course
Intermediate French II

Dec 2013

Pascale is tough at first, but by the end of the semester you will find her to be extremely fair. You can tell she just truly wants her students to learn French, but she's not a dick about it. If you make an honest effort, your efforts will be rewarded. She will work with you on assignments to make sure you can make up for doing poorly on tests, etc. The workload is more forgiving than with other Professors in the French department; she dropped the lowest scored test from our final grade, and gave us extra points for creativity and so forth on the compositions.

Nov 2013

Mack was one of my favorite professors, for his personality, helpfulness, and humor. He made A LOT of time for me during office hours, and made me like French, which I had disliked in other classes. Vocabulary lessons and discussions about readings were super fun. He does a lot of genealogy and translation, which is different from other profs. We had a really great classroom ambiance by the end of the semester. My favorite text was probably Amélie Nothomb's book, which is hard at first but which you become addicted to by the end. I really liked that he included songs from popular culture for the translation exercises, by the end of the semester we had a whole album to listen to, songs which I often listen to again.

Jan 2013

I would like this to be the review that gets Vincent his well-deserved gold nugget. The fact that he does not yet have one is the cruelest crime against humanity as far as I’m concerned. If I had to list the greatest crimes against humanity, it would go Vincent's lack of a gold nugget on Culpa, genocide, Fox news. Vincent is quirky. Zooey Deschanel quirky, and just as lovable, perhaps more so. I’d never before seen a man put chalk in his mouth. Vincent smokes like a Frenchman (don’t let him fool you, he’s from New Jersey), and I’m fairly certain that he’s so desperate for a cigarette during class he rolls the chalk between his lips and pretends. That is, until, spontaneously, Vincent is struck with the need to scrawl someone’s name on the wall. The wall. I’m certain if you look carefully in Hamilton 302, you’ll see lots of white chalk on the white walls. Jake. Jake. JAKE! Jake. Then there’s the pacing. Vincent is like a preacher on ecstasy. He walks up and down and around the classroom constantly, flailing his arms around. So when I say you won't fall asleep, you can believe me. Vincent is screwed up, and he loves this about himself. You will too. For instance, when we would practice verb tenses in class, he would write lengthy pieces himself for us to play around with. In class we would read aloud and change all the verb tenses of a piece describing how a sexual experience came about from some Greco-Roman wrestling between two men. This is both funny and super helpful. Though many might like to have five minutes to think about how to change a certain verb into a certain tense, obviously you have to be able to do that at the drop of a dime. Vincent insists on it with exercises like this. Vincent loves synonyms, and your vocabulary will improve immensely because of this. He also goes over vocab in class, which really helps you to remember it. I swear, I remember “accrocher” because I can picture Vincent hanging a jacket on the door; I remember “au fond de” because I can see Vincent scavenging for something at the bottom of his backpack. By the end of this class you’ll have an enormously improved vocabulary, and you’ll especially know lots of synonyms for words like “to take” and “to smash.” Your writing will become more descriptive and more interesting because, all of a sudden, you know the word for hemorrhoid, for sledgehammer, for sparkle! The words you used to avoid are suddenly at your fingertips. The part you probably care about now: grading. Vincent grades quickly and effectively. Every mistake is underlined and explained. And you can always turn in a revision for a re-grade of an A if you correct everything. Vincent is a boss, a pimp, a Frenchman. I'd like to offer some final, short anecdotes to convince you of this. When I pestered him to quit smoking, he started to offer me cigarettes. He once emailed the entire class because he wanted to add new music to his iPod and he wanted suggestions. He taught us how to pirate music from youtube in class. In fact, Vincent is a big fan of youtube videos in class. “What?! You haven’t seen this?” Immediately it becomes necessary to watch some video. I will close this with a request. Please do NOT take Vincent’s class, because if you do and I have a crappy registration period, I might not get into the class. So piss off.

Jan 2013

She's, quite frankly, the best. I have no idea what else anyone could want in a professor. She provides work that will improve your skills but doesn't push it on you, she explains things well in class and hammers in details she thinks are important, and she genuinely cares about her students. Her objective is to make you succeed at learning French, and she believes your performance is a reflection on her. If you need extra help, she's always quick to correspond through email and happy to meet with you during office hours or whenever you're available. She made study week a walk-in period for her students who needed help. She dropped the lowest of five exams. She shows clips of material she thinks is interesting or useful for you. Simply put: she's everything an instructor should be and I'm happy to have had her. My french has never been so strong.

