course
Spanish 1201 - Comprehensive Beginner's Spanish

Jan 2019

I want to bring back the positive reviews! Contrary to the previous reviews, I found Prof. Romero to be extremely enthusiastic and thorough in this class. She had structured lectures, covered material at a quick pace (as is expected in a comprehensive class) but always answered all questions and was patient about reviewing grammatical terms. Her lectures had a good mix of interactive conversations/ activities and more formal explanations. The grading seemed very fair, although I find it absurd (in this department in general) that we must write our answers to the "Gramatica Basica" activities *in* the book itself, and this seems like a weirdly classist requirement. Aside from that, I really enjoyed her class and her teaching style. I definitely had an advantage in that I learned Spanish through immersion, so my speaking and listening are pretty strong especially compared to my reading/ writing. This made the fast pace of the class the perfect speed. I should definitely emphasize though that those who did the best in this class took it not to fulfill language requirements, but because they truly want to learn Spanish and improve their skills.

Jan 2015

Definitely take this class if you are somewhat familiar with Spanish and want to complete the language requirement quickly! It is a fun class and enjoyable class Angelina really cares about her students. Here are a couple things to note: 1. DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH IN CLASS. 2. Go above and beyond when writing your compositions. She will give you a rubric showing where you need to improve and will make corrections on your essays and will assign a letter grade for herself, but she will not give you a letter grade on your drafts. If you make all of the corrections, she will bump the grade she has in mind up a tad but not much, so it is just best to give it your all when writing the draft. 3. The class is mostly spent going over SAM and learning conversational Spanish. You are pretty much on your own for learning grammar.

Nov 2004

Good things about Professor Hernandez: 1. He speaks fluent Castillian Spanish. 2. He returns tests and papers on time. 3. He goes through the book at a regular pace. 4. He tells jokes during the first several weeks. 5. He is an easy grader. 6. If you stick with this class, you will eventually have a very small class size as more and more people drop out. We began with close to twenty students, and ended with about half that number. Bad things about Professor Hernandez: 1. He calls on the students with a better grasp of the material more often. I don't think he does this on purpose. Rather, he wants the class to move quickly, so he begins to favor those students who keep the class moving quickly. Unfortunately, this does not help the students who are struggling more with the material. Several of the slower students dropped out of our class as time went by. 2. He lacks creativity. For every class, Professor Hernandez merely went through the exercises in the book. Not once did he try to engage the students with something he created himself. 3. He does not give you much chance to speak in class. Ideally, language classes should involve a mixture of pairs and small group activities in addition to student-teacher exchange. Professor Hernandez, however, sticks with student-teacher activities alone. He used pair activities a handful of times and small group activities never. This means that during most of the class, you are waiting around for another student to say something. Perhaps a conversational Spanish class is better in this regard? 4. He assigns homework, but does not actually check to see if you got it right. Professor Hernandez checks to see if you did the homework, and then he gives you copies of the answers. You have a few seconds to ask him questions about the homework before he moves on. I suppose this works for some people, but I generally would like more feedback on where I could improve my Spanish. 5. Midway through the term, Professor Hernandez hands out "anonymous" evaluation forms, but then publicly berates those students who give him bad marks. To my mind, this defeats the purpose of anonymous evalutions. Neutral things about Professor Hernandez: 1. He picks a grade for you, and that's what you get on most tests. I did better and worse (sometimes much worse) on my tests, but always receieved the same grade, plus or minus two points. In my case, this was a "B", so I was really happy. I suppose it depends on what you are shooting for. 2. Professor Hernandez's personality works for some, and not for others. He can be abrasive, but I don't think he is as horrible as some people describe him to be. NYC certainly has people that are a lot worse. Overall: For me, taking a Spanish class is about learning Spanish, not about the teacher's personality. Given the mediocrity of Professor Hernandez's teaching abilities, and the poor teaching methods he employs, I would recommend taking another class or another language to avoid taking him. While I am sure that Columbia must have worse language instructors, I certainly hope it has better ones.