS.

Dec 2006

Are there two Patricia Romero's?? I signed up for her based on the glowing reviews she got here and was totally disappointed. This is one moody lady--hard to predict or deal with at 8am. We did little to no actual speaking during class, mostly just listening (& watching!) her strut around class making big soap opera faces and "talking with her hands". She doesn't play favorites so much as she plays Least Favorites. There were a few students who clearly had had no prior Spanish. I'm not a fan of babying the stragglers but her method of waiting imperiously for the right answer after manymanymanymany failed attempts was unnecessarily humiliating and a total waste of time for the rest of us. She's also one of those control freaks who rails about being punctual but is frequently 10-15 minutes late to class herself. Take her if you miss your hot high school Spanish teacher and haven't figured out how to manage your own time and learning. But if you're an upperclassman and just finishing out your requirements, I'd say try somebody who cultivates interaction and conversation more than just having a captive audience. I'll end with something nice & say that she seems to like art & progressive politics....

Nov 2006

What a nightmare! She seems to hate the males in the class, and throws them out as much as possible for stretching, yawning, slouching, anything at all. She won't teach, so its a do-it-yourself class. Expect no help and a bad attitude from this woman. Being paired off for conversation does nothing but reinforce bad pronounciation and mistakes. She's the worst teacher I've ever had. Consider yourselves warned.

Oct 2006

Alba is incredibly nice and relaxed but is also good about keeping the course on track. She has somewhat of a "hand's off" approach and prefers that students mainly study grammar on their own and come to class ready to practice what they should already know. Her tests do include vocabulary and terms not covered in the book which can be somewhat confusing but not so much that a well-studied student will be totally lost. In a nutshell, Alba is a great first semester Spanish teacher if you want to ease into your studies and are comfortable with learning most of the material yourself. She does hold office hours and is always willing to offer help but she is not a doting instructor, either. If you've read about all the supposedly mean and nasty instructors in the department, rest assured that Alba is NOT one of them. You will learn the material but, at the same time, it will not be beaten into you.

Jan 2006

Patricia is an extremely friendly teacher, who genuinely cares for her students. I found that throughout the semester she became more personable, which is sometimes lacking with teachers at columbia. Although this course covers much of the basics learned in high school, she does a great job of emphasizing them and is more than fair with her grading. By simply attening class and doing the work she assigns, you should be ready come grade time.

Jan 2006

Diana is a very happy person and a great teacher- if you want to learn Spanish, this is the class for you. However, if you are thinking that Elem Span will be a breeze you're mistaken. She assigns homework every night and moves pretty quickly. The vocab you are resposible for learning on your own but the grammar she'll spend a lot of time in class on. Great class if taken seriously - you get out as much as you put in

Jan 2006

Its hard to review Diana badly (she's a lovely person and very good teacher). I've heard horror stories about mean or just plain incompetant professors in the department. She is neither. However. Her class was very demanding. A little too much. The exercises she assigned only took an hour a night maybe a little more to do workbooks. But there was so much material covered that I easily spent at least another hour a day doing flashcards and struggled. She seems to test you on different skills without warning. (No vocabulary for three quizzes in a row and endless structure variations.) Then, change without warning. A test with only vocab. Its hard to figure out how to do well. At one point, I just wanted to cry during I test. And I looked up and saw that my study partner was actually bright red and silently crying. The frustrating part was that extra effort, extreme extra effort, didn't seem to help you do much better. At one point, I just got frustrated and gave up trying to learn the extra and grade dropped on the quizzes only marginally. That being said. I learned a lot. So much so I'm thinking of taking her again just because I don't want to risk wasting a semester with a bad prof and learning nothing. However, as the semester is about to start, I am literally waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks wondering how I'll handle her workload. So, I may not...Very nice and available women though...so...maybe its just me? FYI, she does seem to pick favorites in the first week of class, so sit up straight.

