Francisco was a gem! Take his class! He's just a lovely, lovely human being and a great Spanish teacher. I took Intermediate II with him on Zoom and he did everything he possibly could to make the class engaging despite the format. He had constant activities, interesting content, and a super high energy level. Sometimes, he would place a toy dinosaur in front of his laptop and then hide, so that all you saw was the dinosaur entering your breakout room. In terms of difficulty, I was quite proficient in Spanish (like a point or two shy of testing out) and I didn't really have to try that hard, so my review may be biased by that. If you have a shaky Spanish foundation, you'll have to work hard. But Francisco genuinely cares about you learning Spanish, not just that you get everything right, so he's not trying to trick you or anything like that. The only part of the class that you'd actually have to study for are the quizzes. He always says that the quizzes are "solamente para practicar" tho, so idk if they actually count towards your grade?? Just show that you're trying hard, show that you care, and I'm sure you'll be totally fine grade-wise. You'll want to try hard, too, given how lovely Francisco is! Francisco co-wrote the textbook for the class, which is super cool and convenient. He knows how to work the software really well and picks out the best parts. Everything in the course comes from the textbook too which keeps the structure organized. The textbook is also SUPER inclusive and progressive!! One of our projects was to watch a movie in Spanish about a Chilean transgender woman and the systemic oppression she faces while navigating the death of her partner. The book also acknowledges the role of Spanish imperialism in the hispanic world and celebrates indigenous cultures. I learned so much!! Try to get into Francisco's section. It'll be a great semester.
Professor Loli is a sweetheart. This class is great if you're a bit of a gringo and just need to complete your education requirement. Quizzes on the chapters weren't too difficult. But in-class work, presentations, participation, and the final oral project made up the bulk of your grade. All of these were fairly easy. She is also super funny and in general, makes for a very warm environment. Would highly recommend it.
Professor Leyre Alejaldre Biel is great. I would recommend taking her class, she is not a very harsh grader and is super empathetic towards people's circumstances during COVID. She gives students time to go back and make up previous assignments. She has a great attitude and personality which made the class fun. She also puts a lot of work into designing the coursework modules and planning for class and is always well prepared. Assignments are pretty light and she makes it so that there is not too much homework but just make sure you study for the quizzes before they come or you might not do well. I enjoyed this class and would definitely take it again.
I want to preface this review by saying I have had her for two semesters and think she is genuinely the best professor alive!! She is incredibly sweet and cares a lot about her students. It is also super easy to do well in her class! While it may seem like there are a lot of assignments it ends up being great because easier assignments balance out the harder ones (although the material, in general, is not very difficult). You are also super prepared for the midterm and final which is great because it is made by the department. Overall I am so happy I took the class with her and I wish I could do it again!!
I have an A. Let me put that out there: this review is not motivated by saltiness over the grade received. Okay, I was going to hold off on writing a review for Loli. But I kind of have to. I came in to this class having read Culpa reviews for various other professors. Having had a professor last semester who I didn't love, I wanted to make sure I had a good one this semester, and Loli seemed to be a good fit. Not so. In class (before we moved to remote learning), she was nice. I felt like she kind of babied us, however, using simpler examples than were appropriate for the level. Also, she divided the class up into four units on the class blog. All of these seemed super interesting, and there were a lot of cool activities. But somehow we never got to all of those activities, despite this class moving really quickly (too quickly, sometimes). However, I didn't hate the class: she was nice, and I was getting some helpful stuff out of it. I also really love Spanish and languages in general, so this wasn't a nightmare. Now we come to my bigger problem with her. During distance learning, she cancelled class one day a week. This usually wouldn't be an issue for me, but to compensate, she assigned a truly ridiculous amount of homework. As someone who is taking very hard classes, which are actually relevant to my major, this wasn't ideal. And then, the worst part is, we never discussed any of these in class. Poeta en Nueva York, a significant work by one of the most important writers in modern Spanish history? Never discussed, though we did do a three-page packet explaining how Lorca's poem (the ONE thing of his that we read in this class) made us feel. Pan's Labyrinth, an interesting movie with themes it would have been so fascinating to talk about in class? Never brought up. One final thing is that Loli decided to implement what she called "clase asincrónica." This was when she created a courseworks page and students could do stuff there, on their own time. Never mind the fact that one of those was held on the day of the week she'd previously cancelled class on. But also, as with most things on the blog and courseworks, finding it was near impossible. When you did find it, it wasn't great. Most of it felt like extreme busywork, or at least something a lower level class would do. Also she didn't tell us what day class had ended, so there would be people connecting to Zoom every day, waiting ten minutes for her to show up, and then realizing that today was a day she'd decided there'd be no class. TLDR: Loli is a nice person. And, when in-person classes are going on, her class is decent. But when we transitioned to distance learning, it became a class I no longer wanted to go to.
Love her to the moon and back. Such a caring, passionate, and patient professor with such an interest in seeing her students grow and improve. Really pushes us to learn while not intimidating us. Curriculum is based on real-world articles, literature, and films, never a textbook. 11/10 recommend!!
She is amazing! So kind and willing to help students. She is also a fantastic teacher and knows how to teach in a way that is both fun and makes you retain information. My Spanish has improved so much!
BEST SPANISH PROFESSOR EVER Marta is a wonderful professor. She's so kind and helpful and understanding. She really wants students to participate and learn so she creates a really comfortable classroom environment. I've learned so much and enjoyed this class more than any other language class I've ever taken.
Genuinely one of the clearest and most fun professors I've had. Take a class with him if you can!!! He's engaging and he truly cares about his students.
Professor Aguilo Mora was the best spanish teacher I've ever had, or could have dreamed of having. She is legitimately gifted at using real world material to incorporate advanced grammatical concepts while increasing your general vocabulary without really noticing all that much. Rather than just arbitrarily studying grammar, she's hand picked perfect topics of discussion that naturally integrate the grammar concepts, in a way that makes what would have been challenging not so challenging after all. She's amazing. She's also willing to work with you where you're at. She's compassionate, and extremely professional in the process. I wish I would take a class with her for the rest of my life. My spanish is a bazillion times better than its ever been.
Francisca was amazing. She was kind and caring, and worked hard to speak to students and engage them in the language. She made class fun. She also prepared us well for the final.
I took this professor for Elementary Spanish I and Intermediate II. I learned so much from him, possibly more in Elementary I with this professor than in Elementary II and Intermediate I with other professors combined. He is a great professor and genuinely nice person. He explains things in a way that makes sense in real life contexts. One of the best teachers I've ever had, but his class isn't necessarily easy.
Loli, as she introduces herself, is a great professor. She truly cares about all her students and makes learning spanish fun and enjoyable. She jokes around and manages to make the boring grammar that is emphasized in Intermediate Spanish II interesting. Her workload is very low, and she rarely checks it. But, when she does, be prepared for the look of disappointment if you're one of the students who did not do it. Her grading is very generous, and if you do the work, you will do well. She has been my favorite spanish teach of my three semesters of language at Columbia.
The best Spanish professor I have had at Columbia. She was extremely approachable and easy-going in class, and never made me feel scared to make mistakes. She led fascinating discussions on a variety of difficult topics (immigration, global warming, colonialism and indigenous ideology), and helped make practicing our Spanish fun by framing our activities and discussions around powerful books, movies, articles, and poems. There was less focus on workbook activities and more on discussion, critical thinking, and writing. I was able to devote less time doing busy work for this class, and yet felt that I learned far more than in my previous Spanish classes. Take this class if you are struggling with Spanish and want to get better. It won't be a breeze, but it won't be frustrating either.
Easily my favorite Spanish class of the four I've taken at Columbia. Sonia is an incredible teacher and person, and I cannot recommend her class highly enough. It was a year for me between Intermediate Spanish I and II, and as someone who is already not good at communicating in Spanish, I was really nervous about this course. It is completely taught in Spanish and Sonia will almost never communicate in English except to give the definitions of some words or clarify important instructions. She doesn’t work with the Gente book at all, though some assignments stem from it, and she’s most interested creating an environment where everyone is speaking Spanish with each other. Sonia worked really hard to make class fun, but even with the relatively relaxed environment, it’s also amazing how much information she managed to transmit, and how much everyone in the class improved over the semester. She obviously loves her students and makes speaking Spanish fun and low-pressure.
