course
Spanish 1201

Dec 2007

Is Professor de Aguilar a demanding teacher? Yes. Is she also a brilliant one? Yes. There are TONS of CULPA reviews that bash this poor women. And those reviews are written by lazy people who did not do the reading or the homework and were somewhat surprised when she gave them bad grades. If you do the work, if you try, if you show up to class with questions and something to say, then she will reward you. Not only that but she will teach you more than just spanish. Class is never ever boring. If she's not telling you about her days as a professional singer, she's reciting poetry from memory. If you want to just finish your language requirement, then this professor is not the one for you. But if you want to be challenged, have some fun, and actually LEARN then definitely take this class.

Dec 2007

If Professor Castillo is reading this review, he may realize that it is me. As a senior psych/education major at Columbia, I have turned to Culpa many times to read reviews but never to write them - until now. It would be a disservice if did not extol the virtues of Professor Castillo. I must admit, that after a semester of SPAN 1102 I had totally lost my passion for learning the language and went into full GPA protect mode. To avoid the gridlock of SPAN 1201 this fall I decided to take it this summer and Professor Castillo was at the helm. I admitted to Professor that I was a bit intimidated and he offered me assurances that he would make my experience as painless as possible, and that he did. The six weeks were grueling and we had to cram in a ton of verb usage coupled with reading of the Lorca play, Bodas de sangre. Professor Castillo possessed a style that was simultaneously direct and engaging. Although Professor Castillo is immensely knowledgeable regarding ’proper’ use of the language, I never felt put off or intimidated. He always encouraged conversation and interaction (in Spanish of course) but it never felt as though you were being put on the spot. He was also available for any questions after every class and communicated by email “with the quickness.” I am by no means a professional evaluator but I would say to Professor Castillo - Keep doing what you are doing. You are truly a gem. And I am not writing this review for any type of reward as I already worked my butt off for my grade. I know Spanish classes tend to fill rather quickly but, if you ever have a chance, grab a class with Professor Castillo. In a word - Gracias!

Jan 2007

I think she sucks . . . Don't take her!! Uninteresting, can't explain concepts at all (in spanish or in english), plus she assigns a lot of work. She scribbles her own "code" as feedback on each of the essays you turn in, and gives you a sheet that explains what each code means, which isn't helpful at all. By all means avoide this professor

Dec 2006

Adam is amazing. I've hated Spanish for as long as I can remember but I learned SO much in his class in one semester and now speak with confidence. He's really a great guy, easy to work with, fun classes, and he's really cute too so he's easy to pay attention to. He makes you appreciate the language and the culture and doesn't let you accept minimal effort. I would recommend him to anyone.

Apr 2005

Camila, I feel, is smart, and one of the better spanish teachers I've had at Columbia. She can be a little spacey at times, but she makes excellent use of the class time and frequently brings in outside sources of exercises to do, as the book is horrible. She is willing to discuss problems and does a good job

Jan 2005

Overall I think Mario is a pretty good professor. He genuinely cares about his class and he is always really excited to be in class. He actually made class go by reasonably quickly (which is saying something). He jumps around and cracks jokes and does his best to keep everybody interested. On the other hand he assigned tons and tons of busy work. It was about ten times as much as my teachers from the other Spanish classes. Also if youÂ’re serious about learning Spanish Mario might not be the best professor because I did not really learn too much. He is a very fair grader. His tests are not too hard or too easy.

Jan 2005

If you have a strong background in Spanish or are good at independent studying (you can't rely on her to make concepts clear), then this class will be very easy. If not, then Camila's class could be hard. One time in class, people said that they didn't understand a confusing concept, and they asked if she could clarify it. She just said, "yes, it is very confusing" and moved on. Her class could be confusing; she frequently contradicted herself and the book. Sometimes, she took off points on tests for things we weren't being tested on and hadn't learned yet. Despite all this, I found the class easy with barely any effort necessary to pass. If you do need help, I think she has office hours available to talk and review concepts. Overall: going to class is pointless but mandatory to pass. and expect lots of independent studying if you want to understand anything. tests are relatively easy and mostly grammar driven.

