professor
Sam Bloom

Sep 2015

I honestly hated this class. The professor was disorganized and unhelpful. We spent basically 80% of the time talking about our day and never got to really learning any grammar. Honestly, I wouldn't have cared because he is a very relaxed and nice professor, but the quizzes/examinations were really hard! I don't think that I would have found them challenging, had I been taught the content in class. I basically had to teach myself - a big disappointment because I've had great experiences with the other french professors at Barnard!

Sep 2015

Professor Bloom is a great teacher. I had him for Intermediate I and then Compo&Convo. I'll review Compo&Convo since other people have covered Intermediate I. It's a very nice class. You have three 'units'. The first was reading a novel (Bonjour Tristesse) and then discussing it in class. It's sort of like a warm up unit. You talk all the time during class, and have discussions. It's very nice and comforting, and he is a very 'chill' professor, very sweet, very nice and doesn't intimidate you. It is a relaxing atmosphere to just talk. He assigns people to prepare stuff for each class, so like one person will sign up as the "presenter" and will talk about what they noticed and start the discussion. He uses the courseworks discussion board so that the people can post their observations & question about that day's reading. He prints out the discussion board the day of class, and he has the presenter talk and then read through the discussions. People will talk about what they wrote, or comment on other people's work. Then you have someone that does the vocab, and finds about 7 words that they didn't know/feel is important to know for the reading, and you send that list to him. He also prints the list out. The second unit is on current events, like France's problem with xenophobia, issues in "la banlieue", French schooling, the French version of "satire" and what is satire or what is not satire and crosses that line of offensive, things like that. The third unit was reading French thinkers, and their work that discusses New York. So like, Sartre, Baudrillard, Simon de Beauvoir, etc. There are two or three vocab quizzes, based on the vocab lists made by your peers. Very straight forward, and they have wordbanks and you fill in the correct form in the sentences provided. There are also 3 in class essays, that he provides the prompts for like a week in advance, and then you have a week to rewrite the essay for a higher grade after he hands back the corrections. Then there's two or three take-home essays, where you don't rewrite those and you hand them in. Every week there's a journal that you write of about less than 500 words about whatever you want. Literally. Just as long as you write something, it's good. He grades these with check marks. The more interesting the topic and the better your use of French, the higher the number of checks. I remember getting four checks once, on a journal I wrote about the relationship between étrange and étranger. I also once wrote an essay about my cats and got like three checks on that as well, so your topics can be silly or serious, as long as you edit them for misspellings and grammer and things of that nature. During the second unit when we discussed satire, he assigned a newspaper/journal/television program (1 'program' per 2 people, but you could both decide if you wanted to work alone or together. Alone you had a shorter presentation, together it would be slightly longer.). You would research the program and then give a little mini presentation. A lot of your grade is dependent upon your participation but don't worry! He uses your journals, the discussion posts and in class talking to determine that grade. The presentations also go toward participation grade. Overall, a fun class. It's very relaxed, and Professor Bloom is not trying to fail you. He is a nice grader, and he takes the revised grade of your essay instead of the original or a combination of the two, so you get a higher grade. Also the vocab quizzes are easy to do well on. Very hard not to get an A, or even an A+ in this class.

Apr 2015

I seriously don't understand why this man doesn't have a gold nugget! He is one of the most understanding and comforting teachers at Barnard and he really helps to make sure that every student in his class understands the material. He never assigns too much work that is overwhelming and will go out of his way to help students understand whatever is confusing them. He's a very generous grader and prepares you incredibly well for the tests. The homework is never collected, but you should do it anyways since you'll go over it in class and look a little silly if you don't know the answer. His classroom is very very relaxed and he immediately puts the class at ease.

Sep 2014

Sam Bloom was an amazing Intermediate I professor. He's quirky and has an all-around comforting presence. I never felt overwhelmed or stressed in his class but I always felt like I was learning. We always opened each class just by talking to each other about our weekends or something in french instead of just diving in. He's a pretty generous grader ( I think he once kinda apologized for giving me a B+ on a paper which I was totally deserving of). He prepares you well for his quizzes and midterms; there were never any surprises. It's all grammar based so no memorization of vocab. You go over all the homework together but none of it's ever picked up or graded. That's not to say you shouldn't do it though–if he calls on you to answer one of the hw questions he'll notice if you have it done or not which helps/hurts your participation. This review is kinda all over the place but I just want people to know how great Sam Bloom is. Fairly easy and super fun class.

May 2013

Professor Bloom is the best French professor I've had at Barnard. So caring, funny, and understanding. Quizzes, Midterm, and Final are extremely fair. Professor Bloom also emphasizes having a French class with a relaxed atmosphere - i.e. he will never call on you randomly to immediately conjugate a verb. This makes the class beyond enjoyable and students can learn at pace where they can understand the material without being stressed about immediate regurgitation! I feel that my French grammar skills have improved immensely because I was able to take the time to learn the material in environment without the anxiety-inducing strategies employed by most French professors I have encountered at Columbia. Take this class!