Professor Mora is very sweet and funny. She wants her students to not only learn Spanish, but also about Spain and Latin America. The class is pretty easy, and if you do your work and participate in class she'll like you. There aren't tests or quizzes other than the midterm and final. The only real homework you have to do is on MySpanishLab. Each semester you watch about three movies which I really enjoyed. There's an essay for each movie and Mora gives clear feedback. She has a big project each semester and that can be really stressful, especially in comparison to the lack of work you have before the project. However, if you stay on top of your game and do assignments for the project early then it's not too bad. One thing I will say is that learning Spanish in college is completely different than in high school. There is no longer an emphasis on learning vocab, and you're expected to learn grammar a lot faster. I'm someone who always struggled learning languages and hated Spanish class but this ended up being my one of my best classes and actually got me interested in learning Spanish to learn more about the Spanish speaking world.
José Antonio was an absolutely amazing professor! He was so dedicated to his students and would respond to emails and give us our grades very quickly. I highly recommend any course with him because it will truly make you enjoy taking a language and learning about the culture. He was my only professor who took me to Faculty House during my freshman year which serves to show how dedicated he is to learning about his students both inside and outside of the classroom.
Francisca is a great professor. Makes us laugh a lot but also a good teacher. Very understanding. I think there are more lenient graders but by that I mean you could find more lenient professors but Francisca grades very fair, nothing to complain about. I'm looking at a B/B+ and definitely did not put forth my best effort. An A/A- is definitely obtainable with a little work. She was so good I took her for Intermediate I and II.
All I can say is...eh. Her class isn't a *terrible* way to get the final part of your language requirement done. That being said, you'll have to trudge through her class three days a week for a whole semester. All in all, "Loli" is a really nice person. She's friendly before, during, and after class. I just take issue with the way she teaches: it seems disorganized, and we spend an inordinate amount of time on things that seem trivial (and make up little of the tests and quizzes) but very little time on the challenging, important stuff (e.g. we learned 4 new verb tenses in one day, and didn't review them after that. But the next two classes, we did learn how to say drill, and hammer, and needle! Useful...). If you're willing to review all the important stuff on your own (and do it almost daily), you'll be fine. I wasn't willing. I let this class take a backseat to the others I was taking because there isn't a ton of work besides the midterm and final. But come the big tests, if you weren't reviewing without being told to do so, you're going to have a very hard time, like I did. I guess this is inherent to most language classes, but, again, the work you are assigned mostly focuses on stuff you are tested very little on, while there is often an entire section of the test on something we spent a day or two on. tl;dr she's a nice lady and makes good jokes during class, but has no idea how to convey what's important and what isn't or how to assign work based on that. I would say: avoid, and take Reyes' class if possible. Also, I personally never had a Spanish teacher from Spain and I find that her accent is difficult to understand and that she will tell me that South/Central American and Puerto Rican idioms and syntaxes I learned are wrong when I know they aren't
Professor Craig Florez is a lovely professor. As a freshman, I was nervous about taking my first Spanish class at Columbia, but she is very understanding of people who are at different levels. She takes the time to teach all concepts thoroughly and clearly, and is always open to questions. She is understanding if an extension is needed on an assignment and is clearly very passionate for what she does. However, it should be noted that this class is entirely in Spanish, so make sure you review/practice some Spanish before taking this class if you have not taken a Spanish class in a while.
Jesus is one of the best teachers I've ever had. He is extremely compassionate and enthusiastic. He puts everything he can into his work, and it is extremely admirable. The class is not difficult, but do not take it with him if you do not intend to put in any effort. He deserves better students.
One of the greatest spanish professors I have ever had. Sonia is caring and easygoing, and she tries to build some of her classes around discussion. She is organized and has handouts for every class outlining the activities and lessons for that day, making it easy to study for the midterm and final. She is a rather easy grader, she gave me a perfect on the oral portion of the class when I stumbled through about a third of it, and always wants to help you get the best grade possible. I felt that I learned more in her class than in any other spanish class, even though she uses the textbook (Gente) less than all of my past professors. All in all, she might not be the best professor for challenging yourself to improve as much as possible, but she is one of the kindest professors I have had and creates a friendly and organized environment where you know she is there to help you.
Honestly I have no idea how she has a silver nugget. She makes very little effort to actually communicate with her students unless they are fluent in Spanish. She gives no warning of when myspanishlab is due and if you try to have a conversation with her after class, she refuses to speak in english, even for students who are not good at Spanish. She is frustrating and does not efficiently explain her homework. I would not recommend her as a teacher unless you have very strong Spanish speaking skills.
Mercedes is an okay teacher. She can be kind of passive aggressive, and unclear about what she wants. I wouldn't recommend her if you're really interested in learning Spanish, and she's not an easy A by any measure. She's just okay, nothing special
Javier is by far the best professor that I have had at Columbia so far. He genuinely cares about helping students learn the language, and gives very thorough feedback on all assignments. Despite the fact that my class used to meet at Friday's at 4, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you're going to take Spanish, take it with Javier.
I absolutely love Guada she's so sweet and you can tell she's a very caring and talented teacher. She is non-judgemental, makes the class engaging and very organized. Workload is average - some mini compositions, midterm, final and daily hw.
Isaura is a fantastic. Her teaching style is artistic, she uses her creativity in every class. Her innovative approach to language learning combined with her tech savvy bring the lessons to another level. She is organized and pleasant. If you want to learn Spanish and gain fluency take her courses. Her feedback is second to none. She offers a detailed response that often includes resources that elaborate on the subject at hand. I've found the resources to be so very helpful. She loads Courseworks up with resourceful material that proves helpful in self-study. She is approachable genuine, and kind.
Guada is good! This class was a very enjoyable and interesting exploration of spanish. Guada is the most adorable person, always helpful, and finds interesting ways to teach using primary sources, news articles, and even pop songs. Her accent is amazing to listen to. This class is a good choice.
Guada an incredible professor, hands down. For one, she's absolutely hilarious, and is very concerned with keeping the whole class engaged. We watched all sorts of youtube videos, movies, listened to songs, etc. We went on field trips to museums and movie screenings, too! She does tend to speak quickly, and sometimes it takes a moment or two for your brain to process what it is that she's saying, but overall i had little trouble understanding her. Tons of fun group work. There's also a lot of useless textbook homework that no one ever does (or needs to do!) and it's never reviewed in class. GOLD NUGGET!!!! I CANNOT RECOMMEND HER ENOUGH.
Ok, if you're like me and want to complete the language requirement but still have an amazing learning experience I'd HIGHLY recommend you take her class. She has incredible energy and amazing teaching style. She is super encouraging and makes learning Spanish incredibly fun. Some professors are not understanding when students are having a hard time learning the material, but she actually facilitates learning where you never run into a roadblock. I wish the department picked out more professors like her because she has been one of my favorite at Columbia so far!
Irene has such a positive energy and knowledge, of the subject and how to convey it to her students. She is a joy! The class really starts to roll after mid-term and can get difficult, only because all the information that needs to covered and the limited time remaining, however...she makes it effortless, partly due to her encouraging manner and her passion for teaching. Yes, I'm a fan. Would I take her class again? ABSOLUTELY! (Over and over, if need be.) *Also, her diction is perfect and clear...southern Spain. Recommend (on a 5 star gauge): *****
Kind of what you would expect out of a graduation requirement Spanish class. A lot of the kids were very unmotivated and quite bad at Spanish, though the professor was by no means the root of the problem. It's a lot of kind of silly worksheets in this class, though it's pretty effective in teaching you the language. Professor Ruiz-Fajardo (she signs her emails Guada, but I have no idea if I should call her that) is pretty in touch with how students feel, and she knows that the class, being required, is a chore for a lot of the people in it, so she tries to make it funny, usually successfully. She's a bit disorganized, but she's a fair grader and she really does try to help you learn the language. She also gives by far the best feedback on essays that I've ever gotten in a Spanish class.
I don't know who the person is being reviewed here, but my class, and friends in other classes taught by her, will attest that she is an awful teacher and one who has made our lives significantly worse. Putting positive reviews about her does a disservice to the Columbia community. The workload is immense and her whim is arbitrary. She goes by the textbook and can sometimes make class interesting, but more often makes it needlessly complicated by introducing tasks that have nothing to do with actually learning Spanish. This goes double for homework, where she is inflexible and Much of class is spent partnered into various groups of two or three with her yelling at us whenever we finished early because she was that anxious about us not slacking off. There was not a moment where we didn't feel judged, and judged poorly at that. All in all, this class is something that neither I nor my classmates would wish on anyone.
