course
Elementary French I

May 2021

Eric est fantastique! If you have the chance to take Eric's class, take it. He is very sweet, outgoing, and super passionate. He wants everyone to succeed, and will offer extra time outside of class to help you learn the language. Of the dozens of professors I've had so far at Columbia, Eric stands out as one of the best and most caring. There's no one I would've rather taken a French class with!

Jan 2021

Madame Stephan made me love French again! I had a really bad teacher in high school that made me hate the language, but Madame Stephan changed that. She is super sweet and understanding. She is also very clear when teaching, and you learn a lot in just one semester!

Jan 2021

Love him! Super easy and chill. Only grades first test and composition tho. He claimed that his canvas broke in the middle. Easy A love this guy

Dec 2020

She is nice. Funny. Like most elementary language courses you teach yourself most of the material, and your professor is their for review and reinforcement. Workload is decided by the department. Recommend

Sep 2020

really good teacher. Lots of work but manageable. She's really nice and super engaging. She wants you to participate but classes are often fun. The class is really quick-paced but I think you can accept that from all sections of this course. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! Really great in all aspects. getting an A is very doable!

Aug 2020

When I first started this class with Hayet, I hated her! I thought she was so mean and liked to embarrass people about their French knowledge if it lacked. However, about a third of the way through, I realized it's just because she's Parisienne and she acts culturally different than American teachers I've had in the past. Once I realized this, I started to make jokes with her and our entire relationship got SO MUCH BETTER. She does care about her student doing well. Quite a lot actually. And she organizes class well so that you really spend a lot of time practicing and learning. I found the class to be easy and manageable, not a huge workload compared to some other French sections. Daily connect exercises and 2-3 pages of reading. Quizzes and tests. The usual. Unlike some of the other professors, Hayet will speak English when the class isn't understanding something. I think many people appreciated this. I loved her and want to have her again as a professor!

May 2020

Very exacting and will correct you constantly in class, but great at teaching grammar and making sure you learn the material. I took a few years of French in high school before taking her class so I had a slight advantage in comprehending the material; otherwise, she might be difficult to have for your first semester of French. But you learn a lot and learn it well. She provides a VERY strong foundation in French that will make all your subsequent semesters easier.

Apr 2020

Amazing professor. Also scared the hell out of me. She's very Parisian and will not hesitate to correct every single mistake you make. I've had professors who will only correct the bigger mistakes in your sentences and will let smaller pronunciation issues slide, especially if you're at the elementary level. Not Hayet--she will not let you get away with ANYTHING wrong. But that also meant that I learned the most from her. Lectures are exceptionally clear, especially the grammar concepts. Hayet tends to break things down into "formulas" for different parts of speech, word orders, etc. that really help you nail down the tricky minutiae unique to French. Grading is fairly light, which was surprising given how intimidating she was in class. She would let us redo compositions and as long as we fixed every single mistake she had marked in the first draft, we got 100%. All in all, a really great choice if you want the rigorous lectures that will make you learn without a crazy workload.

Dec 2019

Hadley is an amazing professor. She is very understanding and so kind. She makes the class interesting and engages everyone, so be ready to participate. I would recommend this class to everyone. The workload is manageable and not too intense, but it is up to you to stay on top of it because it will pile up. You have online homework due before the next test. It is about 2 chapters due each test and does take a while to do. If you split it up daily,then you should be fine. She grades very fairly as well, but does take off minor points for spelling, accent marks, etc. I suggest if you want to do well to go to her office hours, and do the compositions ahead of time, so she can edit them for you.

Jan 2018

Prof. Virastau was great. He was always helpful outside of class. The in-class quizzes aren graded. The tests are straight-forward and his lectures and handouts help on the tests. The oral exam and oral presentation was easy.

Dec 2017

Really great, and cares a lot about her students. Highly reccommend this class to anyone!!!

Sep 2017

The first class was intimidating and made me almost drop the course. I didn't -- mostly because I had already bought the textbook -- and decided to stick it out for the rest of the semester. Clément was patient, understanding, and made the course content easy to digest -- everything you want in an instructor. He really made an effort to make the class enjoyable and help each student learn French through class participation/individual feedback. I also think he made the class environment very relaxing and fun, and was never condescending or negative towards students, even when correcting them. Overall, it was one of the best classes I have ever taken at Columbia, and the fact that I decided to stay in the class -- despite it meeting on Friday evenings -- is a testament to that. I wouldn't say it's the easiest class, but if you put in the effort, you will do well.

Jun 2017

Sarah Lazur is a gem. She is passionate, helpful and hilarious. She also has the coolest life story. Would highly recommend

May 2017

Aside from the workload the class is a good one. Sarah was a great teacher to have in my first semester and really made the class better. She also didnt really care how you learned, as long as you learned. In a small class of 12 she could most of us at one but was chill. We were all respectful but sometimes french got out of hand and the entire class including her was laughing. My friends and I also ate in that class. It even got to the point that we came in our onesies one day and she didn't care. And then out of odd circumstances she was ok with us bringing a gerbil to class. So Sarah is an amazing teacher to have regardless of the preset homework that the French department assigns. I would recommend her to anyone.

Apr 2017

Professor Wood was an excellent professor in every respect, and a pleasure to learn from. The workload was fair, he was willing to answer questions, and taught clearly and efficiently. He's also a wonderful person, and obviously cares a lot about the class and his students. I would strongly recommend him to anyone interested in learning French - the class wasn't easy, but it never felt unnecessarily difficult, and it was possible to get an A if you just did the assigned work. A great professor!