Jan 2006

Diana Romero is a great professor. She is young, fun, and sweet. She is very hard-working and very patient if she knows that you are doing your best. She does not like to waste time in class and I spent a considerable amount of time studying for this course but you will be rewarded for hard work. Make sure to attend and participate and you will surely do well. This was my first experience with Spanish and Professor Romero made it an absolute pleasure. I've heard that there are easier teachers, but if you want to be prepared for the departmental final (which is not that easy), take this teacher.

Dec 2005

You'll learn a hell of a lot of Spanish in Diana's class... but that's just the problem--you learn too much! Diana's method of teaching involves heaping piles and piles of homework on her students. I expected about 15 minutes a day, but normally found myself doing at least 45 minutes worth of work (sometimes it took me 2 hours). On top of textbook work, there are hand outs, and in addition to those are the online workbook assignments, which are a pain in the ass to do (and you're never actually told how much they're worth, so you won't know whether or not to bother with them). By the end of the semester, we were already well into the imperfect tense to find that it wasn't even on the department final exam (probably because the other classes didn't even get to it by then). That being said, Diana's a very kind lady who teaches very effectively. It's just that, with other classes to worry about, you might want to try an easier option

Nov 2005

Raquel is a pretty good teacher, if you know what your doing this class is effortless. If you dont she seems to be bringing everyone around just fine. The work load is minamal, some book work that is never for a grade and a few comps that are graded easy.

Jul 2005

She's cool, young, and hip and brings an energy to the class that is very comforting. She teaches the class mostly in Spanish which is cool. She's extremely pleasant and likeable and goes out of her way to accommodate students' needs. If you got her either by choice or default, consider yourself lucky.

Apr 2005

A very good professor. In addition to being genial and cheerful, is able to come up with a variety of assignments that both exploit our knowledge of Spanish well and ensure that the class never drags.

Apr 2005

Take spanish with Marissa, she is awesome!! I am so glad that I started a new language with such an ethusiastic teacher. She cares a lot about her students and has their best interests at heart. She is very patient and is always willing to meet outside of class for extra help.

Jan 2005

Ms. Amaral is an excellent Spanish instructor for those who want a structured learning environment. She is extremely competent and always well-prepared. For those anal people like myself who have studied other languages, her knowledge of the finer points of grammar is very helpful. She speaks mostly Spanish in class, but will explain more difficult things in English when necessary. She keeps things interesting without resorting to a lot of silly, juvenile games that waste everybodyÂ’s time. If you have the maturity of a high school student, donÂ’t take her class. I took Spanish not just because of the language requirement, but because I actually wanted to learn. Thanks to her class, I have learned a lot and feel confident about the next semester of Spanish. She grades very fairly, and takes off small increments of points, but doesn't hand everything to you on a silver platter. If you want to do really well and learn, you'll have to do the required work (see below).

Jan 2005

Although it was a 9 AM class, I absolutely loved it. Marissa kept the class varied and interesting, and I learned a lot more than I would have expected from one semester. I hated missing class because it was so much fun, and woke me up for the rest of the day.

Jan 2005

Patricia is a good teacher, and i would say most of the reviews of her are accurate. You don't ever get bored in her class, and she definately knows when to joke and when to be serious. Also, this class is a pretty easy one if you simply do the work. If you do ALL the work, it is not difficult to get an A. I would definately reccomend her, and I want to take her again.

Jan 2005

Valerie is a great teacher for beginning Spanish. She is funny, calm, and really makes you learn. She was able to combine her youthfulness and intuition with pop culture with her ability to really drive the points home. She was confident in teaching, which is really important for young grad students and much appreciated. Our class ended up being really fun and had a joking atmosphere. Consider yourself extremely lucky if you get Valerie -- she's a gem!

Dec 2004

I really liked Prof. Castillo. He is friendly and flexible as a teacher. It's elementary Spanish, so there's really no surprises as to what will be taught. He speaks predominantly Spanish during class time, which bothered me at the start of the year, but I think it really helped speed up my understanding of the language. All in all, I really enjoyed this class and the professor.