She's the best. No joke. She's so nice and sweet and it's so clear she really wants her students to do extremely well. She always tries to make sure the class understands the grammar, and from what I can tell everyone did very well on the exams. Take her class!!! As long as you meet her half way and put in the effort, she will love you. Also, gentleman, don't be surprised if you develop a bit of a crush. She really is that pretty.
I was nervous because it was his first semster teaching at Columbia and I placed out of the first 3 semesters of Spanish straight into intermediate 2, but I gotta say, he's hands down the nicest most understanding professor at Columbia. He totally understands that students have a shitton of other work to do and is flexible with assignments. He's really approachable and helpful AND he's a lenient grader. He tries his best to give you as much credit as possible. The syllabus seems a little weird and strangely distributed but that's not his fault, that's the department format. He's really funny in class and makes discussions really interesting by discussing current issues like immigration and human rights. TAKE ANY CLASS HE TEACHES. You won't be sorry.
REYES IS THE BEST! It's that simple. She's charming, funny, enthusiastic, helpful, receptive, engaging, and overall just a wonderful person/professor. LOVE LOVE LOVE HER. She gives the most thorough and helpful feedback on all assignments and is willing to go above and beyond to make sure you understand a concept. She responds to emails super quickly. Intermediate Spanish is really straightforward: same exams and requirements as all the other Spanish classes. For Advanced Language through Content, the weekly readings and assignments are quite challenging, but really effective in terms of becoming a more sophisticated Spanish speaker. I only wish she was teaching more upper level classes!
This is one of the best classes I have ever taken. Maria is an absolute GEM and I was so surprised she didn't have stellar reviews already. She's very clear and easy to understand, she makes all of her expectations very clear, and she always stays on task (even if she tangents about her 5 year old son, she always manages to stay on topic). She speaks at just the right pace, she's always very helpful, and she's very understanding about issues as well. She's an amazing teacher, and you can be totally honest with her. I beg of you, take a class with her, she's wonderful. (also we had dinner at her adorable apartment at the end of the semester, and it was the cutest and she made us flan even though she didn't have to she's actually the best)
Sonia was a new teacher this year at Columbia. She is straight from Spain with a thick Spanish accent. Her class is very discussion-based. The textbook she uses is the standard Gente series, from which she gets some very menial homework assignments. We watched a few movies outside of class for homework and analyzed them. Participation is encouraged; she often teaches a discussion-based class structure, spending the first part of class each day going over the previous night's homework by going around the table and having each student give an answer. Her class was generally tedious, but she's funny if you can understand her humor. The way she teaches certain units isn't exactly catered to English-speakers, but she generally gets her point across. She teaches exclusively in Spanish. Overall not the best experience, but not bad, and she's a very easy grader.
I took Spanish Intermediate II, and got an easy A in the class. He's a great teacher, good sense of humor, and wants you to do well as long as you put effort into your work. Class was varied: read fictional and nonfictional texts, did grammar exercises, watched movies (2 or 3 times throughout the semester), sometimes listened to audio recordings to practice listening comprehension, had conversations, etc. Emphasis was put on improving all skills: reading, speaking, listening. I honestly thought it was a relaxed class, and not stressful at all. Everything was clearly assigned on CW: tests and essays no less than a week before they were due. Juan is also a fair grader. Although he grades the first drafts of your essays, he always requires you to revise them -- students almost always get a higher grade on the second draft. Juan cares about motivation in class, and willingness to learn and grow. He's easy-going so long as you study the material and put a normal amount of effort into the class.
He is a very nice person, but absolutely unable to teach a class. Granted he was new this semester, but Professor Abraham does not have a grasp on department expectations or what students need to do well on the department-wide Spanish mid-term or final exams. His classes are a waste of time. He spends much of his time in class messing with the computer, speaking in English, and talking about how disorganized everything is and how it's not his fault. Avoid his section if you are serious about doing well on the exams!
Raquel is maybe the most interesting/bizarre/outlandishly inappropriate professor I have ever had. My Spanish really didn't improve but I learned a lot about prostitution, drug use, cannibalism, abortion, foreign aid, gay marriage and domestic violence. Her class consists of a 10 minute homework/grammar lesson and then the rest is mainly conversations in Spanish about the above topics. She grades incredibly harshly but this has nothing to do with your final grade. I got mostly 60s and 70s on the essays, an 88 on the midterm and then an A in the class. Either she grades on a massive curve, or she just doesn't pay attention to numbers at all. I would say the key to getting on her good side is pretending like you really care. You should meet with her to discuss essays and participate like mad in class. She really is a nice person, but she is different. Definitely not your typical professor.
I have never written a CULPA review before, but I think I owe it to this one. Reyes is by far the best instructor I have ever had. She truly cares about all of her students, and is simply a brilliant professor. She is very passionate about teaching which shows in each and every class, motivating everyone to work harder and ultimately get more out of the courses. She is always willing to answer your questions, both in class and in office hours, and will do anything she can to make sure every student understands. She always has very clear and effective ways of explaining concepts, especially some of the subtle differences between Spanish and English that are sometimes difficult for us to understand at first. Also, her corrections for compositions are extremely thorough and helpful. Her classes are very dynamic and engaging. In Intermediate 2, there are different activities and a lot of group work to practice the various concepts and vocab rather than only doing worksheets. 3300 is more discussion based, but it never felt like the same thing every day, which kept the content interesting. Out of all my Spanish classes (every year since freshman year of high school), no course has improved my Spanish nearly as much as both of these have. Taking these two classes with Reyes made me completely change my mind about my major- now I'm a Spanish major! If you are taking Spanish, DEFINITELY take a class with Reyes. And one more thingâ€¦ where is her gold nugget?!
Don't trust the previous reviews which try to soften the criticism of Raquel's classroom. Here's one of many reasons to avoid the class: You are assigned four written compositions during the semester, which are written in class (Craig-Florez assigned them as homework). You have to write these compositions after watching a Spanish foreign film at home (Craig-Florez played the films in class). The craziest part is that your grade on these compositions depends not only on the correctness of your grammar and spelling, but also on whether Raquel thinks your thesis is sound! Your thesis MUST tie together three things: the title of the film, a major theme of the film, and the ending of the film. No exceptions. That's complicated enough to come up with, let alone to write in Spanish, and to write during class! After the first composition, the average grade on them was between 50 and 60%. And if that wasn't frustrating enough, when our class asked for Raquel to give an example of a good thesis, she refused! If someone had told me that I was basically taking a film studies class in Spanish, I would have reconsidered staying in Raquel's class.
The positive review on the top of this page was written by the professor. This was the most atrocious semester we as students ever endured. Class is very disorganized. It is not possible to learn by listening, since we never get a chance to listen to anything other than arguments started by one student to another to another, to the teacher, back to the student. It is not a good way to spend your time. Try enrolling in a class that is taught by a person exhibiting some leadership and organizational ability. Please do not read any reviews that are positive. They were all written by the professor. We know this, since she stated this in class. Really bad decision to enroll here.
Before choosing Guada as my Spanish teacher, I had read many glowing reviews about her. Sad to say, I was very underwhelmed by her teaching ability. She definitely encourages class participation; however, my class was not very loquacious so she gave up pretty easily. She also teaches straight out of Gente which is by far the worst Spanish textbook I have ever laid my eyes on! The exercises are rather pointless and repetitive and they do not facilitate learning the grammar or the vocabulary. With regards to deadlines, she is extremely lax which is pretty nice; however, she does assign random little assignments in class which are mentioned last minute which no one understands what they are. The homework is really easy (3 chapters of Gente Red and Blue books, 3 movie assignments, and a couple random packets); however, she is very unclear when certain assignments are due which is extremely frustrating. Overall, it does not seem like she really cared about the course. In the middle of the term, we had two substitutes teach while she was away, Jose Campanillo and Francisco Varo Rosales. Sad but true, I learned more in those two lectures than I did the entire semester when she was teaching!!!