Jan 2013

Class would generally go by pretty quickly, we would spend time either reviewing/reading the textbook material (he would then give examples on the board, or clarify something the book said), or talking about the reading that was assigned (short stories, 2-5 pages). Class seemed to be more of an overview of the material and it was up to you to read the textbook and memorize vocab/grammar, etc. We got worksheets/notes for whatever topic we were studying, they were pretty useful for practice, but there was never an answer key to compare against. Exams are straightforward. You either know it or you don't. Grading was lenient, which I think the whole class appreciated. Paul is really friendly and is open to questions through e-mail, office hours, or appts. I'd take another class with him if the opportunity arose.

Dec 2012

One of the best professors in the college. Really. He's hilarious, for one, so you'll never look at the clock in class. (But also maybe not for the uptight, easily offended, super PC students I know lurk around here. His sense of humor can be umm graphic and ummm violent.) I found myself so inspired by the class that I would print out vocab we went over in class that we didn't have to learn for quizzes/tests/whathaveyou and learning it on my own time when I should've been reading for lit hum. Vincent is inspiring and funny and someone I would want to go drinking with one day when I'm 21 and can finally drink. This sounds very ramble-y because frankly I'm just in awe of Vincent. Oh but he's from New Jersey. Ick.

Mar 2012

Intermediate French Out of all the French classes I've taken at Columbia, this has by far been the most frustrating one. Right off the bat, Professor Mack is no doubt a really nice guy. He makes time to speak to students and is generally just very pleasant. That's probably why it's so irritating to dislike this class as much as I do. It's not hard to get an A in this class--do the homework, study for the tests, and participate every once in awhile. What really drives me crazy though is this man's lack of a systematic grading system. In every French class, you'll get two opportunities to write any given composition--the first and second draft. He hastily grades all of the first drafts, gives you a preliminary grade and then makes you do the corrections he's made for a second grade. It's all pretty standard, except when you get your second draft back and realize you did worse the second time around than the first. How is this possible? Well, he realizes while reading the second draft that he completely forgot to catch and correct a number of things and then punishes you for them by lowering your grade. Why would a student be punished for what the professor did not grade the first time? What's even more annoying is the paragraph he makes you write in english on the second draft about all the mistakes you made. Really, how many times can you say conjugation errors? Does he want you to list out every specific mistake you made? This does not help in any way whatsoever. In general, class is fine. regular grammar and reading samples. a few times, he just won't know something but i suppose that's normal with french teachers. if he really can't explain something, he'll say it in english, which i'm incredibly against. At this level, we shouldn't be speaking english in class at all, but that's just my opinion. don't be surprised on the test (which are way too long) if he includes things that we never went over or things he never even mentioned. he STRICTLY follows the department-wide syllabus for all the material covered on the test, despite the fact that we are never on schedule with it. this makes studying quite annoying.

May 2011

Erin is a great french teacher. She is consistently prepared for class, always on time, and returns assignments in a timely fashion (with good feedback on written items). Her expertise is in French literature, which makes 1202 especially enjoyable because of all of the poems/stories we read. Erin is very approachable and always encouraged us to see her at office hours. She will accomodate your schedule if you can't make it to class, or have to turn in an assignment late. Definitely not a push over, but generally quite understanding and clearly wants her students to have a solid understanding of French language.

Jan 2011

What does it take to get a gold star on this thing and why does Heidi not have one?!! Heidi is without a doubt the best professor I have ever had and a true gem of the French department at Columbia. If you have any interest in actually learning the French language from someone who is knowledgeable (read: encyclopedia of French grammar), passionate and pretty much the nicest person around, you should take her class!! She is extremely organized, definitely the fastest grader of all time, and very methodical. You can't help but improve in her class. 1202 with her is also an amazing class because it combines grammar and literature. Luckily for you she is incredible at both! So basically the point of this review is to say that you are crazy if you don't try to take a class with this professor because she is THE BEST.

