Professor Borer is an excellent instructor. She is patient, jovial, and passionate about her subject. She came to every class with the most wonderful positive attitude and was always smiling. As a native speaker of French she is intimately familiar with the language. She devised creative lessons and engaged the class with a variety of different subjects. She was very comfortable in the classroom and did a good job of enticing students to participate.
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.
Samuel is charming, totally French and really nice. This class was basically just watching movies and talking about current events. I do not feel that my French improved at all, but at least it was fun, and really easy.
Diane is a dreadful teacher. She doesnt actually teach you anything and her grading system is completely arbitrary. I even complained about this woman to my dean and the head of the french department. I cant believe she is still allowed to teach here. Run. Run fast...far away from Diane. I've taken lots of french classes at Columbia and i've loved all the teachers in the department except her. Trust me. anyone is better than her.
I highly recommend this class to any student looking to practice speaking French, particularly those students preparing to study abroad. Professor Sasson was open to discussing a wide range of topics, allowing us to broaden our vocabulary base and thus become competent speakers in general. She brought in outside articles and film clips that I thought really added to our understanding of contemporary French society. She really wants to help her students as individuals and is open to meeting with them. This class is a nice addition to a full schedule of reading-based classes.
I thought I'd refrain from CULPA forever, but I have to help Diane out a little here. Yes, she did miss three classes in three weeks, though she seemed deeply sorry once she apologized. She was entirely new to not only New York but also the U-S-A. Shit happens. Once judgements and foul attitudes are pushed aside, much can be learned from Diane, as she is young, Parisian and eager to correct and improve your speech. I disagree with the statement she had no lesson plans. Sure, on days when there were presentations, the presentation was the main feature, but it was its topic which was the plan. It's not like the student stood in front of us for an hour. On other days she could be quite creative, like when we played "tape a vowel sound to your back and let the class pronounce and you write it on the board". I thought it was brillant. Again, the worst thing about Diane's class was the general bad attitude set off by her absences. I imagine if we had gotten off to a better start we could have had a more productive semester. A general note to French schedulers and students however: conversation classes at 9am is not a good idea.
This woman is an absolutely terrible teacher, avoid her sections if at all possible. She missed 3 days of class within 3 weeks with no warning (this was a 9am class, which made it doubly annoying to show up and find the teacher not there), and is completely irresponsible about answering e-mails, giving help outside of class, and anything else. She rarely had a lesson plan, and instead made each oral presentation, which was supposed to be 20 minutes long, stretch to fill the entire class. We never had homework, and only 2 quizes, which might have been nice for a light workload, but my French definitely suffered. Not writing for a semester, and only speaking/ hearing French twice a week actually hurt my skills, and this class is supposed to make you a better speaker.
When Yongyan stuck to the "conversation" part of the class, the discussions were engaging (this will probably depend on your classmates). We talked about affirmative action, religious freedom in France...though then the topics started deteriorating (we read about wedding photos than had to respond to Ms. He's questions: How will your wedding be?! Will it be on the beach?!...). I don't know why she then decided to incorporate a grammar lesson into her class sessions, splicing the time for conversation practice in half. As this class is not required for any major, I suspect most people were drawn to the possibility of enhancing their speaking skills. With everyone in the class at the third year level or above, it was insane for her to take thirty plus minutes to explain to us the most basic use of articles or the imperfect. For grammar improvement, Columbia has 3405. In fact, I think Yongyan was a little bitter about teaching such a useless classClearly, her bitterness has spread to me, but really, an A-...perhaps my conversation skills could have been A quality if I had been given greater opportunity to converse.
Yongyan is a pleasure. She does her best to make what could be quite boring as interesting as possible. Let's face it, coming to class twice a week to just sit and talk could be dry. But she gives us interesting articles and literary excerpts to read at the beginning of class and then discuss. She also asks us what points of grammar we'd like reviewed and then is always prepared to do so the next time. Gets everyone involved in conversing.
I disagree with the previous review. Yongyan is one of the better instructors in the department in my opinion. She is sweet, very smart and always energic and well organized. The class is casual and it's pretty much all talking, with some grammar and writing exercises thrown in between. Yongyan really makes the atmosphere comfortable, and don't worry if you have a problem - she's always open to talk and ready to help. There are presentations, but they're not bad and they're about topics of your choice. Her knowledge of French is great (her English is also good). It is just amazing to see a chinese woman who can speak two western languages so well.
Unless you really need a French Conversation course (and I'm not sure why you would), this class is more or less completely useless. Yongyan is distant and uncomfortable, and her teaching consists of having the class read boring articles out loud and then answer questions about them. One of the most boring classes I've taken here; I'd recommend not taking a conversation class at all, or if you must, do it with someone else.
Vincent Aurora ROCKS. I'd take Organic Chemistry if he was teaching it. Not that this class was a joke, but it certainly was the easiest and most enjoyable A I've received in my experience at Columbia. And the other reviews ring true... I learned more and improved my French faster in this one semester with Vincent than in all four years of high school and my college French experience. Vincent is extremely patient and approachable (he'll answer any question and always wants to make sure that everyone's up to pace with what he's talking about). He's also wildly entertaining and really gets the class involved; I'm a shy person at heart, but by the end of the course I was poking fun at my classmates and defending my views with a fluency that I hadn't thought was possible. I only wish I'd discovered him earlier; I would definitely take another course with him if I had the opportunity.
If you can take a class with Priya, definately take that opportunity. She's one of the most thoughtful and caring professors I've ever had and a pretty good teacher at that. Having lived in Paris for a number of years, she definately knows her stuff and speaks quickly though understandably. The class is really casual and it's pretty much all talking, with some grammar and pronounciation exercises thrown in between. If you're looking for something more than conversation, then this isn't for you. She really makes the atmosphere comfortable, and don't worry if you have a problem - she's always open to talk and ready to help. Make sure you participate - she loves it when you try. There are presentations, but they're not bad and they're about topics of your choice. If you want a professor who loves what she does and if you want a pretty low-key class, then Priya's the way to go.