Nov 2016

Professor Wood is an amazing teacher. I would definitely suggest taking his class if you are interested in French. Without any prior knowledge of the language, I was able to grasp concepts and truly understand with his teaching. He would find ways to make you interested in the language as well. Your grades depend on how well you practice and study for the class. I didn't do well in many tests but I feel that was because of my unsatisfactory studying.

Sep 2015

Professor Matheis was very passionate about French, and made it fun to learn. I loved the way he explained the grammar and answered detailed questions about it, and the detailed comments on the papers. I think I started thinking in French!

May 2015

Loren is THE BEST. She absolutely deserves her gold nugget. She makes the class very manageable and easy to understand, and she never assigns too much work. Her class is also fun and social, with games and French songs. If you like sing-along, then this class is for you. Loren is also a fabulous dresser. Some people would say this is an unimportant quality in a professor, but I found it very inspiring seeing her all matching and in heels every day at 9am. It also makes you want to go to Paris, where everyone dresses fabulously - and making you want to go to Paris is really the goal of any intro French class. Loren is also so caring, understanding and approachable. If I ever had a problem understanding something or with an administrative thing, she would be so helpful. She is also a very easy grader if she sees that you are putting in effort. I got an A for this class both semesters, even though I got less than an A on several quizzes. Take her for Elementary French 1 and 2 if you can, because the continuity is great. But take her for either, because she is fun, interesting, an easy grader and an overall nice person who will teach you French in the best way possible!

Dec 2014

I had a great semester with Prof Matheis. He taught clearly and patiently and leaves thoughtful comments on your tests and compositions. Yes, he speaks the majority of times in French but that's the way you learn. He is also a super nice guy and very reasonable with attendance, grading, etc. He includes poems, songs, etc. to make courses more interesting and culturally relevant. I was a complete beginner when I started and now am able to hold a (really) basic conversation. I'd recommend him for FREN 1101

Jan 2014

Professor Wood is an absolutely incredible professor! I tried several Elementary French sections, and in all honesty, he was the best teacher I found! He explains the material very well and his hilarious personality makes you look forward to his class. The best part is that he emphasizes enjoying the language, which is crucial to have any apt understanding of any language. YOU MUST TAKE THIS COURSE WITH THIS PROFESSOR! Workload is definitely manageable. About 10-12 oral and written exercises from the workbook per class which are due before the written test,5 compositions(4 written and 1 oral) and 5 exams(4 unit tests and a final)

Jan 2014

This is a review for Rose Gardner rather than for French I, because the content of French I probably requires no explanation. If you're interested in learning French at Columbia, I can't recommend Rose more highly. She was very good-humoured, very supportive of everyone in the class, extremely kind, and created a wonderful class atmosphere. Going to class every morning at 8:50 actually ended up being kind of a pleasure. I had a great time in the class, and learned a lot of French. If you're going to take the class with anyone, take it with her.

Dec 2013

Mr. Azab is a kind and helpful instructor. He always gave us a lot of extra time outside of class if we needed it, and was invested in our success. I'm really glad I decided to take French 1101 with him, even though the time was horrible (MWF 6:10-7:25). He's really good at teaching grammar and pronunciation, which I appreciated, but I still have a lot of trouble with speaking, even though we're not supposed to speak any English in class. I hope that I can continue to study French with him in the future.

Jul 2013

Okay I think the below reviews pretty much covered it. Loren Wolfe is a gem. She is unbelievably nice, funny, helpful, smart and not to mention extremely fashionable. She helped me through a personal crisis once when she did NOT have to. She is so unbelievably caring I can't even express it. Also the easiest grader ever. I got an A+ first semester and an A the second semester. She made me want to get up every morning after either being in Butler or Mel's till 3 am. She's brilliant and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from her. TAKE HER CLASS

Jun 2013

I am the laziest person alive BUT for Professor Wolfe I will never be because she is just too fabulous! Honestly, she is AMAZING! I can't imagine a better professor then her. I took her Elementary French I class and was surprised as to how much I learned in one semester in comparison to the French I learned for three years in high school. Not only is she beautiful to look at, but her poise, intelligence, and creativity just brightens everyone's faces up. I was so happy with how first semester turned out so I decided to take her class again for Elementary French II. Both of these classes took place at 9:00am. Yes, I know, its way too early for anyone. But her persona will drag you into her class unconsciously. I TRULY enjoyed taking her classes for two semesters. Besides how great she is as a person, her work ethic is really clear cut and concise. You will earn the grade you deserve. She is very understandable and thus offers extra credit opportunities and just bonus points for showing effort and dedication. As nice as she is, she expects you to be in class to learn French and try. Professor Wolfe is human and understands that we will not speak as eloquently as a native french speaker but she will applaud you for trying. For both semesters I earned an A- and I did it by truly showing her that I am driven to learn and completing all necessary work. All in all, this culpa review is written to express how great she is as a professor and that anyone who has her as a professor won't be disappointed.

Mar 2013

While I could understand how some may enjoy Denise Carroll's class, I was not one of them - nor did I personally know anyone who did. She was a fairly proficient teacher, but she tended to get very frustrated with people (a huge negative, especially in my Elementary French I class). Her shortness with students may have been because of her Belgian background, but it did not help me or anyone that I knew of. She wasn't a particularly motivating teacher.

