Vincent Aurora

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Sep 2017

I don't know many teachers who can make a subject like grammar actually become interesting and fun, but somehow Vincent managed to do it. He's incredibly funny, genuine and by far one of my favorite professors at Columbia. Class is usually conducted in a relaxed manner, with Vincent effectively covering all the material while spicing things up with quirky personal anecdotes and jokes. Vincent is a fair grader, and as long as you put in effort and work you'll do well in his class. I would highly recommend taking third year french language and composition with him if you have a chance!

Aug 2017

Vincent is hilarious, passionate about French, and very fair. Sometimes he gets very off topic, or spends too much time on one topic because he gets distracted, but more often than not the class is laughing. Class structure was sometimes tedious but he would make it fun with his jokes and antics. Make sure you pay close attention to/double check the syllabus. The syllabus structure is kind of confusing at times, but he often assigns things you need to have done to participate in class the next day. VERY FAIR about essays (you get to correct and get points back) and the oral presentations (I got ridiculously nervous for my solo presentation and kind of messed it all up, but still got a good grade) Tests were fair, not easy but not ridiculously hard - although he pays close attention to spelling/grammar mistakes. Always had several essay questions at the end. Class often included speaking activities which I hated/loved. TLDR; take his classes if you want a fun and fair French class with a smart teacher who loves the language, but be warned things get a little crazy sometimes which can be distracting.

May 2017

You either love or hate Vincent, and I hate Vincent. He does things that people seem to find endearing, e.g. eat chalk, set the carpet on fire, imitate Trump, tell stories about his strange friends, jump around screaming... I find them irrelevant and distracting. He appears to treat class as a means of entertaining himself and perhaps us, with teaching French as a secondary goal. More problematically, he spends most of class speaking English or, worse, translating French into English, which defeats the purpose of a language class. We were allowed to speak English or mispronounce words in French with few corrections. There was no listening component in the tests either. Consequently, my written French improved somewhat over the semester, but my oral ability deteriorated considerably. The presentations at the end of the semester were insufficient in addressing this and an afterthought at best. We covered 7 chapters of Sur le vif, meaning vocab at the start of the chapter and grammar at the back of the book. Otherwise, we barely touched the text. I did not find this to be substantially more than Elementary 2; too much time was spent on review. So, I don't know if I learnt all that much in this class. He does grade and return things quickly, however.

May 2016

This dude is crazy in the best possible way. He draws on desks. Throws chalk. Talks trash. Goes off on wild tangents. He'll occasionally jump in the air freeze-frame style like mid-90s Michael Jordan. But somehow in all this rifraf Aurora taught me how to use the subjunctive. And que/qui/dont. And passé simple. And plusqueparfait. And I also know how to say unicorn, for whatever that's worth. Basically, this dude is a boss French teacher. And hilarious. Take this class.

Jan 2015

Vincent was always very engaging and the material covered was interesting and also informative. The class was taught almost always in French, but occasionally he would use English to make a point.

Aug 2014

With Vincent. you are guaranteed at least 10 minutes of laughter in every class. He is by far one of the most insane, energetic, and entertaining people I have ever met. He bounces around the classroom, nibbles on chalk, throws things, and goes on tangents that are not always politically correct, making for a classroom experience that is never, ever boring. As for actually learning French, I found him to be a very effective instructor. While it's certainly important to learn French from native speakers at one point, it's also really helpful to have an instructor who was once in your shoes. Vincent really understands the challenges of learning French and is able to elucidate things that English speakers find to be particularly difficult. He's also crazily prompt about returning things quickly and with a lot of helpful feedback. If you have the option of taking a class with Vincent, do it. It will be the most enjoyable class you take that semester, if not ever.

Apr 2014

I've never written a review before on CULPA but I feel so strongly to do this because Vincent is literally the best professor I've had at Columbia. Everyone should take his class if given the chance. I'm going to skip about writing on his amazing personality and positive energy since the reviews below have all talked extensively about these topics. He is not only a great and fun person, but a GREAT PROFESSOR. He teaches the grammar concepts very clearly and he has summarized rules for grammars that are usually ten times better than how the book presents it. Go to his lectures and learn from him!!!! French grammar is difficult but he really makes it as fun as it could be. His tests are not difficult and they really test how much you know the concepts/have studied. He's a pretty lenient grader, and you can tell he really wants you to learn instead of take off tons of points on tests for stupid little details. TAKE HIS CLASS!!!! You won't regret it.