Dec 2010

Prof. Holst-Knudson is amazing! She really helped me improve my French, making me feel very comfortable going into Advanced Grammar and Comp. Although she does have an American accent, she makes sure to pronounce everything very clearly and accurately. She's a fair grader, and although there is a lot of homework, it's not busy work. She lets you know what to expect, and is passionate about the class. (especially the lit component) She cares about her students, which is definately a plus. She's one of the best professors I've had here! (Why doesn't she have a gold star??!?) Also, she's probably the fastest grader I've ever seen! It's not uncommon to take a quiz and see the grade by the time you get back to your room. I would definately highly recommend her. She's the best!

Jun 2010

Though I agree with the previous reviewer that Monsieur Eskew probably shouldn't be a teacher, I think that's caused more by his personality than by anything else. He did take forever to get our tests and compositions back to us, but he otherwise seemed like he put a lot of work into preparing for every class. He's just *painfully* shy and awkward and seemed unable to make people pay attention if they didn't want to. It probably didn't help that the class was much larger than the other French courses I've taken. On the plus side, he's willing to meet students outside of class and was pretty good at leading discussions on the days we worked on literature instead of grammar. He just shouldn't have a career where he has to interact with large groups of people.

Apr 2010

J'ADORE Sarah. She obviously has a lot of fun teaching, and that is infectious, even when she's teaching a class full of half asleep/sometimes hungover students at 9 am. She's bubbly and charming and obviously cares both about the French language and her students. Plus she's super nice and very understanding. She'll give you an extra credit opportunity near the end of the semester which will help if you've slacked off on attendance or something. As a grad student she's obviously working within the boundaries set by the French department, but she does her best to make what is for quite a few students just something to fill the language requirement an entertaining and worthwhile experience.

Jan 2010

Take this class if you are not at all interested in French and are just trying to fulfill the requirements. It's easy and straightforward and you won't be at all stressed out. The only thing that might be a pain is the final project -- you have to write and memorize a sketch and then perform it in front of the class and it requires actual effort. If you are even slightly interested in learning French--it's not the right class for you. Erica is nice, but she doesn't really teach. The exercises in class are pretty pointless, and the stuff on the exam is based on the homework which she doesn't address at all in class. I wasted my time in this class, and now I'm discouraged to take another French class.

Dec 2009

Vincent is the best French instructor I've ever had, and really one of my favorite professors at Columbia. Like most, I took this class to fulfill the language requirement and expected it to be at worst a huge pain in the ass and at best tolerable. To my surprise I found myself actually looking forward to this class every day it met. This was entirely due to Vincent's skill as a teacher. He's incredibly energetic and funny, and truly seemed to care about our progress as students. I left this class feeling like I had a solid working command of French for the first time ever. I'm amazed by how much I learned. Also, I agree with the last review that Vincent needs a nugget upgrade.

Sep 2009

Vincent is outstanding. He is passionate about what he does and is eager to generously share that passion with his students. He is determined to give students the tools necessary to be able to read older, classical works of French literature AS WELL AS to be able to carry on intelligent, fluid conversation in modern, slang-filled French. Vincent is a vivacious, wonderfully energetic professor whose solid, information-packed lessons are always littered with useful peeks into French culture, as well as hilarious anecdotes about his experiences in and out of France. It's impossible to leave the classroom in a bad mood after an entertaining (yet challenging and intellectually provocative) class with Professor Aurora. No matter how your French compares to that of other students in the class, Vincent will instill in you the confidence and the working knowledge to go out and speak intelligently, assuredly, and with ease! If you are lucky enough to get the chance, absolutely take a class with Prof. Aurora. Your life and your French will be better for it.

Feb 2009

brian o'keeffe is the by far one of the best professors i have had during all my years at barnard/cu. no joke. his knowledge is extensive and he approaches the language from a philosophical perspective whilst explaining things in a very coherent and engaging manner. furthermore, his attractive personality is bound to keep anyone captivated and it is no wonder why the class time passes by so quickly. brian makes french sexy, period. his style of teaching definitely makes the rest of the french department look rather bland --- everyone knows this to be true, why not say it out loud. brian has this natural spark, talent and intellect (let's not forget his intuitive sense of humor!), all of which are qualities that most professors lack these days. amazing amazing amazing.