Nov 2004

You'd have to be a total shmuck not to enjoy this class, even 7:40 - 8:55 pm three nights a week. It's my favorite this semester. Aristedes (ok, you have to call him Profesor, but you can address him in the informal 'tú') is adorable, amiable, and funny. He'll do everything he can to make sure you understand the grammar if you give any indication that you're lost. There's almost no English after the first few days, which is totally the best way to learn a new language, though you can ask a question in English if you have to. Take elementary spanish with him!!!

Feb 2004

She seems like a really tough professor to begin with. She is incedibly strict and dont think twice about speaking english in her class, stretching, yawning, etc... Honestly even though she comes across as mean, she actually really cares about her students. If you just suck it up for 50 minutes each day and follow the rigid guidelines, you are sure to do well in her class. Her class is hands on and all about practicing speaking and understanding the language so make sure you learn the material on your own time, you come to class to practice it. If you are someone who can follow strict guidelines, be humble and avoid an attitude the class will be fine. I personally enjoyed the class and recommend it, I had a good time and learned a lot, but it is certainly not for everyone.

Jan 2004

Viviana is really nice, but she doesn't help you learn Spanish. We rarely do excercises in class, and almost all of the work is from the workbook which you do at home and have to teach yourself anyway. As a native speaker, she seems to only know grammar rules because they SOUND right, but not why or how they do, and is completely unable to explain these things. She also is astonishingly poor in English for someone from Puerto Rico. All in all she's very friendly, and wants to help you, but not a very good instructor, and I would highly recommend taking someone else if you want to learn.

Jan 2004

He's not that great of a professor, but there's no doubt that class can be entertaining depending who's in it with you. The textbook is worthless pretty much, it seems they spent more money paying the illustrator than actually making the information easy to process and worthwhile. You really need to comb the textbook, and maybe even find other online resources if Spanish is a new language. Carreño will answer any question and is eager to help, but the information he presents does not always make sense. The class is painless, Carreño is a fine professor to have.

Jan 2004

Yeah, sure she is sweet, nice and pretty but if you want to learn spanish and have a hard time with f. language then don't expect much help or sympathy. She spends a lot of class time playing games and in my opinion pays much more attention to the guys. Directions and assignments are told in Spanish, so if you are not up to par in the language, you will not understand what you are supposed to do and will possibly miss some assignments. She is very good with using e-mails to give out assignments and responses to any questions. I would not recommend her class to those who have never taken spanish in HS or are not a cute guy. I did well on all the quizzes except one, okay on the oral exam, 87% on the midterm - the final was extremely hard and was not reflective of the class work but it only counts for 20% and she gave me a C+. French was harder and I got a better grade. She is very harsh on the final grade even though you did okay throughout the semester.

Jan 2004

Theresa is an amazing teacher. She is so enthusiastic and funny it's infectious. Everyone in my class looked forward to Spanish everyday because it was actually fun. She's very warm and easily approachable after class with questions. She's organized and her quizzes are fair and announced almost a week in advance. I'm taking her class again next semester. In fact I organized my schedule around it because she was so great.

Jan 2004

Prof. Aristides Falcon-Paradi is an absolute treasure. I highly recommend this class. The instructor's charm and enthusiasm are remarkable.

Jan 2004

One of my favorite professors ever at CU, and a really nice person. She is a very helpful professor and a very fair grader. I would recommend her for any class that she teaches.

Dec 2003

Professor Falcon-Paradi was AMAZING. Although the class was horribly situated (M/T/R 7:40-8:55!!!!) I was never bored in class. He works hard to get to know his students, and always makes jokes. Although there was a lighthearted air in the classroom, learning wasn't inhibited. He really made sure we understood the material through conversing with him and with other students during the good majority of the class to help practice what we had just learned. Overall, GREAT professor!!