Guada is a great teacher! She has a very good castellano pronunciation and is quite active. Wants everyone in the class to participate. The class focuses heavily on speaking and conversation but there are also written assignments. She is pretty relaxed about deadlines..you can practically give in all the stuff on the last day..but youÂ´d better try to keep up. You will learn a lot not only about grammar and vocabulary but also about Latin America, the history and culture of Spain..The level though is advanced I'd say..she is available and happy to help anyone who needs extra assistance. Overall, the class is fun.I enjoyed it very much
I just want to say that all the negative reviews below are fairly accurate. She is not a qualified spanish instructor, period. She doesn't explain, and doesn't know how to explain, any, and all aspects of the fundamentals of spanish grammar, either in the colloquial/vernacular sense, nor in the formal/written. She rarely converses in spanish. Grading is rarely based on performance on a test/exam, but on whether the teacher thinks you like her or not. This usually works, since on written portions of exams, she can literally alter the grade down enough for the objective portions (multiple choice) to get compromised, regardless of performance on the exam as a whole. Let's just say she is an unorthodox teacher, with a fairly weird way of going about grading/teaching/organizing class time and the class syllabus. The only problem is that students shouldn't have to get caught up in this type of class. If there is any purpose for culpa reviews, it shouldn't just be to assail and warn you of horrible, horrible wackos, and vice versa for good teachers, but to inform the reader of what they are getting themselves into. When I say don't sign up for this class, please, please, don't do it. It's not ok to say, well, you just want to try it out to see what these reviews are about, or, to say, well, there aren't any other sections of the class which fit your schedule. In all honesty, if this is the case, don't even take spanish! You came to Columbia, you are in an Ivy, a prominent one at that, you are paying 55 grand a year to come here, and I'd be damned if another student gets caught up in a class which reminds you of being back in a public middleschool, with the worst middle-school teacher on campus! Don't sign up for this class, period!
Honestly my favorite professor I've had at Columbia! Professor Vila is unbelievably nice and funny and approachable, and the whole class consists of group discussion and exercises. The only homework is a 1-page composition each week. All the grammar exercises are just done in class, and the three presentations we had to give throughout the semester were all really simple and laid-back, and they were done in groups. I really feel like I learned more from this class than I have from any other Spanish class where I had to do pages of grammar exercises and vocab at home. Vila organizes the class so you can learn without really realizing you're learning. When the midterm and final rolled around, I realized that I had learned all the concepts through the group discussions without noticing. Intermediate II was the only Spanish class I had to take, and I was dreading it, but I actually ended up loving it. This is the only class I've ever actually looked forward to going to, and now I wish I had more Spanish classes to take with Professor Vila. The one piece of advice I have: if you don't already have it, DON'T go out and buy the workbook and grammar book for this class. You will not need it. I wish someone had told me that before I bought it.
Professor Craig-Florez was one of the nicest professors I've had, but also one of the most ineffective. Everything she did was simply regurgitated from the the textbook. If participation wasn't such a big part of the grade I probably would not have bothered to go to class. If you want an easy grade and are just trying to get through the language requirement I highly recommend Craig-Florez, however, if you actually would like to learn Spanish, I suggest finding another professor.
Guada is good. It must suck to have to teach beginning language courses but she manages with grace. She doesn't hound you about homework anything like that. Turn it in when you want, but just do it in the end. Her main focus is talking in small groups and pairs which I thought really helped. You do have to learn most of your grammar on your own, but that's the trade off. Classes are usually pretty fun. I'd recommend her/ take her again.
Xavi is AMAZING! I absolutely loved his class, and that saying a lot considering I was in Spanish until 7 on Fridays. He is amazingly engaging and truly dedicated to making sure that his students understand (and can think in) Spanish. He makes a point of saying that he hates grammar, and wants us to move beyond simply memorizing rules. I've already recommended him to all of my friends. He is the best Spanish professor I've ever had, Barnard needs to keep him around. Intermediate 2 got a bit intense after the midterm because a ton of new grammar rules and tenses were thrown at us out of nowhere, but Xavi did a really good job at relating the info to real life situations. I can't say it enough...TAKE A CLASS WITH THIS MAN!
Wow. Just Wow. This has got to be by far the worst class i have ever taken. She is not a native speaker of the spanish language, and she is not even fluent. Wow. Please save yourself and choose someone else. I am still kicking my foot for not switching out before the drop deadline. I guess i thought i might give her a chance after assuming she needed time to feel more comfortable. How wrong i was. All you do in class is go around in a circle answering the homework questions from the night before. It is absurdly tedious and annoying to cooperate under this sub-highschool standard classroom environment. You feel like you are back in middle-school. How much can you actually learn going around in a circle spitting out what you already wrote on a paper the night before. Class is an absurd waste of time, and it doesnt quite make sense how if you are late to them, your grade goes down. Your grade is based on whether or not your voice in class sounds enthusiastic when it's your turn to talk. She has a false idea about what it takes to learn a language, and firmly believes that it has to do with how good you are at faking a spanish accent, as opposed to what words come out of your mouth. Figure this out for yourself if you wish, because the only students with a decent grade will be the ones who speak with fervor, and act as superficially spanish as possible (nothing wrong with this! They are good fakers, that's all, and i'm just saying that this ability shouldn't be why they get A's!) I don't mean to be rude, but, spanish students, beware!
Xavi Llovet Vila is not to be confused with Xavier Vila who also teaches Intermediate Spanish II. Xavi was the best teacher ever. He has so much energy and is so passionate about the language that every class was incredibly engaging and fun. He also has an amazingly dorky yet charming laugh that will blow your mind! I don't plan on being a Hispanic Studies major, but Xavi's class was by far my favorite class of the semester. I can't even begin to describe how awesome he is... Xavi presents the material in a clear manner and is always patient with questions. He likes it when his students participate, which isn't a problem because he makes it so easy to do so. From talking to friends in other classes, Xavi's grading seemed to be a bit harder than that of other spanish teachers. Perfect scores are very difficult to get on the compositions or other work we do. However, this should not deter you from taking spanish with Xavi. You can easily get an A if you devote some time and effort into the class. Don't half-ass your final project. It's not difficult at all... oh btw.. Xavi is hott (with two T's)
I took Intermediate I in the Spring with Francisco and really loved it so stayed in his Intermediate II class for the fall. One of the nicest professor's I've met at Columbia - and one who genuinely loves teaching. Encourages activities in pairs, and is never stern. The work seems like a lot sometimes, but it's fairly standard for the Spanish courses and he is very helpful with in-class assignments that help for the essays and his grading is more generous than fair. He will do everythign he can to help you. Both semesters with him were light-hearted and fun so much so that goiung to class was a pleasure, and I hope to take something else with him in the future.
Raquel is pretty crazy, but I liked her. IF YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET INTO A SPANISH SECTION AND SHE IS THE TEACHER, DO NOT DROP IT BECAUSE OF ANY OTHER CULPA REVIEWS. She definitely has â€œfavoritesâ€ of some sortâ€¦ but getting on her â€œgood sideâ€ basically just involves enjoying her class. This includes doing the homework, participating in class, submitting to her completely bizarre system wholeheartedly, and enjoying the language. Many previous reviewers have mentioned this â€œbizarre systemâ€ as well, but not elaborated much. A typical day of class can generally be expected to include: 95 seconds of reviewing homework during the very beginning of class (sometimes she finishes going over it before I can even find mine), paired conversation prompted by questions on little bits of paper, grammar lessons using either Paris Hilton, PrezBo, various drugs, sex, and Adderall as nouns, conversation based on current events, and other random things. I was never totally sure of what was going on because although class always seemed to be busily filled with work, we covered an amazingly tiny amount of material (this is due to the department rather than Raquel). The class was also strange because the very few things we â€œlearnedâ€ were all obscure grammar lessons that nearly no one uses in real-life conversation. At the same time, however, Raquel highly discourages learning new vocabulary as a way to improve oneâ€™s language prowess. Instead, she encourages using the Spanish you already know to convey your thoughts, or to even change your thoughts to suit what you CAN say. I placed into this class as a freshman, and my Spanish was decent enough to have probably exempted from my requirement. I was lucky to squeeze into a Spanish Intermediate II section, though, so I just decided to give it a try. I stuck with her, so apparently I enjoyed it? Raquelâ€™s craziness aside, my confidence with speaking Spanish, my enjoyment of the language, and my ability to speak practically have all improved dramatically. Take the jump. Also, you have to be in the very middle to upper range of the exemption test results for her to accept you. She rejected a fair number of people the first day because they just made it into Int II. Also, she is terrifying the first day and half the people left. Then the next class she was suddenly fun and hilarious.