Jan 2009

She's really a great teacher. She's super prepared for classes and has a lot of assignments to give you. I took French for 7 years in high school and middle school, and I feel like I learned more in one semester with her than I did in all those years.

Dec 2008

Professor Roustang-Stoller is an absolute doll! She has a great sense of humor and is a very fair teacher, always concerned with how her students are performing/how she can help them. The course itself was, as any lower level French class is, somewhat dry, but it definitely wasn't as bad as it could have been. The homework was light and definitely do-able, and the readings were sort of nice-- we got to read some classic French literature, but nothing was excessively difficult. The quizzes and work were all straightforward, and the compositions were short and graded fairly. With the compositions, we were allowed to turn in the first draft, have it graded, and then turn in a second draft with corrections, which helped a lot grade-wise. As long as you do as you're asked and try to speak as much in French in class as possible, you shouldn't have any problems.

Dec 2008

Erica is really sweet and tries to make the course interesting. If you took lots of French in high school this class will be boring, because most of it is review. She is not a harsh grader and allows you to do corrections for all quizzes, exams, and compositions to receive back half the credit you lost. A pretty easy course.

Dec 2008

I was a senior taking this class for the requirement. Vincent made it unbelievably enjoyable. He always keeps you engaged cause he's hilarious and may just be the energizer bunny he jumps around so much. Pretty light workload as language classes go. Highly recommended

May 2008

Everything previous reviewers have said about May is true- she is a nice person, tries to be fair, and tries (successfully) to make class engaging and useful. My only criticism of May is that she does not seem to know how hard Arabic is, and sometimes equates not doing well and not trying hard. I guess this is not an uncommon problem among language teachers, and May is no different.

Apr 2008

Sophie is was an excellent instructor for my French 1202 course; she was always well prepared for class, very responsive to student feedback, and adapted well to each student's level of French so that nobody felt left behind or too far ahead. The workload was average, we had a short quiz every week or two and a few assigned readings from the standard textbooks per week. What you'd expect for a 4 point course. On top of that, she's just such a sweetheart, and genuinely cares about your progress in the course. Sophie will make an effort to let you know what areas are pulling your mark down so that you have a chance to boost your grade before it's too late to change anything.

Apr 2008

Isabelle Saurin is a very nice teacher, although she does expect a lot from her students. She goes over the lessons, especially the texts, very thoroughly. On the first day of class, I was overwhelmed by her fast-paced French. It took me a few weeks to get used to it, but otherwise, the course was manageable.

Dec 2007

For what it's worth, I had a very different experience with Kevin than the ones described below. I found him to be knowledgeable, energetic, creative and fair. In fact, I got the feeling that he genuinely cared if we understood the material and succeeded. It's true that he would sometimes get frustrated - though never losing his cool - with students who repeatedly complained that they didn't comprehend something. But mostly I found him a patient, approachable instructor. I thought it quite ironic that the reviewers below criticized Kevin's teaching style, since I've found the native instructors in the French department to be much more difficult to deal with. I'm just glad that, when registering, I kept in mind that my experience wouldn't necessarily mirror what I'd read. That said, it's also possible that Kevin has taken this criticism to heart.

Jul 2007

bon prof! my french improved a lot during his class. you don't have to speak if you don't feel comfortable, but make sure that you are attentive (class participation is a part of the grade). his teaching style is awesome for a french prof. and he is very open and wants to see the students do well. and if the work load is too much (which it rarely was) he will take a poll and alter it. great class overall, i'd recommend him to anyone :)

Dec 2006

By far the best French instructor I've ever had. His comments on the grammar are clarifying (probably more so than the strangely organized textbook), he's funny and kind, and unlike past instructors, emphasizes how to tackle the important and difficult points instead of belaboring the simplest stuff. He probably grades too generously. I never went to office hours or emailed him for help, but he made himself very accessible to students. Class discussions were more fun than I thought was allowed in French courses. There's something kind of wicked and elf-like about Geoffrey, but in the best way.