Dec 2003

Ernesto was a trip, to say the least. There are two things that are important to know about Ernesto: 1. I wouldn't go into this class without some knowledge of spanish. I had already taken some, and I have no idea how people who were just starting figured it out (themselves, I guess). 2. If he likes you, you will succeed in his class. And he likes most people, just don't act stupid or use poor pronunciation. Otherwise the class was a lot of fun; he's a nice, cool guy and can definitely relate to the younger crowd.

Nov 2003

A+ to Professor Valero for his competent teaching, friendly attitude, screwball sense of humor, and impeccable taste in shoes. Getting to know the Spanish language was a great deal of fun under the leadership of this man (who, by the way, insists that you call him by his first name). He's a fair and objective grader who keeps regular office hours and is able, despite a sometimes-shaky grasp of English, to dissect and explain the more complicated aspects of Spanish so that even the more blockheaded students (such as I) can understand them. He's just the right combination of the serious and the lighthearted: at different points in the semester, he employed calisthenic exercises, Blue's Clues, and Broadway acting techniques in his attempt to teach us his native language. My recommendation is unqualified -- I'm signing up for another of his courses in Spring 2004.

Nov 2003

Victor’s class is something else. DO NOT have him as a teacher if you haven’t taken Spanish for at least 3 years. I have been taking Spanish since 7th grade, and was confused many times throughout the semester in elementary Spanish I class w/ Victor. He gives nightly assignments that are collected and graded, but they are always simple. His method of teaching is doing activities in class, and then breathing down your neck as you complete them—pointing out every tiny error. If you don’t understand something you are overall screwed. I had fun with this class b/c it wasn’t too difficult for me (but again, I have 5 years of Spanish experience) and Victor is fun to make fun of.

Sep 2003

This was the best spanish class ever. He's patient yet focused and for those who are not comfortable speaking (like me) he makes it easy. You will come out this class knowing basic spanish... but you NEED to go to class because he will tell you exactly what you need to know, plus it's fun.

Aug 2003

Wonderful professor. The class is fun and you will learn, that's a difficult combination to find. She's easy to talk to, is almost always available out side of class. Makes lessons interesting and informative...you'll actually want to go to class.

May 2003

This man is a little hard to sum up. He starts out amazingly funny and nice, but soon becomes remarkably less so. He's not the most understanding man i've met, never hesitating to shell out bad grades. His antics keep you amused for a little but then its back to boredom. The amount of work for his class is significantly more than other Spanish classes of the same level. You can't miss more than the allowed three classes and must have your homework done for each class unless you want a zero. He forces participation and is a picky grader. However, if you want to learn Spanish quickly and well, his class is reasonable. Its a good amount of work but if you are good at languages it is possible to get an A without studying too much. His class will make you prepared for any of the teachers for the next level Spanish classes. He is hard and unforgiving, but will get the job done.

Mar 2003

Diez-Diaz was one of the worst experiences I have had at Columbia. If she spent as much time teaching as she did praising "AntoniOOO Bandaras!!" she would still just be o.k. as a teacher. Not recommended.

Dec 2002

Lanctot's a pretty young teacher, but he also, in my opinion, behaves more like a student than a teacher. He tends to be moody and is sort of arrogant; He knows spanish well, is good at teaching the material, and is pretty easy as far as grading is concerned.

Nov 2002

an excellent teacher-- along with Kasten and Ortiz-Cuevas, my Spanish teachers for the somewhat tedious language sequence were fantastic. if you put in the (ridiculously easy) work, you'll do well. Ann prepared a lot for class which made it fun and reduced the boredom for everyone.

Nov 2002

Pilar is a great professor! I was wary of taking Spanish five days a week and cutting out my totally-free-Fridays, but she is totally worth it. She's always completely energetic, very approachable, she makes sure she gives a good balance of language and culture, gives practical advice on your spanish speaking skills to prepare you to use it in everyday life, and is just completely sincere in everything she does. Class is never boring and not difficult at all. Plus if you're shy and hate speaking up in language classes like me, she calls on each student equally so everyone is forced to participate and everyone screws up once in awhile.