Jan 2013

I would like this to be the review that gets Vincent his well-deserved gold nugget. The fact that he does not yet have one is the cruelest crime against humanity as far as I’m concerned. If I had to list the greatest crimes against humanity, it would go Vincent's lack of a gold nugget on Culpa, genocide, Fox news. Vincent is quirky. Zooey Deschanel quirky, and just as lovable, perhaps more so. I’d never before seen a man put chalk in his mouth. Vincent smokes like a Frenchman (don’t let him fool you, he’s from New Jersey), and I’m fairly certain that he’s so desperate for a cigarette during class he rolls the chalk between his lips and pretends. That is, until, spontaneously, Vincent is struck with the need to scrawl someone’s name on the wall. The wall. I’m certain if you look carefully in Hamilton 302, you’ll see lots of white chalk on the white walls. Jake. Jake. JAKE! Jake. Then there’s the pacing. Vincent is like a preacher on ecstasy. He walks up and down and around the classroom constantly, flailing his arms around. So when I say you won't fall asleep, you can believe me. Vincent is screwed up, and he loves this about himself. You will too. For instance, when we would practice verb tenses in class, he would write lengthy pieces himself for us to play around with. In class we would read aloud and change all the verb tenses of a piece describing how a sexual experience came about from some Greco-Roman wrestling between two men. This is both funny and super helpful. Though many might like to have five minutes to think about how to change a certain verb into a certain tense, obviously you have to be able to do that at the drop of a dime. Vincent insists on it with exercises like this. Vincent loves synonyms, and your vocabulary will improve immensely because of this. He also goes over vocab in class, which really helps you to remember it. I swear, I remember “accrocher” because I can picture Vincent hanging a jacket on the door; I remember “au fond de” because I can see Vincent scavenging for something at the bottom of his backpack. By the end of this class you’ll have an enormously improved vocabulary, and you’ll especially know lots of synonyms for words like “to take” and “to smash.” Your writing will become more descriptive and more interesting because, all of a sudden, you know the word for hemorrhoid, for sledgehammer, for sparkle! The words you used to avoid are suddenly at your fingertips. The part you probably care about now: grading. Vincent grades quickly and effectively. Every mistake is underlined and explained. And you can always turn in a revision for a re-grade of an A if you correct everything. Vincent is a boss, a pimp, a Frenchman. I'd like to offer some final, short anecdotes to convince you of this. When I pestered him to quit smoking, he started to offer me cigarettes. He once emailed the entire class because he wanted to add new music to his iPod and he wanted suggestions. He taught us how to pirate music from youtube in class. In fact, Vincent is a big fan of youtube videos in class. “What?! You haven’t seen this?” Immediately it becomes necessary to watch some video. I will close this with a request. Please do NOT take Vincent’s class, because if you do and I have a crappy registration period, I might not get into the class. So piss off.

Jan 2013

Having recently finished undergrad, this is the second, and last review I will write about a professor at Columbia. I am thrilled to say that this will be in stark contrast to my first review, which was more of a scathing critique, really. Vincent Aurora is the single best professor I have had the fantastic fortune of encountering at this school. I was not looking forward to an accelerated french class, 4 times a week for 2 hours every day. Needless to say, I was only taking it in order to fulfill a requirement. What I discovered in that classroom was, however, what most students dream of finding at college. He was the single most enthusiastic, energetic, hilarious, witty, thought provoking and absolutely engaging professor I have ever had. There simply aren't any negative things I could say about him or the class. Be prepared to work a little more than you expect to, try to be moderately prepared for class, but other than that, you're gold. A colour I am shocked he has yet to be designated. If you get a chance, I implore you, no, I *beseech* you, to take a class with this man. I don't believe that there is someone else out there who could teach a language with as much natural fluidity than this person. He is genuine and reasonable and his anecdotes keep you as focused as you'd be if you were having a bit of a chat with your friend. I learned more french than I ever thought was possible, because frankly speaking, I am the farthest thing from a language person. What struck me the most about him was that he seriously cared about teaching his students things. French, obviously, but all sorts of other things, general knowledge things, Europe things, pop music things, political scandal things, history things, really just everything. And I don't know what this rubbish is about his sense of humour being sharp edged. He has the exact sense of humour I look for in my friends - he is downright hilarious. Take my word for it, his class is just something you need to try before leaving this school. Sit in on a lecture or two and you'll see what I mean.