Dec 2006

Only take Priya if you have no desire to speak French. She speaks in English most of the time, occasionally throwing in a word or two of French, and she doesn't really encourage you to do more than that. Let's say you don't care. Let's say you just want to get through the language requirement with a good grade. You still should not take Priya. The percent As in the class was only 33 percent, very low for a language class. Most of the people in my class failed their tests routinely, probably because our professor did not seem to speak French. I was really surprised to read the positive reviews. Most of the people in my class disliked her and thought she was a raging incompetant. We were all dumbfounded about the other positive CULPA reviews.

Dec 2006

Prof Roustang-Stroller has very good intentions. I think she genuinely wants her students to improve, but she doesn't always know the best way to explains things. Sometimes in fact she actually contradicts herself about grammar rules, or sometimes she contradicts the text book, but she's receptive to questions and clarifications and she's accessible outside of class if you ask her in advance. But even when I was frustrated by her (which was not particularly frequent) I definitely feel like my French skills improved, though more in terms of writing skills as she rarely corrects students' grammar in class. I wouldn't seek out a class with her, but I wouldn't be upset in any way if I ended up in one with her later on. Don't fret--if you're good at French at all you'll do fine in the class, and you'll learn something without working too too hard.

Dec 2006

This prof is new to Barnard, but that's no excuse for her seemingly utter lack of familiarity in teaching the French language. On several occasions she would say "I know/understand this in French, but I can't explain it in English". You'd think that the ability to move with ease between the two languages would be a must for a French prof. She's a very nice, soft-spoken woman, but not assertive enough in the classroom. She seems to wilt when asked many questions. Her explanations of grammatical concepts are unclear and she often does no real teaching but rather blunders through various topics.

Nov 2006

If you are looking for a class that reviews all of the tenses (présent, imparfait, passé composé, plus-que-parfait, futur, conditionnel, etc.), then this class is perfect for you! Professor Roustang-Stoller is very nice and is always willing to go over confusing exercises. In the beginning of the semester she asks the class what would be most beneficial to them and then revises her teaching methods. For our class we chose more time spent on reading and speaking, and less time spent correcting homework exercises. There were often awkward silences where either the class didn't know how to respond, or the professor didn't know what someone was asking. She is originally from Paris, so she gets confused sometimes by questions. However, the awkward silences are usually followed by some of her dry French humor, and by the end of the semester most of the class could understand her jokes. It is not difficult to get an A in the class and the professor is very accomodating. Overall, I enjoyed the class and I'd be willing to take another class with Professor Roustang-Stoller.

May 2006

An excellent instructor who really made French fun and interesting. I enjoyed the class a lot, and she's a decent - nice enough grader. You didn't have to do all the work she assigned because she never checked. Most of the time you could just work it out on the spot if she asked. She was very understanding and patient when the class had difficulties - often reverting to speaking in English if necessary (which she shouldn't technically do, but I think that's a stupid rule and it really helped when she broke it!). I recommend her as a fun, nice teacher who will not make your life hell and who will not destroy your GPA. The class itself is interesting, especially the literature side of things.

May 2006

David is literally the coolest, hipest dude I have ever met. Anyway, the class was pretty good, although he does randomly call on people, so you have to do the work. He's a pretty good teacher though.

Apr 2006

Usher is great! He's really quirky and funny, plus hes a great french teacher. The class is never boring - he makes you do a lot of group work and little presentations each class. He gives you 3 compositions (1 page each), a midterm, a final, and a few shorter quizes during the semester. Hes also great about answering questions, and pretty lax about handing in work. The tests and quizes are always fair. A good class overall.

Jan 2006

If you're going to take French 1202, make sure its with Diane. Hailing from France herself, her accent and speech patterns will aid experience and make class interesting and fun. She's an excellent human being who cares very much about her students. The only downside of the class comes from the administration and the French department itself, which unfortunately needs some help in organization and planning, but this fault does not lie at the hands of the teacher and therefore is unavoidable anyway. To restate what I've already said, if youre taking French 1202, make sure its with Diane. You won't regret it.