Jan 2013

Amazing professor who will definitely make your love for French overflow! He is from France, so he speaks perfectly with the best Parisien accent that is music to the ears. He is always very kind, gentle, humorous, and it feels more like having a big friend teach you because he is so easy to talk to. His classes are also really organized and he makes sure you grasp all the major knowledge no matter how long it takes. Very patient and thorough in explanations, and you will feel free to ask any questions in class. He usually starts every class with "rechauffement" which is a warming up exercise that gives everybody the chance to speak. The emphasis on oral practice makes a huge difference in comparison to some other professor I had, and your ability in expressing yourself in French will improve if you speak out in class as often as possible, which he highly encourages even if what you say doesn't make a lot of sense :) Very generous in grading and he wants you to receive a wonderful, fun learning experience without much hard work. Just do your homework consistently and talk to him in French. He is always smiling and encouraging so you won't be intimidated at all. This course is my stress reliever, and I always look forward to it every day. Class always seems very short because it's so enjoyable. One of the best classes I've taken in Columbia. Highly, highly recommended. I would give a gold nugget to him if I can.

Dec 2012

Loren Wolfe is a fabulous addition to the Barnard faculty. She is possibly the nicest woman alive and goes out of her way for her students and truly wants each one to succeed. She is so down to earth and at times I forgot that she was a teacher as well as a friend. Her exams are super straight forward and she takes off minimal points for repeated mistakes. I got an A+ in the class and all I really did was review my class notes every day, do the assigned work book and pay attention in class. That said languages come easily to me but if they don't and she sees you are putting in effort she will totally boost your final grade. She honestly made me look forward to her class at 9 am every day, even on Fridays. She loves French and really wants her students to love it to. She succeeded with me. If I hadn't come to it so late I would major in it. P.s. Not only is she an amazing teacher but her fashion sense is impeccable! Entertaining just to look at her different outfits every day!

May 2011

Professor Ndiaye is a smart and engaging discussion leader, most of the time. He does tend to emphasize conversation more than lessons, so if you need the grammar to be explained to you, he doesn't really do that, and when he does, he does it in rapid French. A good introductory class for someone who is already a little into French or has experience learning languages, but not ideal for a total newcomer. He's really nice and makes sure you get the highest grade you deserve, but is sometimes a little too focused on fluency and not the basics.

Jan 2011

Pascale is very sweet and seems to genuinely care about her students. She comments amusingly on franco-american relations, cultural differences and the virtues of Swiss chocolate (she is in fact Swiss). She occasionally lectures us on how we should not binge-drink and how we need to get more sleep. She is easy to understand (doesn't speak frustratingly fast like some language instructors) and clear when explaining grammar. She often gives us lists of questions which we then have to ask our classmates, circulating around the classroom having short conversations, which is a very helpful exercise if you take it seriously. Language classes are always rather boring, at least for me, but Pascale tries to make them less so as much as possible. She's very friendly and accommodating if you need to go to a different class on the same day because you have something to do during your scheduled time-- don't take advantage of that opportunity. Go ahead and take the class if you can, really!

Sep 2010

Confession: Professor Meere was so good I didn't want to write this review until after I had secured a spot in his Intermediate I class. I took this class over the summer so it was quite intense, but it was an excellent way to finish Elementary I and II in less than three months. Not recommended for the faint of heart, especially if you're taking other summer classes as well. Professor Meere is also not recommended for the faint of heart, but in a good way. He was meticulously organized (refreshing) and provided chapter quizzes that don't count, but provide helpful feedback before the tests. I didn't realize how helpful this was until my Elementary II teacher (who was also awesome) didn't do this. He brings in lots of interesting exercises, music, and film clips. He was a stickler for pronunciation, which is all kinds of helpful. He is not a hand holder and the class can be a bit scary at times, but he is very responsive and patient if you ask for help. He is a challenging teacher, but will leave you very well prepared for whatever's next.

Apr 2010

I really liked Prof. Skippon. He's pretty easy-going in class, speaks French beautifully, and is a fair grader. He speaks French 90% of the time, but he will break into English if the class is totally lost during a lesson--which is great. He stuck to the syllabus, it was always clear what was expected and when. He rarely assigned additional work and when he did, he didn't spring it on us last minute (no BS late night emails asking us to prepare something extra). That made life easy for those of us with lives outside school. I learned a lot and I felt like I was graded fairly. You can't ask for much more.

Dec 2009

Awesome guy, and not one of those language teachers that will persist speaking in French if you really do not understand something. Attendance is crucial to learning, as is studying every day (vocab). He has a sense of humor about everything, which helps the tired way in which Viola! presents French. This was my only Friday class and I always went. Professor Holmes is pretty accommodating with conflicts, and will allow you to go other sections to make up the work. As far as the difficulty of tests and quizzes, they're pretty standard though he does tend to put more vocabulary on it then you'll expect. One criticism, he's not well acquainted with the syllabus.

Dec 2009

Erin's Elementary French I class was very enjoyable. She's a great teacher, she makes sure everyone understands the material, she doesn't move too fast and if you fall behind she is very easy to work with in terms of late assignments. She is a fair grader, If you have past experience with the language she is slightly more strict with your grades than someone who is completely new to the language (but you will still be at a HUGE advantage compared to the rest of the class). The day to day homework is minimal, and with any level of effort can be completed in about 15-20 minutes. There are compositions due every 2-3 weeks, they start out at about a paragraph and by the end of the semester they build up to about a page and a half (or more if you work with a partner). There are 10 minute quizzes after every chapter (10 chapters) and tests after every 3-4 chapters. NO MIDTERM. In class you go over the homework and relearn any material from the nightly reading (also nightly workbook activities, but still nothing extensive). Lots of in class activities that are a huge help with conversational skills, pronunciation, and grammar. She makes it her personal mission to make sure everyone in the class if doing well and understands the material. Overall, GREAT TEACHER. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. ONE OF THE BEST TEACHERS I'VE HAD SO FAR.