Dec 2012

One of the best professors in the college. Really. He's hilarious, for one, so you'll never look at the clock in class. (But also maybe not for the uptight, easily offended, super PC students I know lurk around here. His sense of humor can be umm graphic and ummm violent.) I found myself so inspired by the class that I would print out vocab we went over in class that we didn't have to learn for quizzes/tests/whathaveyou and learning it on my own time when I should've been reading for lit hum. Vincent is inspiring and funny and someone I would want to go drinking with one day when I'm 21 and can finally drink. This sounds very ramble-y because frankly I'm just in awe of Vincent. Oh but he's from New Jersey. Ick.

Jan 2012

Vincent is hilarious. He always tried to spark the interest of every person in the room, and he knows so much about modern French culture. The best part is that since he is American, he understands the difficulty Americans have in learning French, unlike other French professors that are French. I learned more French in this class than I did in 2 years of French with other teachers. Also he actually taught us about current politics and events in France, unlike other professors who usually just go off the culturelle section in the textbook, which is usually outdated/irrelevant.

May 2011

I've realized that class taught by Vincent can feel like nothing, especially after reading the last review. So, if you are: 1. a person who doesn't believe in having fun when you're in class, and feels class time should be solely devoted to learning words that you think are "useful", 2. a person who can't take jokes and gets easily offended, or, 3. a person who thinks you're always right and others are always wrong. I suggest you get a Rosetta Stone and a good English-French dictionary. You can save so much money and learn French! Vincent talks a lot about his own experience in France. Most of them are funny, and I'm guessing most of his students took it as a cultural experience. If you don't, see number 1 from above. Also, he makes fun of his students. They're usually quite silly. But it's not like he's going to attack you viciously, making fun of your appearance or stuff like that. He's extremely witty; his comebacks are hilarious and smart. But again, if you find silly jokes offensive, see number 2. Lastly, like us, Vincent has his own opinions, and he's open to voice his own. Some can be strong. So if you're a zealot and think you can lead Vincent to martyrdom, please reconsider and check back at number 3. However, the vast majority of the students will find this class extremely enjoyable. Let's face it. Without having some fun, the 2 hour meeting for 4 days a week can be torturous. While having fun, Vincent is so effective that we still go through all the materials that we were supposed to cover for a given day. Also, he's a lenient grader, and his due dates for essays and exercises are flexible. Because he's American, he knows what's hard for us. So his explanations are very clear. Although learning French is the primary goal of this class, I think it's important to get rid of the fear of speaking French; and Vincent does an excellent job of that. I really wish I had him earlier so I could've majored in French. So, if you do have a chance to take his class, DO SO. It will give you eternal happiness, unless you fall into one of the three categories; then you should go get the Rosetta Stone ASAP.

Apr 2011

I usually don't write culpa reviews but I was inspired the recent negative one of professor Aurora. Although there were aspects of 3406 that I didn't like, I understood their purpose. Writing creative pieces that require you to learn vocab like "se herisser" or "avec fracas" can be frustrating and seem pointless when you are doing it, especially if you really just want to focus on your analytical writing, but Aurora knows what he is doing. I am a much better writer and reader--in all respects--because of his insistence on things like obscure vocabulary. As to his cruelty, he can be a bit biting at times, but I wouldn't say that he was ever cruel. In fact, as a teacher I found him to be refreshingly considerate. He graded everything promptly, returning it to the students by the next class and his policy that everything can be edited and rewritten until it is an A is immensely generous. Yes, this means pretty much everyone gets an A but it was also one of the single most successful ways of teaching writing--no matter what language--that I have ever encountered since it forces you to actually read all those corrections teachers make and finally look up whether a certain word is masculine or feminine or if a certain construction takes the subjunctive or not. This teaching method alone--which added enormous amounts of extra work for him--convinced me that not only is he a great teacher, but he is someone who cares about his students both academically and personally. I agree that he is a bit of a gossip but he never said anything worse about his peers than I've heard students say about their professors or their peers. And I actually took most of the comments he made about the other professors as an informal guide on "who's class not to take."