Jan 2006

I really liked Mlle. Pelichet. The first day she was a little intimidating (she was my first native speaking French teacher) because I wasn't used to how quickly she spoke, but after the first week, I found myself understanding almost all of what she said and with less and less work to do so. She's a prompt grader, and pretty generous with mistakes. Don't expect to be able to sit in the back and not say anything though. There are only fifteen or so of you, and she will call on you. If you don't understand her question, she'll try to rephrase it several times until you get it. Only once or twice has she let someone get by with a simple "Je ne sais pas." She's very helpful, friendly, and she's a good teacher.

Dec 2005

Rachel Mesch is the best French professor I've ever had, although that might not say that much. She is a good professor though - she explains grammar very well and clearly and always has an intelligent answer to our questions. She is very passionate about French literature and tries to bring that into the class. We had fun assignments, like reading Baudelaire and watching a French film. I could feel my accent, particularly, improving over the course of this class, which was mostly review for me. She is very understanding about any trouble you might be having, and is great to talk to.

Jul 2005

FABULOUS!!!

May 2005

Wow, those reviews are pretty harsh. I had her for both 1201 and 1202 and despite her disorganization, I thought she was pretty amusing and she created a very relaxed atmosphere in class. At first, she seems a bit rude but after a week, you just learn to laugh at her mistakes and she does the same. She makes up for her lack of organization by being an EASY grader and a funny person. She is late from time to time but she really doesn't care if you have to leave early. I'll admit, it gets annoying but basically, the class is a joke. If you really want to learn a good deal of French and you're expecting a challenge, I wouldn't choose to have her as a professor.. but if you are just trying to fulfill your language requirement and are pretty good at French, her class isn't that bad if you can relax and appreciate her "whims". She also teaches you French slang and very French sayings.. good for travelling abroad! She's really not that bad and if you have her, you're in for a less-than-perfect but amusing class.

Mar 2005

I appreciated Dr. Gersten and his TA, Jeremy very much. They are a bit of a one two punch! Dr. Gersten is redundant to the book, which is very helpful to understanding and solidifying the basis of the material. He also is clear and it is obvious based on how he answers questions that he has a thorough knowledge of the material. Jeremy, the TA is obviously brilliant. He seems to have trouble keeping things simple as he seems to see the world of physics as all interconnected with one thing leading to another. It can get overwhleming as we are usuallyjsut starting to learn abotu this larger world of physics. However, this approach coupled with Dr. Gersten allows your mind to both be solid and stretched. I loved it - but some think I'm sick! Basically, if you do all the practice problems and old exams your aok.

Jan 2005

Annie Dutoit is by far the coolest language professor Ive ever had, and Ive been around the block. Shes comitted to having the students understanding the material in the funnest most comprehensive way she can. Shes fun in class, so clear and direct, DEFINETLY take her class.

Jan 2005

She speaks French, which is probably already a leg up on your high school French teacher. She makes you get involved, and her class is really easy (I got a B+ with not too much effort, an A would not be really hard). If I didn't really really hate taking French, I might have liked her class. On the downside, there is a lot reading and vocab.

Nov 2004

Stephanie is so cute and sweet, its hard to not smile every time she says things like "tac tac tac" or "la voiture de Balzac." Oops. She's not a hard grader, as far as language classes go. She started the semester giving us a lot of work every day (readings and grammar exercises) but I think some people mentioned in the midsemester reviews that it was too much, so the workload lightened. She calls on people randomly in class to get everyone to participate, and she loves to discuss and analyze literature, which is her specialty.

Nov 2004

Flora is pretty wacky. She often goes on random tangents in class that stray so far beyond the realm of Spanish grammar that you'll forget what class you're in, but you'll be having fun. Flora is always amusing and friendly, and your grade will be largely determined by how much you laugh at her jokes, engage in flattering conversations with her, and shower her with praise in class (whether or not that praise is in Spanish is usually irrelevant). If you want to work hard and learn a lot of Spanish, Flora is not the professor for you. If you want a ridiculously easy and fun way to fulfill your language requirement, Flora's your best bet. Be prepared to perform a lot of skits, and bring in food when you do class presentations if you want even more assurance of a good grade.

May 2004

Erin is a great French instructor: she is devoted, kind, and always cheerful. She is enthusiastic about the language and really wants all of her students to improve over the length of the semester. She is available quite often during office hours, and will always free up time before quizzes and exams for extra review. Her grading is fair, but she always wants her students to do well, so she may bump you up a few points if she knows your potential. Erin is fun and you will learn a lot from her -- hopefully you'll get her in class!