Nov 2002

Pilar kicks major ass. She's straight from Colombia, so shes obviously fluent, and the entire class is taught in Spanish. She is young and pretty and stylish - just this tiny little ball of Spanish speaking energy. She jumps around the classroom speaking a thousand words a minute, and the weird thing was that I could understand every single thing she said. She's an awesome teacher - I came to the class knowing nothing and after one semester, I can get by pretty well and understand nearly everything that an average Spanish speaking person would say. And plus, her class is easy as PIE. It's partially because she teaches so much in class that studying is not necessary. I got an A and I didn't do much. TAKE THIS CLASS and not only will you fall in love with Pilar and want to have her as a professor for the rest of your years here, but you will also love spanish.

Nov 2002

Fall '02: Professor Craig is now the Acting Director of the Spanish Language Program, and therefore she knows quite a bit about teaching Spanish classes. She always explains concepts clearly and is obviously willing to help students out, no matter their level of experience. The class is conducted primarily in Spanish, but she will explain difficult concepts in English if a majority of the students don't know what she's saying. Quizzes are bi-weekly, more or less, and aren't difficult, though she can be a bit nitpicky. Homework is daily, but rarely takes more than half an hour. Overall, Professor Craig is an excellent way to get started with Spanish: she provides a solid foundation and is willing to help students understand any confusing concepts.

Sep 2002

I could not disagree more with the previous reviewer. I totally ADORED Susana and think she is the nicest, sweetest, and best teacher i have had at columbia. I learned so much spanish in one semester and am now able to really understand spanish!! She has inspired me to continue studying spanish. She made class fun, by bringing in spanish songs and poems, having us act out skits in spanish, and give presentations. Giving a presentation in spanish was a little challenging, but it really helped me work on my oral skills. I definitely hope to have her again! It was my favorite class last semester:)

Sep 2002

I could not disagree more with the previous reviewer. I found Susana to be a delight. She was smart, sweet, funny, and really cared about teaching us. In one semester, i learned so much spanish. i am able to carry on conversations and understand very well. I think the precious review did not like her because she tried to make class fun and not just follow the book every day. She brought in spanish songs, poems, and had us act out skits in spanish and do presentations. For a language class, these kind of things are essential. I teach a language class myself (not at columbia) and i always found some of her ideas to be great and i used them on my own students. I really hope Susana comes back to columbia and that i get to be in her class again. She inspired me to continue taking spanish.

Mar 2002

Patricia is a wonderful professor. Although I find her class difficult I must say that she is fair. She is always available for office hours, after class, and does respond to emails. I would highly recommend her as an instructor.

Feb 2002

I agree with the other reviews, and would like to add that if you intend to seriously study Spanish or even be prepared for Intermediate classes, don't take Professor Blumberg's easy easy course. She speaks in English almost all the time, and when she speaks in Spanish it is very slow and enunciated. When I switched to a different professor for Elementary II, I had a hard time getting used to a professor who talked in Spanish all the time and felt very behind. If I had waited until next year to switch professors, it would have been even worse.

Jan 2002

Ernesto is the greatest Spanish teacher on earth. He speaks with a Castillian accent, which is a little hard to get used to at first, but after that the class just becomes fun. The class goes by the text, but we often digressed about topics we wanted to discuss (like how in small villages there's a tradition where they throw a goat off a clock tower once a year). Usually arrives exactly at class time or 5-10 minutes late. He's a great teacher, and a great guy. Take him if you can!

Dec 2001

You picked a winner. She won't give you trouble with grades but if you bother putting forth any sort of effort on your own you'll learn plenty of Spanish. She has a good sense of when to lighten up and let the class joke around and when to get down to business. Everyone in class was trying to get into her class for the next semester.

Jan 2000

I have had background in spanish and managed to get an A+ in this course. Loy is a lenient grader and doesn't mind if you miss a few classes providing you can give him a half way decent excuse. There are two 1 page compositions, an easy test after ever chapter or two as well as an ocassional workbook page assignment. Remember to laugh at his jokes and you'll be sure to do well. Overall a good teacher.