Feb 2011

No doubt that Mr. Aurora is a charismatic man who knows how to inspire his students to learn French and to make them feel what seems like their French improved. I didn't feel I learned a whole lot. I felt that during that class Mr. Aurora taught us things, vocabulary especially, that are necessary for someone to write novels rather than to use in real life. Why on earth do people in their third year of French, who can't even speak it properly who still are in a dire need of mastering intermediate grammar models, need to know words like "se hérisser" - to bristle, or "avec fracas" - very loudly, with a lot of noise. Seems totally useless to me. As if Mr Aurora is more interested to teach what interests him, not what the students need. It seemed like he only wanted to show off and demonstrate what he knows to us rather than to make sure that we retained the information. I'm tired of all the raves on this site about him, because everyone loves to be entertained, but if they looked at what they learned in class, I don't think there would be much. He can also be pretty cruel in his remarks, and he does says horrible things behind other professors' and students' backs and he boasts that he knows human psychology well and knows how to use it to manipulate people. It's like the guy has no conscience, and if you do get on the wrong side of him, he will make your life hell and will enjoy it. I got an A in his class and am writing this not because I'm bitter, but because of what I saw in class and it was quite disturbing. I don't like him at all and I wouldn't recommend this class or any class with this lecturer. The easy grading also seems to be a result of not wanting to get too involved in the whole teaching thing.

Jan 2011

Holy sh*t. Holy effing sh*t. That is all I can say about this man. Vincent was a ridiculous professor. Ridiculously awesome, but also ridiculous, and that's why he's so amazing. Vincent fills his classroom with an energy unseen by most mortals-- physics major and non-physics major alike. Although I had qualms about taking his course because I'd discovered that he wasn't a native French speaker, such a concern was completely unfounded. This man's French is unbelievable--he freaking writes the Encyclopedia Britannica article on contemporary French literature every year. And your French will soar with him. He appreciates creativity and loony-- in his courses you should feel free to say and write what you want so long as it is eloquent and accurate French. He once interrupted himself mid-sentence, pointed at me, and asked me to translate "When I was young, I used to write erotic poetry on a clown's back with my grandfather." Need I say more?

Jan 2011

Probably the most energetic professor I have ever had, but probably because he's totally cracked out on caffeine. He's awesome. Engages with any and every comment -- no matter what. Some may say he's opinionated or controversial -- but don't blame him. The topics are super controversial and the man has a view. It's all in the spirit of the fast-paced French exchange. Just build up your hidden French monde exterieur and you'll be fine. Also, please make an effort to speak French -- nobody will laugh at you. Unless of course you start speaking in Spanish like one of our classmates did.

Dec 2010

Vincent's a really great teacher Though sometimes he seems like a preacher His views are quite strong Discussions were long The leaping and chalk-eating creature! Vincent eats coffee and chalk He gets all his students to talk french is a blast you learn really fast the back and forth really does rock. Vincent might be from Hoboken but his french is in no way broken french culture we learned and each day we yearned to wind up in Paris, all smokin'

Dec 2009

Vincent is the best French instructor I've ever had, and really one of my favorite professors at Columbia. Like most, I took this class to fulfill the language requirement and expected it to be at worst a huge pain in the ass and at best tolerable. To my surprise I found myself actually looking forward to this class every day it met. This was entirely due to Vincent's skill as a teacher. He's incredibly energetic and funny, and truly seemed to care about our progress as students. I left this class feeling like I had a solid working command of French for the first time ever. I'm amazed by how much I learned. Also, I agree with the last review that Vincent needs a nugget upgrade.

Nov 2009

Let's get this man some gold here. How many rave reviews does a professor need to get that oh-so-highly-sought nugget? In Vincent's class, students were encouraged to practice their French, to enter into dialogue with one another, and to engage with French culture. As someone who studied abroad in France after taking Vincent's class, I can say I heard the discussions I had in his class repeated around Parisian dinner tables. He is a diligent professor and gives careful and considered comments to student work. I'm really just repeating the positive things that have already been said, but they are all true. In all, a very classy professor, mentor, and a gentleman.

Sep 2009

Vincent is outstanding. He is passionate about what he does and is eager to generously share that passion with his students. He is determined to give students the tools necessary to be able to read older, classical works of French literature AS WELL AS to be able to carry on intelligent, fluid conversation in modern, slang-filled French. Vincent is a vivacious, wonderfully energetic professor whose solid, information-packed lessons are always littered with useful peeks into French culture, as well as hilarious anecdotes about his experiences in and out of France. It's impossible to leave the classroom in a bad mood after an entertaining (yet challenging and intellectually provocative) class with Professor Aurora. No matter how your French compares to that of other students in the class, Vincent will instill in you the confidence and the working knowledge to go out and speak intelligently, assuredly, and with ease! If you are lucky enough to get the chance, absolutely take a class with Prof. Aurora. Your life and your French will be better for it.