Profesor Diez seems like the funniest, kindest, most caring professor you could ask for. She always comes to class with a bright smile on her face and with juicy gossip and news stories from around the world. Though she is an excellent professor, she is also extremely dogmatic and critical of other people's opinions. If she disagrees with something you say, she will hound you relentlessly about it. I understand that she expects only the best from her students and that she is trying to combat the laziness with which people approach her class, but the standards that she will hold you to are entirely harsh. Her demeanor in class does not reflect the severity of her grading system nor her attitude towards you, your work, or your effort. If you tell her you forgot your book at home, she will tell you "it's ok, it doesn't matter, whatever" and smile, and then mercilessly punish you later for your lack of preparedness in class. Maybe I'm being a little hyperbolic, but sometimes it truly seems as if she's teaching just to get a kick out of humiliating her students.
Best Spanish teacher I've ever had, hands down. She is from spain but speaks english fluently so for the tough stuff, she can clarify in english to help make sense of everything. Reyes is bubbly and fun, and all she wants is for her students to get better at Spanish, have a good time doing it, and interact with eachother. She doesn't grade the workbook work, but its worth doing before a midterm and final for practice. For the required essays, she gives corrections unlike other professors in the course. Because she is incredibly accessible, she will meet during office hours or another scheduled time to review your newly corrected paper, and then let you turn in this twice revised paper for a grade. If that's not fair I don't know what is. She also stresses participation, and rewards people for participating with a participation grade worth 20% and gvies extra credit points (a kid in my class got a 21/20 for participation). She gives A+'s! I've never learned so much from a spanish teacher either in high school or at Columbia!
Great professor. Very nice lady, extremely accomodating. Very generous with turning in late work, tardies, and absenses. Good teacher! i probably should have failed this course, but i got a B-. The only thing i would be cautious about is her FREQUENT worksheets and excercises almost each class, they are not graded but they do count towards participation. these exercises included everything from grammar worksheets to reading poetry and even renting and watching spanish movies. the group project is easy, interview someone from a spanish speaking country, and make a powerpoint about the interview and basic wikipedia info about the country.
This class would frustrate me at times, but ultimately I would recommend Professor Jimenez-Caicedo. Since this is the last semester of the Spanish language requirement, I think that there were many people in my class who were there only for that reason and didnâ€™t really care about learning the language. This was a little disappointing, and dampened some of his efforts to engage the class in small group discussions. But thatâ€™s what you get with Int. II. In terms of material, I learned much more in any of my high school Spanish classes. Here, we hardly learned new vocabulary and we only reviewed the subjunctive. (Thankfully we were just reviewing, because I didnâ€™t find his grammar explanations to be very straightforward.) However, we had many opportunities to practice the language we already knew- from class discussions to interesting, argumentative paper assignments. The class was heavily discussion-based with very little lecturing. Group discussions and activities (such as â€œcharlemosâ€- free-form chatting in Spanish with a partner based on one or two questions) took up most of class time. Also, blog entries and movies we watched in class relating to current events and issues Latin America were interesting. Throughout all this, Professor Jimenez-Caicedo is very approachable and understanding. Overall, he is interested in his students ideas and encourages the expression of these ideas rather than meticulous grammatical perfection.
If you are thinking about taking a class with Professor Jimenez-Caicedo, you DEFINITELY should! First of all, he is very friendly and supportive. He lets you actually talk in Spanish and express yourself without stopping you every other word to correct you (although he will give subtle corrections, but not to the point of being annoying or condescending). He has a very good sense of humor too. One of the best things about Prof. Jimenez-Caicedo is that actually explains why you need to use certain verb tenses or grammar point, and how the meaning of what you say actually can change a lot based on which verb tense you use. His explanations made things so much easier to understand! My only critique would be that Prof. Jimenez-Caicedo is sometimes a little slow handing back assignments. But in his defense he did have three sections of this class (that's about 60 students), which is a lot.
I am deeply indebted to Profesora Aguilar. Without her, I would never have been able to woo the Spanish hotties like I did while visiting Madrid this summer. For me, her grammatical worksheets translated into a Latina lovefest. I took Spanish Intermediate II with Profesora Aguilar, and I learned a ton. I recommend taking her class if you really care about learning the language, because she will teach you. If you're just satisfying the language requirement, find someone else. She has a very thorough understanding of Spanish, English, and apparently several other languages, and she had excellent explanations for all of my questions. She will repeat the key concepts until the class understands it, but don't expect her to be happy about repeating things if it takes you longer than it should. Do her assignments and you'll be fine. She likes to bring cultural elements into the class, which I thought made it much more interesting. She's very interesting to talk to, and it will help you to do so in her office hours.
I had a really easy and nice Spanish professor last semester, but didn't learn much so I thought I'd challenge myself by taking Perla's class. Boy was I WRONG. Not only am I still not learning anything, my grade is suffering as well. Whatever you do, do not take this class. She is worse than any professor I even had in public high school in Los Angeles, and that's saying A LOT. You will not learn Spanish because she goes so quickly, never speaks English (even when teaching a grammatical concept) and only goes over exercises and never actually teaches anything. She assigns an unreasonable amount of work. She plays total favorites and expects us to know Spanish without actually teaching it. She is a ridiculously hard grader, she will give you a B on a paper and after you make the corrections she suggests, only gives you a B+.
I donâ€™t entirely regret taking Rayoâ€™s class but wouldnâ€™t do it again or recommend it. I realized afterward that I did well because sheâ€™s not very demanding, so I didnâ€™t learn as much as I should have. Sheâ€™s also a little creepy but perfectly nice.
Xavier was very down to earth and always flexible with due dates. His infectious mood and sense of humor brightened my spirits every time I came to class. Class time was usually fun and social. Know that this is not the most rigorous of Spanish classes and you will not be doing a lot of grammar exercises for homework. Xavier's learning philosophy is that writing and speaking are the best way to assimilate the language, not endlessly writing out verbs.
Roxanna is sooo nice. I took her for both Int. I and II because she made the class comfortable and explained tenses and concepts. The workload is typical of other spanish classes but as a professor she is extremely accessible and genuinely cares. I would definitely recommend her.
Professor Romero is a really nice woman, but being in her class always made me feel a little nervous. She always called on students before they even had a chance to volunteer to answer a question. If you take her class, be sure to raise your hand before she has a chance to call any names that way you won't be caught off guard. Overall, her class wasn't too difficult. There is a decent amount of work, but she's a fair grader. She is extremely enthusiastic about teaching Spanish and doesn't waste a second of class. She's also really helpful outside of class and responds very quickly to e-mails. She moves pretty fast during class with her power-point presentations so make sure you pay attention. Also, make sure you participate a lot in class. She loves it when people in class start discussions and express their opinions about different topics.
I love Raquel. Having class with her is exciting and you learn a lot. If you are over-sensitive than don't take this class, because she is not one to take nonsense. She is always willing to help and keeps the class working hard to learn, but is also understanding about absences, extensions, etc. Really great instructor and lovely person.
Francisco is an incredible teacher. Academically, he challenges his students to improve their grammar, indulge in creative writing, as well as speak frequently. This class reviewed some concepts I already studied, but Francisco reintroduced them in a different way. We discussed a huge variety issues, through watching many movies, and by addressing world issues. Francisco makes clear that just because he is your teacher doesn't mean he can't learn from you as well. He is funny, kind, and unbelievably understanding. All in all, he was my favorite teacher last semester, and my favorite Spanish teacher I've ever had. Do it!
I didn't know what to expect from a college level Spanish course, but Sooudi was a very nice teacher. If you have a MWF class, she does do her quizzes on every other Fridayâ€”making Thursday night partying usually not happening so you can memorize those vocabulary words. I didn't find the courseworks that challenging, but I think it was because it was stuff I did in high school. Class was often boring and tiring, but I think Sooudi was kind enough to understand. She was extremely open to meeting with people about tests and quizzes or additional help.
Senora Rayo is a generous grader - getting an A is not too difficult. However, she does not enforce the speaking of spanish in her class. Given that this is the last semester of spanish in which students are to be learning grammar, not speaking spanish in class poses a big problem. Also, only 2 days of class in the semester we dedicated to discussing the spanish language. If you want to perfect your spanish, this is certainly not the right class for you. Easy A? It's nce, but not worth it.
Francisco is awesome. He is such a sweet heart and really wants everyone in his class to do well. He is from Spain and speaks with the lisp, but he is very easy to understand and constantly asking if you understand. All the work is manageable, though it definitely increased in amount at the end. I'm not sure if I improved in my Spanish immensely, but there was a lot of speaking and writing which was nice. A really great guy and really understanding if you need extensions.