Nov 2009

Samuel is a FANTASTIC professor and I highly recommend him. He is nice, funny, charming, and always entertaining. More to the point, it’s obvious he loves what he does and he is truly a wonderful teacher. His class has been an immensely enjoyable learning experience for me; there is not one thing I would change about his teaching style. He’s flexible with deadlines and he makes himself extremely accessible (and approachable) to his students. He consistently goes out of his way to make sure the students understand the material and he always seems to be aware of individually needs. In short, he will do everything possible to help you learn the language. Most of the class is conducted in French, which can be a little frustrating at first, but it’s the best way to learn. When needed, he will answer a question, or explain a difficult concept in English. When the class began I was a bit overwhelmed as I had never taken a language class before and really did not know how to go about learning French. The class covers quite a bit of material, and if you don’t stay on top of the homework / vocabulary you will be lost. That being said, if you are willing to put in the work, you will learn a lot and have fun while doing so.

May 2009

Anjali is a true treasure-- I don’t exaggerate. There exists no way to measure her kindness, her best trait nor to assess the great respect with which she treated us. In fact, her methods are perfect. I might describe them thus: She makes sure we participate and even when we err our dumb mistakes she won’t berate— patient beyond compare! Her grades are fair, and her comments help compositions grow from messes with missing accents into français très beau. Anjali is among the best I have had at this school. This department is truly blessed to possess such a jewel.

Apr 2009

Alexandra was a great teacher, always in a good humor and laughing. She uses the class period efficiently and clearly explains the course material, which is extremely useful when learning and distinguishing between different verb tenses. I learned a lot more than I expected to during these past two semesters in Elementary French I and II with her (yes, I liked her teaching style that much). She's a fair grader, gives plenty of useful feedback, and is always available to help with any last minute questions and concerns.

Jan 2009

Sarah Lazur is a really nice person and a lot of fun. She was always prepared for class and brought in videos and music that were contemporary. I learned a lot during a relatively short period of time. She also hosted "Crepefest" for our class on a Friday evening. The homework assignments are what you can expect for a language class. I would definitely take one of her courses again.

Jan 2009

Jonathan is a very kind ta. The class lectures were sometimes a little confusing but he was willing to meet a student at other times if needed. Last semester was his first time teaching so there were a few kinks in the class but overall he is a good teacher.

Jan 2009

Best French teacher I ever had. Encyclopedic knowledge of the language's rules, instant recall of grammatical rules, current events, is connected to the french culture, and I hear she even does translations of french books. Very, very fair, allows corrections and amends grades w/ them. Very attentive, makes sure each student understands the who, what and whys. To top it all off, one of the most infectious and energizingly positive attitudes I've ever encountered.

Dec 2008

Such a fun professor. I loved her. She makes learning French fun. Expect to learn by watching music videos and expect emails with stuff to watch for fun (like a french version of the Simpson's "Spider Pig" and music videos from Yelle). She is a normal grader and truly wants to see her students succeed.

Dec 2008

Lisa is excellent! You definitely want to get into her class. The work load is no more or less than any other French class; and Lisa has a contagious positive energy. She came to class everyday wanting to teach French, which made me want to learn. She is also very willing to help students in any way possible!

Dec 2008

Madame Urban is really great. She expects you to work hard, but it's very obvious that she's putting just as much effort into preparing for class as you are. She is pretty no-nonsense, and she won't switch into English just because you don't understand her, but you will learn A LOT of French in this woman's class. She also has a great sense of humor and is really fun!

Dec 2008

Hubert-Leibler is a really awesome professor! Even though the class occurs every day, I never felt like we were going over the same material unnecessarily. Each class, she would cover basic new concepts, allow time for a couple one-on-one speaking exercises that reviewed the concepts learned, and go over the homework. She could answer every question--and when the question was directed at something we hadn't studied yet (often), she would point that out then continue to answer the question or to see the person after class to answer it. She was always patient even though the pace of a beginner's class must seem pretty tedious and the material very basic for a long-time teacher. I highly recommend this class.

Feb 2008

Prof. Weems is not only kind and fun, but a great teacher. Her classes are very organized so you can always know what to expect. People are impressed with the amount of French I have absorbed in just one semester. She gave me a very solid foundation that has served me well in French II. This class is worth getting up for.

Jan 2008

Maybe the last review caught her on a bad semester, or it was a long time ago, but I find Prof. Weems to be a very helpful, kind instructor. I've taken Elementary French with her for two semesters, and I've never found her to be curt, unresponsive or rude. On the contrary, she makes herself very available between class, the pace is just right (challenging but not overwhelming) and I find her very funny and nice. It's schizophrenic - I almost feel like we're talking about two different people.

Jan 2008

Brian is subtly hilarious. His classes are always overflowing because everyone knows that he's the best french teacher in the department. You may not learn exactly as much as you would in a stricter class but you still learn plenty and laugh while you do. Brian often has you translating stories or is talking about life in Paris or explaining the sexuality of everything while simotaneously teaching you french. If you can, take Brian O'Keeffe.

Dec 2007

Emilie is quite possibly one of the most amazing professors I've had thus far at Columbia. She made learning French a ton of fun, yet maintained a great deal of professionalism. She was very approachable in and out of class and responded to emails promptly. She gave great comments on compositions and was a fair grader on tests. I would HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend taking Emilie.