Aug 2009

Vincent was absolutely incredible. He is by far the best language teacher I have ever encountered, and I've studied several languages. If you can, definitely sign up for his section!!! For the first few weeks, we were all convinced that he was actually French, but it turns out he's just completely brilliant and mastered the language through his studies. Your vocabulary will expand enormously, since he doesn't hesitate to teach you useful slang, etc., and he will help you not only memorize but also learn the logic behind tricky grammatical points. He's also extremely energetic and is always bouncing around the room or running up to write something on the board. He is completely charming, and you will look forward to coming to class - even on Friday.

Dec 2008

I was a senior taking this class for the requirement. Vincent made it unbelievably enjoyable. He always keeps you engaged cause he's hilarious and may just be the energizer bunny he jumps around so much. Pretty light workload as language classes go. Highly recommended

Mar 2007

Vincent Aurora is a brilliant, funny, odd, odd man. You will come to love watching him jolt all about the room, coffee in hand and chalk clutched like a cigarette, throwing words up on his chalkboard like a mad NFL coach. You will also love having your papers back with every error underlined and explained; this man does not miss a thing, and he will make sure that by the time you have completed his course, you will, well, you will miss things, but you will know why that is going to happen. Vincent does get a reputation as an easy grader, but facts are, he just makes you work your ass off for your inflation, and you will enjoy it. Furthermore, unlike the rest of the language instruction establishment, Vincent will let you go out on a limb and take risks with French, without punishing you for making the effort. If you study with him, make sure to experiment —you will get far more out of the course that way, as he will be willing to explain esoteric grammatical structures, jargon, and colloqualisms. If you love French as a language, per se, or any language for itself, you owe it to yourself at least to sit in on Vincent's classes.

Aug 2006

I had a great time in this conversation class. Vincent structures the class well with a mix of readings and discussions, specific pronounciation work with poems, vocab quizes and writing assignments, yet still allows for a good amount of student input regarding which readings you do and what you talk about, which made all the difference in the world as far as making this an engaging class. As others have already written, he is very funny and enthusiastic and a little bit crazy - a lot of fun in a conversation class. He's far and away better than most of the adjuncts or French students here for a year who usually teach these classes. I learned a lot and for the first time felt truly engaged in a French class. Take this class or whatever class you can with Vincent, he's phenomenal.

Aug 2006

Vincent is probably the most amazing professor I've had thus far at Columbia. Not only that, but the course material was interesting. Vincent's constant excitement and energy truly got me excited about doing the reading and even writing the papers. Do anything you can to take a class with this man. You will not regret it. And, if it can be 3334 that's even better.

Aug 2006

One word: excellent. It doesn't matter what class you take with him, just take his class. I took French Lit Since 1800. It was by far one of the best courses I have ever taken, and I can honestly say it's solely because Vincent was the instructor. I took this course in the summer, which was difficult because it's 3 hours, twice a week, but I was NOT ONCE bored during class, and even after a long day of work, was psyched to go-- Now I analyze french litterature better, I speak better french, and I came out of the class regretting only that it was over. Just take Vincent's class, you wont regret it!

Jun 2006

Yet another glowing review of Vincent. He's a bit odd, but he's been one of my favorite teachers at Columbia. He cuts his own hair and he writes on the walls with chalk without warning or explanation. He's funny, he teaches very well, and he gives great notes on writing assignments. I know I plan to take as many of his classes as I can.

Jan 2006

This class was great for anyone who is a true francophile and wants to understand how French people are taught to view and rationalize their experiences. You will also end up deconstructing your own habits as an American. By the end of the class you will be able to understand why Americans think French people are rude, why the French think Americans mannerless and how both are wrong. The discussions were some of the most active I've had at Columbia, and the teacher was grand.