Strange, sweet lady (but can be a little condescending at times). Will not teach you a lick of spanish, but will sit and entertain you with poetry, movies, and theater. Great class if you don't care about learning Spanish and just want to get your language requirement overwith. If you are at all interested in the aforementioned, AVOID THIS CLASS! My Spanish is worse for it. That said, the class definitely had its memorable moments. Nobody will let you get away with as much silliness as Rayo (in both classroom activities and presentations) - she gets a kick out of it. Also, she is an extremely generous grader, especially on your overall grade. Spanish with Rayo is an experience, but not necessarily an educational one.
Perla was absolutely terrible--our whole class complained about her every single day. She ran out of time and we ended up doing the last chapter in 2 days. She is extremely disorganized, and she picks favorites (those who speak Spanish fluently already) and least-favorites. She picked really hard on her least-favorites. The kids just looked so sad after each class. I know she has a decent review, but if you are taking this class just to satisfy a requirement (as almost all of my entirely unhappy class was) find someone FUN!
Prof. Rodas is great. She knows her stuff and makes you want to learn Spanish. Class is fun. She really likes it when people participate and you can ask her any question. She does expect a lot from you. For 2 of the papers you submit rough drafts so you have a chance to make your final draft better but she is a tough grader. Her tests are also hard. Be sure to know the literature that you are reading because she tests the grammar through the stories you read. Overall, she is a joy to be around.
Professor Rodas is great. She is the perfect Spanish professor. I am by no estimation good in Spanish, but her warm words coupled with her enthusiasm made me feel more confident and more willing to participate in this class. I would wholeheartedly recommend this class to people looking to painlessly fulfill the language requirement. Hey-- you never know, you might even have some fun.
As someone who was not thrilled about fulfilling my language requirement, Guada came as a blessing - by the end of her class, I actually enjoyed Spanish. She leads engaging discussions in class and is incredibly helpful during her office hours. Sometimes the instructions she gives in class concerning assignments are a little unclear, but if you are confused, she's willing to clarify things after class. Basically, if you put the time in and show here that you care by actively participating in class, asking questions, and attending office hours, it will pay off in the end.
Professor Horn is great. This was her first semester teaching at Barnard and the hiring committee made a superior choice. She is young, fresh, and brimming with enthusiasm. Although the Spanish department has a standard syllabus for the class, Professor Horn manages to make it interesting and really engaging. She is really creative in her approach to teaching grammar and literature, and has clear expectations. When the syllabus was too vague with the departmentÂ’s requirements for the first paper, she really listened to our feedback and adjusted the next papers accordingly. She is really interested in the classesÂ’ thoughts and passions, and try to manipulate the syllabus as mush as she can to reflect that. She is fluent in at least three languages, as she is German, lived in Venezuela when she was younger, did her research in the Dominican Republic, and went to undergrad and grad in the States. Her research has focuses on queer Dominican women artists, but has a diverse knowledge base of multiple Latin American nations, Latino populations in the US, and Latin American literary traditions. I highly recommend her, and it would be a pity if you went through the department without taking one of her classes. If you just give this class a decent effort you can a get a good grade.
professor horn is awesome. she's young, enthusiastic, and really friendly. this class really helped my spanish and made me more interested in taking more spanish. she tries to keep things intersteing my mixing grammar and culture, and she has a great kknowledge about different spanish cultures. shes really approachable, and a good prof to have.
Mauricio is an awesome teacher. He made class extremely fun and painless and always encouraged us to speak Spanish. We always had parties with lots of food. The weekly quizzes are pretty easy and all the compositions have re-writes which alter your original grade significantly. All in all, an Intermediate Spanish class that caused no stress. Oh, he also doesn't check homework.
Aura is a very nice and cool person who certainly does her best to make class interesting. However, I wouldn't say she's an awesome teacher, she tends to really under-explain bigger projects/papers, and her guidelines about when to turn in the homework are mostly unclear. My biggest complaint about her though is that she just gives way too much homework. In a course that so many people take just to satisfy their requirement, do you really have to assign 8 exercises per class? What's worse she doesn't ever even return the homework, just checks that it's done, which theoretically means that you could write spanish-looking gibberish for several pages and turn it in. This also clearly shows that she doesn't want to take the time to go over the massive amount of exercises, which means she shouldn't have made us take the time to do all of them! In short: If you are looking for a nice teacher, Aura's fine, but I'm sure that there are people who give way less work and are not so cryptic with their big assignments.
Where to begin? Ok first thing to know, get on his good side. If he likes you, you will get an A. If he doesn't like you or is in the middle, you shouldn't bother keeping your hopes up. I was warned about him in the beginning of the semester but I chose to ignore the warning - He picks his favorites and they stay that way. They are the ones he picks to talk during discussions when you have something to say and you are the one picked to talk when you have no idea what the discussion is on. Speak up the first day, seem interested, kiss up if you must but at least you'll have a chance in his class. He's not a bad person - I mean he's nice I guess but he can't teach. Sticks to the syllabus (a blessing and a curse), speaks mostly spanish in class (which is fine but he'll try to explain your question in spanish and he can't do that in english anyway, so your screwed). Basically, don't take his class...Take Int. Spanish II but just don't take it with him.
If you can get Phill, you are definitely a lucky person. He is one of the sweetest Professors I have ever known, even if you get a question wrong in class, he will never outwardly embarass you, just nicely inform you of his own answer. He does not force you to speak, and therefore you learn how to speak not out of force but because you want to, and your spanish speaking skills definitely benefit. Even if a certain unit seemed difficult, he would present it so clearly that everything seemed to be easy to do. He is very approachable and available whenever you need him, before a test or just for review. His classes were always interesting with group in-class assignments, debates and discussions. A new addition to the Spanish and Portuguese department, Phill is a great, inspiring professor, and a really nice person!
Hands down worst professor i've had at Columbia. I don't know what all the reviewers were thinking when wrote what a good professor she is. If by intelligent they mean pretentious and condescending I can understand. In her class I had to put up with her daily operatic performances while trying my best to suppress laughter. After getting an A in all previous Spanish classes she would award D's and F's to about half the students in the class. She would chastise students who did not come up with the answer right away, and boy does she pick favorites. Even after going to her office hours to try and give the impression I wanted to improve, there was no relenting in her completely unfair grading methods. Need proof to back up this review? About half the students dropped the class right before the drop deadline. I took a class with a different instructor the following summer and received an A. Stay away from her.
Mario is a great teacher that really tries to help out his students. He is funny and makes a fifty minute class go by in no time. Unlike some teachers, you actually learn spanish from him. I would fully recommend taking Mario for your language requirement.
Prof. Aguilar is intelligent, well-spoken in both spanish and english, hilarious, and an all-around great spanish teacher. I learned more from her in a few months than I did taking years of Spanish in high school. Be forewarned: If you are one of those people who hates foreign language and is dying to finish your requirement, her class is not the best choice for you. While she has a deep respect for students who put forth a sincere effort, she has no patience for people who show up having done nothing, and repeatedly make the same mistakes on a daily basis. She's not afraid to humiliate those people. But, if you do enjoy spanish, even if you're not looking to major in it, but you don't mind doing what you have to do to get whatever is expected of you done, she's awesome. She loves meeting with you in her office, and is willing to break things down for you in english if need be.
Carlos - what a nice guy! what a terrible teacher! Carlos was indeed lovely and smiley and funny in class, but could never explain things; often didn't understand your questions; often explained simple concepts with the most complicated, linguistic vocabulary ever and for the love of God, would not veer from his departmental syllabus - even if we were truly curious, or it would explain things or really, anything. You will not learn anything that is not on the syllabus - even if Carlos really thinks you should. He will never (unlike other Spanish teachers I've had), teach you something "that you might want to know, but will not be tested on." Nope, if its not there on the syllabus, you ain't learning it. He also tests you (at least on the first test and on the essays) on stuff that he neglected to tell you about, or that you knew, just didn't understand the directions "change into the present perfect subjunctive." I got the third highest grade in the whole class on that first test - and that grade, mis amigos, was a 72 (and he wouldn't curve it). I was often also frustrated by his essays, where I'd be marked off for getting something wrong, I'd try to correct it (since I didn't get it), and on the final version it would still be wrong, because it was an idiomatic expression. But, according to him, I couldn't have known that - but, Ishould have looked it up, so its still wrong, so, you're still marked down. This made me livid. Also, his tendency to speak more English than Spanish seemed to annoy most of the class. Also, as someone stated before - if he likes you, you're gold. If he feels "eh" about you, then you're screwed. I sound bitter, but, honestly,he was a really nice, funny, smart, interesting guy. To get him to like you more, go to his office. If you really want a carefree or even difficult, but education way through intermediate II, this isn't the way. This was just painful. I think he'd be really good in upper level lit classes (where all this has been covered already and he doesn't need to explain - dear God, don't make him explain). But, yeah, I don't recommend this. It hurt and I didn't learn enough for it to hurt so much.