May 2004

Arguably the most lackluster TA you will ever have in a university setting. This class was the worst experience I have ever had. Erica's lackadaisical instruction matched well with her curt, obnoxious personality, making her totally unapproachable as an instructor. Classes consisted of 25-30 minutes of "conversation" to which she never payed attention, very vague overviews of grammar, and nothing else. She murmured for the majority of the class and gave unintelligible answers to student questions for the other part. THEN she decided that she was entitled to benefits for the "labor" of her instruction and stopped holding class altogether. Her four week hiatus from the vacation that was her class time only agitated the antagonistic relationship between herself and the students that she had been building since the beginning of the semester. The French Deparment should be ashamed for allowing an individual so obviously incompetent and so brazenly rude to instruct French at the intermediate level or the French language in general.

Feb 2004

Mélanie has really interesting philosophical ideas, and she's cute and Parisian. The fact that she's a native speaker doesn't, unfortunately, make her a good teacher. It was her first semester of teaching, but that can't justify the black hole of boring that was this class. She seemed to have favorites and was incredibly intimidating when it came to speaking in class, especially if you didn't know how to express your ideas. Teaching of grammar (the main point of the course, I think) was minimal and unclear.

Jan 2004

Anjali is a great teacher, I should know, I've had so many courses with her! She is so available and excited to help her students succeed. Interesting assignments and fun in class activities tended to spice up the boring grammar stuff. French is hard and the language req can be a pain in the ass, but french with anjali can be rewarding and pretty painless. Come to class and do your work, that's all she asks.

Jan 2004

The best french teacher I have ever had. Endlessly amusing, he kept the class's attention at all times. He was also very open to suggestions about improving the course. He taught grammar concepts well. I always felt comfortable raising my hand because he helped you out while you were trying to speak in french rather than being annoyed at your terrible grammar/accent. He's a real francophile and will turn you into one too. He also was a very fair grader.

Dec 2003

This class is the worst class I have ever taken in college. Not only are you forced to take it with Freshman who have all gone to "lycee", but the ENTIRE content of the class is grammar. That means no speaking, ever. I don't know about you, but I'm not really a grammar person, and at least my past French teachers attempted to encorporate other interesting things into their classes. Prof. Gordon's class is the same thing every day. You sit down, copy her illegible handwriting off the board on grammar concepts that are adequately covered in the book (which she never refers to), then do practice sentences in class, and go in order down the rows reading back your sentence. It is ridiculous. Once you read your sentence, she goes into a three minute discourse about the "past participle of the direct object modifying the gerund in the future preterite"......um....yeah. Oh, and forget if you are having problems with the FOUR grammar concepts you study in class, because you won't be able to make Prof. Gordon's one hour of time on a Tuesday evening for office hours. When you ask to go over things with her, she will tell you to come to office hours or direct you to the Columbia French Department's website so you can get a tutor for 30 dollars an hour. This class is awful, but it is hell with Prof. Gordon teaching it. I didn't think one person could single-handedly kill my love of French.

Sep 2003

Vincent Aurora is the best professor I have had at Columbia in any subject. All these reviews say what I am saying, but here it is again: you will not find a better teacher anywhere. Funny, intelligent, dramatic, insightful, Vincent Aurora is a fabulous teacher. Don't worry about the grade you will get-- it will all work out ok in his class. The only problem is that everybody knows he's the best...consequently, his classes fill up immediately. Get in as soon as possible and rearrange your schedule for him if necessary.

May 2003

Professor Postlewate is THE BEST!!!! If you ever have to take French as a language requirement, DEFINITELY take it with her. She is sooooo sweet, and she goes out of her way to help you. She has such a genuine interest in the subject matter, and she always tries to get students involved and interested. She even shows us movies! She is a very good and organized lecturer, and she goes over everything, which makes it a nice review for those of you with the background in French. She is extremely knowledgeable and is a great professor. Take this class!!!