Nov 2005

One morning, he came sailing into class in an absolutely amazing mood, and informed us that it was because he'd spent the night sleeping on his office floor (this, to him, was an awesome experience reminiscent of his college days). I think that's a good way to characterize Vincent -- he's completely nuts, but an AMAZING professor. Take any class with him! He expects a lot of work from you, but he's very fair in his grading. He is also unbelievably prompt at returning your work, with very thorough corrections and comments! Trust me, this is a rarity at Columbia ... or anywhere, for that matter. He makes classes interesting, he's engaging, he makes you talk in class (yes, in French). His French is also impeccable, which is very helpful. One caveat -- it's impossible to take good notes in these classes, because he goes very fast and when he does write on the board, it's scattered all over the place and not too easy to read. I am typically an extensive note-taker, so this drove me nuts at first, until i realized that I was remembering most of the information anyway.

Sep 2005

Vincent Aurora is an excellent instructor. He made good book choices and was able to make all the reading really interesting since he is incredibly enthusiastic when he teaches. The grading is extremely fair, at least for the summer session. He will give A's to papers even if they have a lot of mistakes. At the same time, he makes extensive corrections so that your writing can improve. Overall, a great summer class that I highly recommend taking if you're interested in French.

Dec 2004

Eventhough he's already gotten some 20 or so rave reviews on CULPA, I had to share my love for this man!! As a pre-med, I had a pretty dreary course load first semester of sophomore year, and I thank my lucky stars that I had at least this class to grant me a much need break. Without fail, going to French would cheer me up and put me in a good mood for the rest of the day because Vincent is hilarious, incredibly kind, and amazingly intelligent. The thought of not having French with Aurora next semester makes me want to cry. If you're lucky enough to get in his class, be thankful, be very thankful. And, a side note, some of these reviews mentioned Vincent's inappropriateness. Um, I have no idea what they're talking about. He's zany and off the wall and makes a huge mess with his chalk, but he's an incredible teacher. He loves what he does and he makes that clear everytime you walk into his classroom.

Aug 2004

Of all the animated and enthusastic French professors in the world, Vincent Aurora is the jewel. You simply can't go wrong with him- even if you find particular authors dull or dimwitted, I am sure Vincent will make them spectacularly entertaining. Really- he is a great professor, highly recommended. If you ever have a problem getting something in on time (as I did), he is usually extremely understanding and compassionate. Be sure to participate though, as he will appreciate it. As far as the course is concerned- I could not have been happier with a summer class. I took a total of nine credits this summer, and the French Lit class was definately the most fun. The readings are not too lengthy, as one might expect (especially finding some space for Proust). I would be very disappointed if this class were not available. If you have the chance, register for this one!!

Aug 2004

Vincent Aurora is definitely the best professor around--TAKE ANY CLASS HE'S TEACHING! Only Vincent can make an hour and a quarter of grammar fly by. Students laugh their way through his classes because he has the awesome ability to make just about anything both interesting and amusing. As many times as this has been said before, I must say it again: Vincent truly cares about his students. He wants kids to do well and have fun in the process. He is also very understanding when you need an extension on an assignment. I strongly recommend Vincent to ANYONE. Even on cold winter days when I was too sick to get out of bed, I made an exception and got up to go to his class...I would never do that for any other professor's class!

Aug 2004

Vincent Aurora is an excellent teacher. He is genuinely excited by the subject, and he is good at analysing it. He engages students with humour, wit, and diplomacy. He is very high-energy--you are never bored in his class!

May 2004

All the other reviews already said it, but I had to chime in with them - Vinny is such a gem. The class is a bitch class, and I would never have taken it with anyone else - heck, he's not teaching II next semester, so there's no way I'll be taking it. There's SO much work involved - busywork from that Grevisse book, and writing assignments every week, if not practically every class (or so it seemed at times). But he works so hard preparing for class and grading and correcting all our stuff, it makes you not mind working just as hard for him. As corny as this sounds, he cares about his students. And he's got the skills too - you learn so much in his class. He's one of the best TEACHERS I've ever had. The first time I took class with him I was a first semester freshman who enjoyed myself, but didn't have any background for comparison him. As a rising senior with six semesters of various professors behind me, I can now fully appreciate just how rare this kind of pedagogical talent is in Columbia. Heck, it's probably rare anywhere.