Perla was ok, she is certainly understanding and willing to work with the students. I found some of the exercises and readings in the class to be simply pointless. I mean, what El Coronel? That was the worst piece of crap ever.
I had a good experience in Victoria's class. She did a good job explaining the grammar and I felt like I actually did learn stuff in class. For those of you concerned about grades, Victoria is a pretty lenient grader. My only complaint is that some of the in-class exercises were a little boring. But Victoria is a very nice teacher and I recommend her.
Very easy class and an amazingly nice professor. I found this class to be mostly review, but if you ever had a question, she would do everything she could to give you the best answer. She speaks slowly enough for you to understand her well, and never patronizes you if you make a mistake while speaking. The essays and tests are fairly graded, and she explains the readings very well. As someone who is petrified of speaking Spanish but is good at reading and writing, I loved this class. If you really want to improve speaking, this may not be the class for you. Overall, a really good, sweet professor and an easy A.
Carimar, like the other reviews indicate, is disorganized, unjustifiably stubborn, and completely unhelpful. She frequently comes to class at least 10 minutes late, and it is very difficult to get her to comprehensively discuss questions of grading. Perhaps she thinks this is an excellent teaching technique, but it does nothing but hinder the learning process. Her use of the 50 minute class time is the worst I have ever seen at Columbia, most of it is wasted with ineffectual excercises from the book, which is known to be a horrible source.
Other reviews say that Carimer has an encouraging classroom demeanor and I agree with that. While it is true, that is the entire extent of her positive attributes. As a student you will find that Carimer is largely disinterested and vacant. She is entirely unavailable outside of class -- she has no office hours, as she claims to have no actual office space -- which is just outrageous. An extension of this behavior is just how unaccommodating you'll find her to be if you have to submit work to her outside of her tyrannical deadlines. She won't accept anything late for ANY reason. She even goes the extra mile to make it extremely difficult if you try to submit work to her early if you have to miss class for some reason. In addition to this, she is an incredibly harsh grader, in my opinion totally out of step with the rest of the Spanish department. And her tests are ruthless because of the time constraints she puts on them. The class is only 50 minutes long, but on test days she usually comes in 5 minutes late because she waits until the last minute to print up the tests. Then she proceeds to talk for 5 more minutes about your next homework or paper or some other waste of time, after which she'll finally start the test that you really need the entire class to take. She will also not give any extra time at the end of class for testing. Almost no one finished her midterm and as a result, nearly half the class dropped out afterwards. If the timeslot for the final wasn't mandated by the department, I'm sure she would tried to give that in 50 minutes too. Her grading is completely intransparent as well, as I wound up with an entire grade below what I thought I was going to get, based on my testscores and homework scores. And, big surprise, when I tried to confront her about it, she was completely unavailable. Do yourself a favor and find someone else to take Spanish from.
The class was more difficult than any Spanish class I have taken, but I came out with a much better understanding of the language than at any previous time. This class helped me correct prior deficiencies in my Spanish ability, and though I was intimidated for the first few weeks by the professors demanding style, in the end I really felt like I had a much more firm grasp of Spanish. Meeting with the professor is definitely recommended, I felt a lot better after doing so. The quizzes are extermely difficult but the midterms and finals are pretty much a joke in comparison.
Reading the two previous reviews on CULPA, I was severely disappointed with Senora Golston; I had taken four years of Spanish with really phenomenal teachers, so the drop in teaching quality once I got to Columbia really caught me by surprise. Classes were very unstructured, the book similar to the one teacher scoffed at in 9th grade, and Golston's attempts to explain grammer only made the class more confused until she could come back the next day after having gone back to her office and asked a real Spanish teacher. I could not help but notice that the class's fluency scarecely improved over the semester, and the super-light-almost-nothing workload did not help to build our vocabularies. She's very nice, but does not have to skills to judge a student's language profficiency and help improve it. Basically, if you want to pass the language requirement with the least effort possible, this is a good option, but if you actually are interested in learning Spanish then don't waste your time.
Well, this class was awesome! I was forced into it after my section was full and she was incredibly awesome about it. The HW is pretty much optional and due dates are pretty much non-existent as well. I got an A+ in the class, which I had previoulsy thought was impossible, and I did not put in any extra effort. She just is really concerned that her students are learning. An excellent choice if you want a no stress class and want to learn something
While many of my friends complained of numerous tests and long and difficult readings in other classes, my class did not require any additional work than what the syllabus required: grammar exercises from the textbook, 4 essays, 2 tests, and the final. Professor Riobo was a generous grader, which made up for his teaching style. Although he "covered" the material and tried to get students in my class to understand it, he was not very successful. Basically, one needs to spend some quality time with the textbook to really understand the complex grammar. Riobo would spend time in class, talking about the grammar but refused to write on the board due to "allergies to chalk" and did not have any worksheets to practice the grammar we had to learn. He also allowed us to use a great deal of English which was opposite to the previous Spanish classes I have taken. All in all, Professor Riobo is a really bright guy, but I think our class suffered from his lack of preparation. If you are looking for a painless and relatively easy way out of the language requirement, Riobo is the professor for you.
She is the nicest woman you will ever meet. She usually has a big smile, and does not take away credit if you turn in your paper a week late. She even gave an extension on the final exam. However, she is a HORRIBLE teacher. If your goal is to learn Spanish, do not take her course. The entire semester was a blur for me in terms of learning anything. You are expected to know grammar for the tests, which is a problem because she doesn't teach any. It is not easy to ask her questions because she get annoyed that you don't already know, if it has to do with grammar. If you are comfortable with Spanish grammar, she is a great teacher!
Profesora Blumberg is a good choice if you are looking to finish your language requirement with little stress. You probably won't learn anything new, however. She is eager for her students to learn, so she takes a more individualized approach to teaching. Unfortunately, though, what ends up happening in each class is that she introduces a lesson and those who are already familiar with the topic remain quiet while the others ask questions. She quickly recognizes this and tells the class to go home, study the lesson on their own and then ask questions in the next class if there are any. The exact same thing happens class after class because she is so worried about wasting the time of the students who already have a grasp of the concept. If you are confused about something, be prepared to attend her office hours. She is very relax about things such as due dates and retaking/rescheduling tests and she may even offer extra credit from time to time to help students make up for their absences. She is such a sweet lady and she really wants the best for her students, but, unfortunately, I felt very unprepared for the departmental final.
This class was a mess. I took it w/ her because I figured taking Spanish w/ a non-native speaker would be easier... but it wasn't. She used all kinds of vocabulary that NOBODY knew and taught grammar in her own special, confusing way without giving thorough examples. She'd much rather be teaching her spanish lit classes b/c we read random short stories that nobody understood about some grocery store soap opera thing. Quizzes were completely random as 75% of the class got C's or below on them and on her midterm. Plus side: no formal 2-3 page compositions and an in-class oral that's a random dialouge between you and another class-member. There has to be a ridiculous curve because I got C's on 5 of the 7 quizzes and on the midterm but I got a B+ in the class.
I thought the class was really easy but this may be true of all introductory spanish classes. Isabel is full of energy and really kind. She really tries to get everyone involved, even people who normally don't speak up. I liked that she divided the class into groups of two or three to discuss particular items or answer particular questions. If you have to take Spanish and want to get it done with a minimum of pain, take it with Isabel. If you want to learn a lot of Spanish, on the other hand, take it with someone else, because Isabel isn't very demanding of her students.
Grading was pretty fair, not hard at all to get an A which is what most people care about anyway. However, she can come across as a bitch sometimes and pretends to be strict with attendence. Paz Nachon should be your first choice for any spanish class, but if she's not available then MeInikova would be a good backup.
I took four year of Spanish in high school, but I figured "Hey, I spent a significant amount of time learning Spanish, why forget it now?" Thus, I took this course thinking it would be a brainless A. It's certainly brainless, but it's by no means a guaranteed A. Prof. Borgman knows Spanish, but doesn't (if that makes any sense). I caught her in numerous grammatical and conceptual errors, but, figuring I shouldn't trifle with the woman who controls my grade, I said nothing. In fact, she directly conrtadicted her packet on the subjunctive three times in one class. I would be ok with that if she was correcting the packet, but the opposite was true. Do I think I'll end up with an A? Yes. Did my Spanish skills suffer as a result of being in this class? Yes. Would I recommend it? No.