Aug 2007

I took French 1101 with Prof. Samuel this summer. We had several students in my class who already had taken a lot of French; this was not taken into account. Instead, the Prof. acted, in my opinion, as though it was the students fault -- who hadn't taken French before -- that they didn't understand the material as quickly as the ones who had taken French before (This was Elementary French 1). Moreover, he returned all of our exams 3 days before the final, corrected but didn't grade the compositions and had no oral exam -- although this was part of the grade breakdown. The most disturbing part, however, was that the Prof. stated that a test would only cover certain chapters, although it covered other chapters as well. If you have taken French before this is, arguably, a good class for getting a high grade in as the tests will cover material not dealt with in class, or otherwise stated to be part of the tests.

Apr 2007

Let me start off by saying that I was so excited to start learning French at the beginning of the semester. I am a language person, so I figured it would just be a fun class for me to take (I have already fulfilled my language requirement and decided to take French because I love languages). I was so wrong!!! Thomas is a nice guy with good intentions, but he is a horrible professor!!! He selectively chooses what he wants to teach, and leaves it up to the class to read the textbook and learn everything else on our own. Sometimes when I asked him to go over something, he simply told me to "look it up in the book". When handing back compositions, he simply circled mistakes but did not put the corrections (even if the mistake was on material we had not yet learned) and expected us to know what was wrong. This is impossible at the Elementary 1 level! He also placed very little emphasis on pronunciation, and did not often correct our pronounciation mistakes in class or teach us how to say many of the vocab words in the book. He is often prone to going off on tangents with students who ask too many questions for their own good, even if the material is not relevant to our class or will be learned at higher levels. This is frustrating to those of us who just want to learn what we are supposed to learn at this level. Also, beware if you're a total French beginner. Most of my class had had some exposure to French previous to the class, putting myself and a few others at a disadvantage, and Thomas did not recognize this nor account for it. Overall, the class was very frustrating and time consuming and I do not feel that I learned much French. In comparison with my previous language experiences at Columbia, the class is a joke! I may as well just have bought the textbook and taught myself.

Feb 2007

For the first couple of weeks of class, many of us thought Christopher Wood WAS French, he spoke English so rarely. If you believe in the immersion method, he could be the instructor for you. That said, he will explain things in English, for those who are a little confused! I would definitely recommend him, mainly because a sense of humor is essential when you have signed up to make a fool of yourself in public with your first attempts to speak French. He is quirky and amusing, and it is a fun and lighthearted class. It's just a shame he's not currently teaching Elementary French II.

Jan 2007

Simply the man. Once you "get" his sense of humor he is absolutely hilarious and the nicest guy you could ask for. His mother was French so he's been speaking it from birth and knows what he is talking about. He is serious about helping his student learn French and lay a solid foundation, is a more than fair grader, and will quite often break out into English (very awesome British English that is) when needed. If you get Rod, consider yourself extremely lucky.

Dec 2006

Thomas Martin is a genial, somewhat Falstavian guy with an extensive background in, and a passion for, all kinds of literature. His good humor, occassional wit, and accentless English effect a much better classroom atmospheric than you'd find in the other sections of 1101. Unfortunately, while Thomas may be the kind of guy that you'd like to make good friends with, he's less interested in putting in an honest effort to teach to his students the rudimentary French outlined in the 1101 syllabus. To his credit, he's a talented and fun pedagogue - the lack of lesson plans hardly detracted from his ability to impart knowledge upon us - but halfway through the year, he seemed to stop caring about the class. The five minutes of French spoken at the beginning of the class gradually descended into literature and kitten discussion time, and we'd cover all the grammatical concepts, but since 1101 put such an absurd emphasis on random (and oftentimes useless) vocabulary, this would leave much of the rest of the sixty minutes open. A downward spiral of disinterest encompassed both teacher and students, which led to amusing class periods, but higher education at a place like Columbia should be more rigorous. And of course, there were still the tests. Doing the readings out of the book was useful, but proved to be an insufficient method to score well on the four midterms, which again valued knowledge of random words over mastery of grammatical material. The final test of the semester, written by Thomas himself, felt like the ultimate betrayal, as he seemed to have spent more time making the test difficult than teaching us to do well on it. The blissfully lazy ethos of the class was subverted into something sadistic, leaving a weird distribution of grades and a smattering of disgruntled students. On the whole, I would recommend against taking introductory French at Columbia, as there's almost no intellectual benefit to doing so, tons of people with (sometimes extensive) high-school experience take 1101 and screw up the curve for us neophytes, and getting a good grade is pretty tough, unless you're one of the aforementioned douchebags with prior experience. The rest of the French department must suffer through the same ridiculous tests that Thomas's students do, but under the unfortunate authority of a native French speaker, who probably also requires his or her students to complete the workbook, which Thomas does not. So if you must take 1101, do take Thomas, but do be forewarned that, in order to excel, you'll have to put in a lot more individual effort to learn the material than he does to teach it.

Dec 2006

Very capable in the French language, as it his native language (even though he is from England), however, it would be hard to tell that from his classes, since he rarely speaks French. A very down to earth guy, who we rarely stumped with translations (even for some of the weirdest requests). Didn't encourage students to answer questions in French, which made speaking in French an odd thing to do. If you're looking to get through your language requirement with an easy grade, than I would recommend Rod, but if you're looking to actually learn the language, a classroom with more immersion would be more beneficial.