May 2004

Aurora offers a burst of other-culturely charm. This class, you should also know, has a lot of work. On the first day, Dr. Aurora called us all masochists for enrolling. At first, it is manageable, even (I'm a nerd) enjoyable as you start to feel your French improving; but as your other teachers, too, start assigning papers and tests, you might start to resent 3405. Yet never the teacher. If you are only able to half-ass some of the assignments and feel that you are retaining less, you can still pick up a lot of knowledge in class--all of his lessons are amazing and informative. You will hardly ever look at the clock because Aurora is the best teacher ever, combining the right amount of humor and pressure to get you engaged and working. His excitement and perfect teaching style made my resentment towards the heavy workload disappear (Because there is nothing worse than an apathetic, unapproachable teacher who assigns too much homework ,seemingly on a whim). Aurora reads and grades every assignment right away, and offers copious amounts of comments on each. He's right there with the students at every step.

Apr 2004

Vincent Aurora is a phenom. It almost feels redundant to lay more praise on the man when every other reviewer has done it, but, I really feel I must. I would declare, without hesitation, that he is the best professor on campus. He adores his job, is always prepared (almost to the point of anal retention), is the most approachable and responsive professor I've ever had a class with, and had the entire class pissing themselves with laughter biweekly. He's not just hugely entertaining and enthusiastic, though. Vincent is clearly an expert in his field (and wants to inspire such scholarship in his students) AND nearly every class he would drop a new bomb of brilliance on the class (throwing in tidbits of his intimate knowledge of at least four languages other than french and english AND he would throw in a latin lesson every once in a while just for kicks). TAKE ANYTHING HE'S TEACHING.

Apr 2004

Vincent Aurora is one of the best professors in the French department. He is passionate about teaching and makes even a grammar and composition class amusing. You will never want to miss a class because he is so entertaining. He was also very organized and made an huge effort to make us all understand the subtleties of French grammar. If you want to perfect your French writing skills and also get to know one of the smartest and most interesting professors in the French department, then take this class. Take any class you can with Vincent--true teaching ability can be difficult to find at Columbia.

Jan 2004

The best french teacher I have ever had. Endlessly amusing, he kept the class's attention at all times. He was also very open to suggestions about improving the course. He taught grammar concepts well. I always felt comfortable raising my hand because he helped you out while you were trying to speak in french rather than being annoyed at your terrible grammar/accent. He's a real francophile and will turn you into one too. He also was a very fair grader.

Nov 2003

He is a good teacher, I'll agree with that, but he acted like a crazy kid and he was definitely offensive. He explains things well and is an easy grader, but there's no way I would recommend him. I've got a sense of humor and can take a good joke, but Vincent goes way overboard with his rude remarks and boorishness. He can make you feel really small. It made me not want to go to class, to be honest.

Sep 2003

Vincent Aurora is the best professor I have had at Columbia in any subject. All these reviews say what I am saying, but here it is again: you will not find a better teacher anywhere. Funny, intelligent, dramatic, insightful, Vincent Aurora is a fabulous teacher. Don't worry about the grade you will get-- it will all work out ok in his class. The only problem is that everybody knows he's the best...consequently, his classes fill up immediately. Get in as soon as possible and rearrange your schedule for him if necessary.

May 2003

Vincent Aurora ROCKS. I'd take Organic Chemistry if he was teaching it. Not that this class was a joke, but it certainly was the easiest and most enjoyable A I've received in my experience at Columbia. And the other reviews ring true... I learned more and improved my French faster in this one semester with Vincent than in all four years of high school and my college French experience. Vincent is extremely patient and approachable (he'll answer any question and always wants to make sure that everyone's up to pace with what he's talking about). He's also wildly entertaining and really gets the class involved; I'm a shy person at heart, but by the end of the course I was poking fun at my classmates and defending my views with a fluency that I hadn't thought was possible. I only wish I'd discovered him earlier; I would definitely take another course with him if I had the opportunity.

May 2003

Vincent is brilliant!!! He's absolutely hysterical. This class was very entertaining. He's soooo nice and he really wants you to learn. Also very generous in the grading.

Apr 2003

To begin with all the reviews are accurate (including the one saying he is offensive). If you are considering his class here are a few pointers: attend class, do the homeowork, and stay on his good side which is easy to do. If you manage to do all this then the class will be cake, and you will learn. If you manage to fuck this up (coming from experience) the class will backfire on you, and your once seemingly easy class will turn into your worst nightmare making you dread every 4 days that you meet. I must admit he was my favorite teacher in the beginning, and even at the end will still recommend him to people (but remind them never to accidently name drop me cuz that would result in a failure by association). So good luck he is very nice, and respects a person with a sense of humor (but make sure not to laugh too hard).