May 2003

I wold just like to say that class with Zeina all year has been wonderful. I was unsure about taking French at Columbia (having taken it and enjoyed it at Barnard) but I was pleasantly surprised at the level of competency and dedication that Zeina showed us. Class was a pleasure -- lots of students stayed for both semesters and we developed a very good rapport between ourselves and with Zeina. The coursework has been fairly difficult, especially this spring, and the course is designed by the department to move very quickly, so I have had to devote more time than I intended to this class. But Zeina has done a lot to make this easier -- she's given us numerous extra handouts and practice exercises and has always been available for consultations about difficult topics. Her grading is fair, but I never felt like she thought I was less worthy of her teaching just because I didn't get an A. I have had some professors write me off for not meeting their standards; Zeina just seemed to want to help me do better. I don't know if she's teaching again in the fall -- if she is, it will probably be early, both of our sections were at 9 am -- but she's worth getting up for. And that's saying something.

Feb 2003

In case you didn't pick it up in the other reviews, vincent's a pimp....end of story. He's insanely energetic everyday and I'm not sure I couldve sat through 50 minutes of French everyday had he not been so genuinely interested/interesting. Vincent encourages lots of discussion about certain topics you didnt think you could really handle in french (i.e. anything from current events to sex and alcohol). If you get into his class, do it. Forgot to mention that I learned more French in one semester than I probably had in 3 years of high school french

Nov 2002

Raina is an amazing french teacher. Not only does she know her stuff, she makes everyone feel at ease to participate in class. I know she is only a TA, but I hope that she keeps teaching a while so I can take another class by her.

May 2002

Vincent was by far my worst professor at Columbia, not because of his knowledge of french, or his assignments... but because he was about the most offensive person that I have met in quite some time. He made fun of students when they weren't present, cracked jokes that were politically and socially incorrect, told gross stories about his sexual experience, and went into graphic detail. He acts like a student, a class clown, and spends the majority of class acting like he is on stage or something.... of 4 semesters in French, it was a pity to end on such a sour note. VINCENT AURORA SUCKS!!!!

Jan 2002

Vincent was by far the best teacher I've had in a long long time. He's extremely funny, very lively, a great teacher, and a good guy. Even if you have narcolepsy you won't be able to fall asleep. Take his class if you want to have a great semester in French.

Dec 2001

All the previous reviews have raved about Vincent, and this will be no different. I had a pretty solid lot of classes this semester, but Vincent was easily the best of a decent bunch of professors. I'll miss him next semester. Besides being a great guy, he can TEACH -- I hadn't taken a French class in the 3 years preceding this class, and by the end of the semester he'd whipped my written and spoken French into shape, instilled a love for the language, and made me seriously contemplate being at least a French minor, if not major. These 4 months did more than 4 years of high school (7-10th grade) French classes did. Classes are highly entertaining; I don't believe I skipped a single one at all; Vincent performs for his students -- but it's all secondary to making French grammar interesting and teaching things like the subjunctive tense extremely well. And as if all this isn't enough. did I mention that he's an easy grader?? A classmate said that it was the exact opposite of L&R in that your essays would come back with red marks all over them pointing out the errors in your sentence construction and then end by giving you an A. I easily spent at least 3 hours on every essay assigned, and he rewards the effort put into it. oh, if anyone's interested, he also speaks Italian and Latin fluently. Wish I could do that. If the French department ever promotes him and he starts teaching higher-level classes, count me in.

Dec 2001

Absolutely the best French teacher out there. He is as entertaining as they come, as well. If you are just doing French to get rid of your language requirement, Vincent is nice and he'll make you enjoy yourself. If you're taking the course to major in something related, he's a great resource to learn what the French actually say, rather than the 1950's type dialogue in text books. If you can, take this course.

Nov 2001

Good, enthusiastic teacher. Pretty generous grader on papers and quizzes. The weekly quizzes are slightly annoying but really pretty easy. Department-wide mid-term and final are both very simple for anyone w/ a reasonable understanding of grammar. In all, it's a good class to take to fulfill the language requirement.

Jan 2000

Vincent is an awesome professor. He is not a hard grader. He is exciting and also very passionate about the subject that he teaches. He is upbeat and very refreshing specially if it is a morning class. It is not possible to fall a sleep in his class. If you get Vincent for intermediate french be prepared to witness a theatrical performance every day and also to learn and enjoy french.