Dec 2006

While a nice teacher with a good sense of humor, Thomas lacks certain skills that makes his class somewhat of a struggle. The Foreign Language Department, as most departments, requires that the teachers teach the class completly in the language. Thomas taught 80% of my Elementary French class in English. This may seem easy, but once you get to the tests with the oral sections, you struggle. At the beginning of the course, he corrected our mispronounciation of words. However, he fell short in that he stopped doing so after. I found it disconcerting when at the end of the semester, people in my class, myself included, would still pronounce C'est as "Say-T" instead of the correct "Say" (not T sound). My friend, who's in another section, had to correct my pronounciation while we were studying together for a final. On a positive note, Thomas does incoporate fun and engaging activities into his class. Yet, I noticed that once, the class did not enjoy it as much because most people did not understand people's skits. Hence - the lack of Thomas not speaking French 99% of the time. This said, I would not recommend Thomas as an instructor for French I. As I already noted, the class seems easy at first, but once you hit the tests and exams, expect the majority of your time to be taken up by studying Français.

Nov 2006

She is absolutely awesome. Consider yourself lucky if you end up with her as your introduction to the French language! She is always smiling, with unbelievable amounts of energy and willing to help you however she can. I too, had no clue she was the head of the department as she is in no way pretentious and very good at teaching the basic levels of the language. Sometimes, I think big time professors lose that spark or ability to connect to what they are teaching and the students whom they are teaching. This was never the case with her as she is incredibly enthusiastic and down to earth. I have never had a language teacher like her and it is unfortunate that she is not teaching the follow up course next semester (similar to the other review last year)!

Nov 2006

No complaints. young british guy with a strange but enjoyable sense of humor. nice. makes pretty easy quizzes. flexible. grew up in a french-speaking part of england so he knows his shit. dont be intimidated by his army-print pants.

Sep 2006

You would never know that she is head of the department. She is totally unassuming and charming.

Apr 2006

Prof. O'Keeffe has so much talent as a professor, but a lot of the time is too disorganized/lazy/apathetic to use it. He has a lot of enthusiasm for French and explains everything clearly and even reviews for tests and quizzes in class. He's very nice and funny but didn't seem to ultimately care enough about students as individuals to encourage us to improve our overall language skills. He has also been known to come to class hung over and seems to wing certain lectures, but they're still good--just wish he'd try/seem to care more about the students.

Jan 2006

Severine's class is light on the techincal grammar, but it seems to work well. Due to the onerous burden of mandatory Frontiers lectures, I am unable to take her class for 1102, and my new professor is definitely not up to par. In addition, most of the students from other 1101 sections seem less prepared than those from Severine's class. Since she is a native French speaker and speaks French naturally in class, Severine is not as easy to understand as some of the professors who slow and modify their speech for elementary students. This makes the course more difficult, but also more useful. It is also a lot of fun, since Severine is incredibly good-natured and not nearly as stiff as some of the other grad students teaching classes.

Jan 2006

Dr. Hubert-Liebler was simply incredible. She came to our 10AM class everyday with incredible amounts of energy and the 50 minutes just flew by. She explains everything very well and takes all questions and really wants her students to succeed. I think our entire class fell in love with her, she was always going out of her way. When we learned about animals she brought in stuffed animals, and she created all sorts of fun and hilarious exercises for us to do in class. She also showed some of Amelie and an old Truffaut film, the parts she selects are perfectly relevant to what we study in class that day. Her courseworks is always updated and if even the slightest change happens or she has an idea to help the class, she immediately sends out an email. My only regret is that Dr. Hubert-Liebler is not teaching the sequence course this semester.

Nov 2005

I COMPLETELY agree. I found Professor Skippon to be an exemplary language teacher. He makes learning fun and interactive, and has a fabulous sense of humor, and doesn't take himself too seriously. He does, however, have a genuine concern that students are learning and that the class can forge ahead at the same level without leaving anyone behind. I have taken French before, and thought that the class would be too basic, but he keeps class interesting, and his forays into contemporary French culture and language would keep anyone interested. Altogether a fabulous teacher, and every effort should be made to get into his section.

Nov 2005

I thought Prof. Skippon was great. His pronunciation of both French and English are great as said before. He is very understanding and nice. Is very willing to explain things if you don't understand or have any questions. He seemed to be a out of place for some time this semester, since we fell behind when he got sick and had to cancel class twice but is an incredibly good teacher. I give him my highest recommendation. -If you study once in a while and are good at memorizing vocab quickly, you can do good cuz I didn't study all the time. Only like 1 or 2 a week, when I did homework or were going to have a quiz or test.

Nov 2005

This guy is absoluetly awesome. He really knows his stuff, and you actually learn a lot without really trying. His tests are usually easy and he lets you know what material is on them. Best Class I've had!

Mar 2005

Samuel is a great instructor with a hilariously dry sense of humor who loves to teach. He is a native speaker, so that definitely helps, but he also speaks English with complete fluency and an American accent. He is always available for questions, is quite clear and really wants his students to be successful. The class is very well organized and the written assignments are creative as well. Very enjoyable overall, which is a good thing as the class is at 9am Mon-Fri. Highly recommended.

Dec 2004

LOVE this guy. He's a native of France- so his knowledge of the language is obviously amazing- and he was able to contribute so much to our knowledge of French culture and our ability to know how French is really spoken. Despite his being French, though, he spoke the language during class with incredible clarity and at a slow pace so that we could understand what he was saying-- one day we had a substitute (who incidentally was a grad student and not a French native) who was completely hot-shotting it with her French accent and rapid dialogue, and we couldn't understand a damn word she said. Additionally, Eric is just absolutely adorable and really enthusiastic about teaching-- and is also really sympathetic about how hard it can be to start learning a language. Take a class with him if you can!