Professor Riobo is a good enough instructor. His lessons are very much grammar based, which suits the style of some, but is annoying for others. He is an easy grader if he likes you; make sure to participate a lot towards the beginning of the semester, and you're set. I would take another class with him.
She SEEMS like a nice person for like the first week and she SEEMS like a good teacher for like the first week, but then, sadly, reality sets in and you find out that she is neither of those things. Pretty much the whole class hated her. We didn't learn ANYTHING all semester. We wasted about 3 weeks on this silly short story that's not even part of the syllabus and then when it was time for chapter quizes, she was like "teach yourselves. there's no time." Not only did she not teach us the grammar for this class, which is like 70% of the final, she refused to even review the grammar for the last 2 quizes we had. The first few quizes she gave us were very difficult and tested material we didn't even cover from the book. It was obvious how little spanish our class knew when everyone bombed the departmental midterm (which is the same for every class). I thought it was just very hard, but when I spoke to friends in other 1202 classes, they all told me they did well and that they found it east because- get this - their teacher actually TAUGHT them something! Unbelievable. Spanish used to be my favorite class and Isabel made it torture. She speaks super fast and swallows her words, and you can't understand a word she says. She kind of talks to herself too more than to the class so it's really difficult to have any sort of class discussion. The book for the class (El coronel) is difficult to read and she made us get into groups and answer questions about the book, instead of actually teaching us anything or having us discuss the book. The groupwork was such a waste of time, and before you knew it, class was over. Usually when teachers don't teach, you can say, "well at least they're nice." But, not in this case. She got on everyone's case for being 3 minutes late to class because the clock in the class was 5 minutes fast so she considered everyone late and she kept lecturing us on not being late to her class. After hearing how evil we all were for being 3 minutes late to her class, I just loved how she showed up 10 minutes late to our final exam!!!! In conclusion, avoid this one. Spanish is supposed to be a fun class and she just drains all the fun right out of it. She likes to hear herself speak, doesn't seem at all interested in teaching us, and tells us to teach ourselves. $3000 to teach myself Spanish and to undergo 50 minutes of torture 3 times a week? No thanks!
This woman is quite an eccentric and really entertaining to watch; however, I would by no means call her a good teacher. Yes, I did hear that she was always willing to go over things outside of class with students, but if she taught the concepts well in class there would be no need to see her during office hours. And...may I say disorganized...papers scattered about, crazy writing on the blackboard, always behind on the schedule! Take Rayo if you are looking for a quasi-entertaining person and lots of drama (we were graced with her numerous dramatic speeches and readings)...though if you do take Spanish from her, you will be sacrificing a Spanish education.
Even though Prof. Fiol-Matta can seem a little moody at times, she isn't that bad. If you show up to class, participate, and see her in office hours from time to time, you'll be okay. She is a generous grader if she knows that you're working hard and that you care. I didn't even feel that she expected too much from people doing their homework. Just make sure you don't fall behind cause she'll still hold you responsible for the material. Her tests aren't took tricky-they're basically like the exercises from the book, but occasionally you'll need to know the list of vocab. But there are so mnay other components to your grade that you should be okay. Overall, if you're in Intermediate Spanish, you'll be fine with Fiol-Matta; I though she was pretty approachable in person and via email. The final is cake cause all the Spanish profs. have to write it together and they can't cover too much material cause they go over some different stuff in their individual classes. Just know the tenses well and somewhat of the main novel/work (ours was Cronica).
Run, do not walk from this crazy woman! not only did this "argentine flower" wilt long ago, she openly insults students in class. Be prepared to receive F's on the board (remind you of 2nd grade?), be told to shut up (frequently), have your work publicly ridiculed, and your exams frighteningly scrutinized (if only she taught the material first). Flora does not teach you Spanish, but insists that you speak with the fluency of a native and write perfectly on every exam. I have lost ground since Intermediate I and think that my language skills would be better if I had stopped taking Spanish at that point. She never gave us evaluation forms to fill out...even she fears what we have to say about her. Don't worry, you won't work too hard. Just do what our class did -- pass/fail and sleep. Best of luck if you wind up in this terrible class. Hopefully, you'll only stay there by default -- you have much better options. One recommendation: Daniel Fernandez, wish his class had fit into my schedule this semester.
Do you want to analyze Spanish poetry, or air your frustrated liberal tendencies? Aguilar's your professor! She prefers to teach culture over grammar, but she really teaches you grammar. She'll go over the grammar point a dozen times if she has to, but she'll also give you the guilt trip. So, do the work and learn a lot. But if you seek a class to slack off in, may Aguilar have mercy on your soul. Sometimes whimsical (though not a commedienne), randomly drops philosophers' names ("like St. Thomas Aquinas says..."). Her past Opera Singer life an added bonus.
Easy class. She's a ridiculously easy professor. You won't learn that much spanish though, but you'll have fun. Plus she'll take you out to dinner at the end of the semester. Get on her good side and you'll get a good grade, though it is somewhat based on the exams...
She was always full of energy! This quirky, fun-loving professor wanted to make sure that the students understood, even if it meant going slower than planned. She was very open to out of class help, and always let us revise our papers for credit (not just participation). I highly recommend her!
Amazing teacher! If you can find the time and space for her class, seize the moment! I've never had more fun in a language class, plus the fact that she is one of the most energetic people I know makes this class quite the experience. Oddly enough, she made learning fun. Very fair grader and extremely understanding person.
Awful. I truly hated susana's spanish class. It was a painful experience. susana is a dictator. She enjoys controlling the class and frustrating her students. Worst of all, she rarely obeyed the clock. She ended almost every session 15 minutes late. Eventually, i began walking out when class was supposed to end. I am sure that this affected my grade. In conclusion, Susana really turned me off to Spanish and I will never forgive her.
Susana Asensio's Spanish class was exceedingly frustrating and tedious. Although she took over for a Columbia professor mid-way through the semester, she jumped right in and quickly left the majority of her students confused and frustrated. She has little patience for those who can't understand her mile-a-minute speech, and never gives clear answers to questions regarding anything from assignments to the material in general. Though she appears friendly, she's often regarded as unapproachable and highly demanding, which seems to leave her wondering why no one raises their hand in class to ask questions after the first day. Frequently, her students are left to gather outside the classroom after class in order to gain a general understanding of what occurred in class that day and what the assignment was, which would some days be 9 workbook assignments or an entire Spanish novel. Beware!
This course starts out well, but its shortcomings become apparant in the 2nd half. In the beginning, the prof keeps everyone on their toes and seems very nice. If you have difficulty understanding something, he will try hard to explain it to you in office hours or after class. I've seen him accomodate students' scheduling needs as well. However, students will notice his downsides: he will assign far more homework than other professors teaching the same course and will leave you to finish essays and a final oral project (counting for 10% of the grade) with niether clear communication of his expectations nor enough time to prepare. Good luck studying for quizes, because he will not tell you on what you will be tested. You'll be on your own figuring out what will be on the Departmental midterm and final exams.
Great teacher. I hate taking Spanish, and he was perfect for my final semester with it. He's willing to explain things in English, which makes the classes more productive than those with professors who are rigid about only speaking Spanish. He always comes into class with a huge smile on his face, and really makes an effort to make the class fun. I highly recommend taking Spanish with Professor Vila
One of the popular favorites. Xavier is a warm and funny guy, who loves to teach. The workload is on the light side; slack off, though, and he gets pissed. Not hard to slip by, but there is plenty of opportunity to learn, and he loves to answer questions. Heavier than most on discussion, but because the class is fun it's more easygoing than with other teachers, which is good for us shy types who want to practice our verbal Spanish skills.
Vila is a muy cool guy, definitely recommeded for any type of student. If you know your stuff he'll challenge you (yet reward you with a good grade), if you don't he'll work with you and cut you lots of slack. He does rely a lot on conversation but if the words don't come to you then he understands. Vila is very approachable and even likable... you'll begin to look forward to his "Que Tal" as he enters class. The best in the Spanish department that I have found.
Enthusiastic and encouraging, she not only knows her stuff, she works to make it interesting. Leaves the cookie cutter at home and adjusts her methods to each class. Recommended.