Dec 2004

Victoria is an understanding, nice professor who will not force you to talk if its clear that you really don't want to/can't, and if you do, she loves it. She's easy-going, not a super harsh grader, and not, as previous reviews have said, bitchy. I can't imagine that. Its not the most exciting class ever, but I don't see how an professor could make the elementary spanish classes on-the-edge-of-your-seat enthralling. Pretty painless way to get through the spanish requirement. Do your homework, study for the tests, turn things in on time, and you'll be fine.

Dec 2004

Monica is a great teacher. She is always energetic and willing to help with any questions you have. I definitely reccomend taking a class with her.

Jul 2004

Pepe is great and certainly not a jerk. He may assign one or two more assignments than other teachers, but it's well worth it for the substance of the class. In my opinion, languages (especially at this level) are pretty mindless; since the department has a set curriculum, there is little room for the professors to stray from the text book. However, Pepe makes class incredibly interesting. Yes, he makes fun of people, but it's all in good fun and his favoritism does not play into grading. He also has an interesting life to tell of, filled with impressive credentials and hysterical accents and anecdotes. Just a genuinely nice and interesting guy.

Jan 2004

This guy is great. If you like a teacher whose a real human being a makes no attempt to hide it, this guys for you. If you're uptight, picky or afraid to try to speak this guy is not for you. I think some people in my class didn't like him, so you may not. My philophy on language classes are - you have to do the work yourself, no one can teach you to speak. Pepe just makes it a little more fun. As far as one reviewer's claim that he 'belittles' students, well, I can tell you straight up that I was his favorite to pick on, and I loved every minute of his rapier wit. If you don't have a sense of humor, don't take this class. This is coming from one of the biggest slackers at Columbia and he found a way to teach me.

Jan 2004

Probably the best professor I've ever had. Incredibly enthusiastic, dedicated to her students, and very knowledgable about Latin American culture and, most importantly, the Spanish language. She always seemed excited to teach class and made me happy to be there. Do not miss having her as your professor.

Dec 2003

Pepe, as he likes to be called, is a jerk. He claims that he wants you to learn real, conversational Spanish, but instead you just go through the book, exercise by exercise. Very boring. However, each student gives an oral presentation before class on a theme like abortion, marijuana, prostitution, whatever you want, and that's useful and fun. Still, he's a jerk and his class is a waste of time.

May 2003

Patricia is great. She knows how to teach and encourage students who are having trouble without letting her high standards slip. She has mood swings that can be surprising but is a very nice person. She loves goofing around with a class if she feels they're working hard and can trust them. Very open to extra credit. She comes accross as a nazi on the first day to scare people. She's really very nice and fair

Mar 2003

If you are already in her class, don't switch out, take it as a challenge. If not, try to avoid her unless you really want to learn the Spanish language well. For those of us who just want to slide through the language requirement, she is a fiery angel of death. You will learn Spanish in her class or die trying. She has no compunction about destroying your GPA, and frankly she has every right to. Aside from all that, she is a wonderful person, a fantastic singer, and a woman of many interests. I think IÂ’d really like her if I didn't still have bad dreams about her exams.

Jan 2003

Prof. Aguilar provided a very interesting spanish experience. Generally, i would say that if you knew spanish already, she loved you, but if you had trouble and did not show that you were working hard to improve, she hated you and would make your life hell. However, she made class a joy by occasionally singing for us - which was wonderful. And she always showed a deep love for the language and latin american culture.

Nov 2002

Patricia is wonderful, I highly recommend you take her class. She is nice and fun, and very, very fair. She has thrown out tests that we did overly poor on, plus she drops your lowest quiz grade at the end of the semester. Her teaching is clear, and her tests not hard at all. She has on occaision brought in food, and is generally friendly to all. She does have her grumpy days, so just be sure not to be late to class all the time or miss before midterms or exams, and you'll be fine with her. Taking your course with Patricia is a good idea

May 2002

If you get this professor, take a deep breath and thank the registration gods. He's just a good teacher. He's a native speaker so he knows his stuff. He's understanding about lateness and attendance, and he's really down to earth. He even listens to Manu Chao and brought one of his CD's into class. Most of the class you spend working in groups on assignments in the book. He's more interested in you learning grammar and mastering concepts than memorizing endless lists of inane vocabulary. Made completing the language requirement enjoyable.