Dec 2004

Generally a positive experience within the context of French 1. He seemed to be a fairly generous grader and prepared us pretty well for the coursewide exams. We also managed to cover all the material in a similar depth, unlike some other sections that fell behind. He was generally very approachable and nice, but didn't always remember when he had given extensions. Study the book's grammar lessons carefully because he often teaches the exceptions before practicing the basics. I would recommend against taking French at Columbia. The other language departments seem less intent on trick exam questions and embarrassing presentations. Our exams and tests were full of unfamiliar vocab and structures, and they were always too long. This lets students with an advanced background screwup the curve. However, if you do take French, Benjamin is not a bad option.

Sep 2004

daveed was the best teacher! i had him for both elem 1 and 2 and her really challenged his students but helped them out. although we had to meet 5 days a week he made it entertaining. he is canadian and he is a native french speaker so he is also very familiar with the culture. if he ever noticed you struggling he would do anything to try and help you and was very available to meet outside of class. anyway, he was the best teacher ive ever had and i want him to teach me french for the rest of my life

Sep 2004

Jason is a phenomenal teacher. His personality attracts participation and he has no problem making fun of himself. You'll want to learn French so one day you can aspire to hang out with this Texas native in a Parisian cafe. Get into this section if you can- you won't regret it.

Jul 2004

An amazing teacher with great personality. She explaines everything very clearly and does so patiently. If you have an intention of ever being fluent in French, this is the class for you. My mom's native language is French and she was very surprized of how much I learned from one semester of French! If Snejana is teaching next semester make sure to sign up for her class.

Jun 2004

She was such a terrible teacher, and she knew it. She even gave us hints for the standardized exams the day before so that we could prepare decent answers. I think she did this b/c she knew her "lessons" hadn't prepared us well enough to do the essays spontaneously, the way they're supposed to be done. This wouldn't even be such a problem if I didn't plan on going to French 2. I would have preferred a prof who showed up, had a lesson plan, etc. ps Her English is so horrendous that hurts my ears, I can't even imagine how her French accent must be.

Mar 2004

i really enjoy delphine's classes. she is very laidback and understanding, and patient with students such as myself who have no background whatsoever in french. she is enthusiastic and clearly knows french well (not just because she is a native speaker...after all, how many native english speakers don't know english well?). i would highly recommend her. the workload is incredibly manageable, and delphine is a great teacher.

Feb 2004

Heidi is an outstanding teacher who puts 110% into her work. She is an enthusiastic and highly approachable teacher. She is always willing to give extra help outside of class, which she encourages frequently. She teaches with clarity, focus, and grace. The workload she assigned in class was well-geared for the abilities of the students in the class who had never taken french before. She is such a very warm, friendly person and rarely isn't smiling. There is not one negative thing anyone could say about Heidi.

Jan 2004

Erin likes to teach, and she wants you to enjoy the class as much as possible. This, I think, best summarizes my impression of her from the semester, and I think that's very important to making the class bearable. The problem is that learning a language can be confusing, overwhelming, and flat out difficult. Erin cares about the details, like spelling and pronunciation, that can make the class a bit more tedious in the shortterm, but it seems to me that an insistence on caring about those things is important for actually learning the language (and preparing you for more advanced classes, assuming you're taking it for the language requirement, like I am). For example, if a student reading a response to an exercise omits an elision or liason or mispronounces a vowel, she will prod the student until he or she pronounces the word correctly. Her grading is similarly demanding. The only thing is that since it is her enthusiasm and energy that keeps the class going, if she runs out of steam for whatever reason (in particular, I can't imagine it is easy to keep up that kind of pace in front of a tired, impatient group of students for 1 hour 15 minutes on a friday afternoon) the class starts to seriously drag. This only happened a few times throughout the semester, and less towards the end when we started to understand what she was saying more and so were more involved. She is serious about running the class in french except for grammatical concepts, housework type thing, and when students are completely, totally, and irreparably confused. She doesn't require students to try to ask question in french (at this level that would have been pretty much impossible).

Jan 2004

She was by far the worst French professor I've ever had. If you want to learn anything about the language, I reccommend you find yourself another instructor. She was confusing, unwilling to review difficult concepts, and almost always unable to clarify herself when she was butchering an explanation.

Dec 2003

I'll admit when I first saw this man I doubted his ability to teach. A man pushing on 25 and a peculiar fashion sense couldn't possibly teach a class full of near contemporaries, right? Wrong. I learned more French in 16 weeks with this man than I had in 3 years of French in high school. He is a great motivator, introducing new content each and every day. The pace of the class could be rather intimidating (study is a must every night), but taking a class with this man from Montreal was quite rewarding.

Dec 2003

Quite simply a perfect language teacher. Makes French fun and interesting and you learn quickly and well.

Dec 2003

Heidi is a fabulous teacher. She seems to genuinely care about her class... if someone had a problem with the material, she told them to meet with her afterwards. Very understanding as far as paper/test-taking extensions and she seems very willing to accomodate. She's probably one of the best teachers for a no-brainer class there could be.

Dec 2003

Please do not take any classes with this woman. There was one no one who would not admit taht she is extremly unhelpful.

Oct 2003

What a teacher, seriously this instructor was patient and had a unique ability to make his students feel comfortable with the french language. Simply speaking, his transition from french professor to tutor to a person understanding that people are doing the best they can with the language and will, eventually, get better...was flawless.

Sep 2003

He is such a great instructor! He is organized, intelligent and completely engaging. He is methodical in his teaching which makes the material easy to absorb. Not only that, he's a lot of fun in class and offers a great deal of help in office hours. Completely approachable and genuinely kind.

Jul 2003

Greet was wonderful. Because the class was too large (28 of us), she worked quickly to get approval from the registrar's office to divide the class into two. It must be difficult to teach the same class twice a day, each lasting 2 hours, but she came to the second class with great enthusiasm (often more than the students) and was always fair and encouraging. Made learning French a pleasure.

Jun 2003

I find this professor to be on top of things. She is also very passionate about teaching French, and really goes out of her way to make the class interesting. She also makes sure no one gets lost in the class. What I like most about her is that she's 'human.'

Mar 2003

Andrea is definitely a good reason to learn French. She is incredibly energetic and her personality gets the class to participate without the usually required force. Her easy-going but professional demeanor takes away your fear of making a fool out of yourself by talking like a child in another language and allows you to really experiment with speaking French. Andrea will surprise you with a new and generally pretty quirky daily activity that is aimed at getting the class to interact. She expects her students to do some preliminary studying as well as complete the assigned workbook exercises since she does not lecture the grammar and the vocabulary during class but rather applies it after only a short introduction. To make a long story short, be prepared before you go to class! All of the tests and the compositions are graded fairly; she is also very readily available outside of class in case you ever need help. Andrea will generally allow the class to participate freely, unless she feels that certain members are not really giving their part, at which point she will call on them. So, there's no way out of participation in this one. Conclusion: Hard work, but you learn French.

Aug 2002

I have to dissent from the other review of Simpson on this site. My biggest problem with his class was his lack of sensitivity to the different levels of the students. Some students came to the class having already taken years of high school French, while others had never spoken a word of French in their life. Simpson ignored these differences and often praised students for using advanced words they could not possibly have learned in his class rather than wonder why such a student is in his class at all. Simpson often used vocabulary words we could not have possibly known is his grammatical examples. I suspect, though of course I don't know, that the student who said Simpson's grading was helpful and fair had already taken some French. Simpson often did things like mark us off in final drafts for mistakes he had ignored in the rough drafts. And though Simpson is quite knowledgeable, a lot of this knowledge is not useful for an introductory French student. Simpson often went off on tangents, in English, about such esoteric subjects as the German origin of the French word for wife, at a time when some of the students in the class could not even say the most basic things in French. Finally, his communication with the class regarding assignments was very poor. In one instance, he gave us a test review sheet that contained words we had never seen before, told us to learn the words because they would definitely be on the test, and then gave us a test with none of these words. Nobody even tried to say anything to him about this because we all knew he wouldn't listen. All of these criticisms being said, I will say that Simpson's insensitivity makes for a very challenging class; if you REALLY want to learn French (or have already learned some) and don't mind the sort of things I wrote about before, this class will be good for you. But I ended up hating it; I felt like the demands made on me as a true beginner were too high.

Jun 2002

Professor Postlewate is one of the most helpful French language professors in the French dept. Her classes are very organized and completely easy to follow, interesting (occasional video viewings), and most importantly, she's very friendly to her students. She's a fair grader, and she makes sure that every student gets an equal amount of attention in class.

Jun 2002

This is a very informative class, with clear, concise lectures. The professor is very motivated, knowledgeable about just about everything, and is generally very pleasant. The sessions were often very interesting and Professor Simpson is one of the most gregarious people I've every met and he seems to take a genuine interest in his students, in addition to loving teaching. This class was a delightful experience where I learned a lot. And I found him to be a helpful and fair grader, too. My one note is this, I do think it would benefit Simpson to teach an upper level course because I did not feel he was challenged by our class (but then again, I wouldn't have been either). And he's late A LOT, but then again, so am I.

May 2002

After taking my requisite four semesters of Spanish, I decided to try out French, just for fun. Yikes. I'm glad I got Daniel Johnson as the instructor for my noble experiment, or I think it would have been an even more enormous pain in my butt than it already was. He's very nice and pretty laid-back, which helped, and he has an excellent dry sense of humor. My only real complaint would be his class management and organization: nitty-gritty stuff like what would be assigned when, what we would do in class each day, when the tests would be and what they would be on, etc. He would do stuff like forget what exercises we had done in the last class and, seeming not to hear the class's protests, go over the same exercises all over again. But if you don't mind a little flakiness, this class is definitely not a bad experience.

Apr 2002

Erin is the best instructor of any sort that I've had here at Columbia!!! If I could suggest one singular improvement to the university, it would be to give Erin tenure. Regardless of the fact that she's "just" a Graduate Assistant, she is the most enthusiastic and motivating instructor at Columbia. To give you an idea as to how much she has done for her students, she has taught the 9 am class both terms this year. And this semester, it was so full that students were sent to other classes. For a 9 am class to be full over later classes says something. Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of 9 am classes, and I very well could have taken a later course. But you don't feel like you're working, nor that getting up at 9 am is hard, with Erin as your instructor. In lots of other language classes, you feel like you can't make a mistake. In Erin's class, making mistakes is as crucial as speaking the language perfectly. There's little competition, and people share in each other's experiences. Erin's comfortable acknowledging her own mistakes but won't make you feel embarrassed with your own. The skits you'll do at the end of term are tribute to this--everybody has a great time writing ten-minute sketches in French. At the end of last term, the entire class was rolling in laughter by the presentations. Overall, it's a warm, comfortable environment. You'll love class and the French language if Erin's enthousiasm takes over. Amidst the blase attitude of many of the tenured professors here, Erin is a shining jewel of an instructor.

Nov 2001

Yongyan He is awesome. Not only is she always happy, friendly and seemingly infinitely patient, she is also an excellent teacher (a rare combination it seems). She brings considerable structure to the class, using plenty of examples and class discussions to further pound french grammar into your head. I can't say enough about her... I think I might be in love.