Feb 2003

In case you didn't pick it up in the other reviews, vincent's a pimp....end of story. He's insanely energetic everyday and I'm not sure I couldve sat through 50 minutes of French everyday had he not been so genuinely interested/interesting. Vincent encourages lots of discussion about certain topics you didnt think you could really handle in french (i.e. anything from current events to sex and alcohol). If you get into his class, do it. Forgot to mention that I learned more French in one semester than I probably had in 3 years of high school french

Dec 2002

its about the easiest A i've had at columbia but an easy grader does not equal a good professor. class topics can at times be distasteful and in all honesty, I didn't learn a whole lot.

May 2002

With regards to the previous review of Vincent Aurora. As an ex-student of his, just let me say that if you'd like to take his section, please go in *prepared* to laugh good-naturedly at others and at yourself. Don't sit there and roll your eyes in self-righteous offence. There isn't anything malicious about the man at all. Vincent has such a great sense of humour; the very least he deserves is a student who possesses one too.

May 2002

Vincent was by far my worst professor at Columbia, not because of his knowledge of french, or his assignments... but because he was about the most offensive person that I have met in quite some time. He made fun of students when they weren't present, cracked jokes that were politically and socially incorrect, told gross stories about his sexual experience, and went into graphic detail. He acts like a student, a class clown, and spends the majority of class acting like he is on stage or something.... of 4 semesters in French, it was a pity to end on such a sour note. VINCENT AURORA SUCKS!!!!

Jan 2002

Vincent was by far the best teacher I've had in a long long time. He's extremely funny, very lively, a great teacher, and a good guy. Even if you have narcolepsy you won't be able to fall asleep. Take his class if you want to have a great semester in French.

Dec 2001

All the previous reviews have raved about Vincent, and this will be no different. I had a pretty solid lot of classes this semester, but Vincent was easily the best of a decent bunch of professors. I'll miss him next semester. Besides being a great guy, he can TEACH -- I hadn't taken a French class in the 3 years preceding this class, and by the end of the semester he'd whipped my written and spoken French into shape, instilled a love for the language, and made me seriously contemplate being at least a French minor, if not major. These 4 months did more than 4 years of high school (7-10th grade) French classes did. Classes are highly entertaining; I don't believe I skipped a single one at all; Vincent performs for his students -- but it's all secondary to making French grammar interesting and teaching things like the subjunctive tense extremely well. And as if all this isn't enough. did I mention that he's an easy grader?? A classmate said that it was the exact opposite of L&R in that your essays would come back with red marks all over them pointing out the errors in your sentence construction and then end by giving you an A. I easily spent at least 3 hours on every essay assigned, and he rewards the effort put into it. oh, if anyone's interested, he also speaks Italian and Latin fluently. Wish I could do that. If the French department ever promotes him and he starts teaching higher-level classes, count me in.

Dec 2001

Absolutely the best French teacher out there. He is as entertaining as they come, as well. If you are just doing French to get rid of your language requirement, Vincent is nice and he'll make you enjoy yourself. If you're taking the course to major in something related, he's a great resource to learn what the French actually say, rather than the 1950's type dialogue in text books. If you can, take this course.

Dec 2001

Vincent it definitely cool - after having suffered through the language requirement, I questioned my sanity when I decided to subject myself (voluntarily, no less) to yet another french course. However, Vincent makes the class truly fun - he's animated, funny, and really seems to care about how much his students are enjoying themselves. He really throws himself into his teaching, and is extremely animated - he looks and sounds like a french speaking Hank Azaria. Perhaps the only criticism I have for his section is that the workload is by no means light - well, for a french class that is, which isn't saying much i guess - with vocab quizes, midterm, presentations, short papers and journal entries. However, grading is fair and easy, and some of the work feels like a mere formality. Even if you do more work than other sections, it won't come close to your workload in other classes, and it's worth it to be taught by Vincent. I highly recommend this course.

Nov 2001

Good, enthusiastic teacher. Pretty generous grader on papers and quizzes. The weekly quizzes are slightly annoying but really pretty easy. Department-wide mid-term and final are both very simple for anyone w/ a reasonable understanding of grammar. In all, it's a good class to take to fulfill the language requirement.

Sep 2001

Vincent is very, very cool. He'll give you some insight into French slang and terms people really use in France (or probably more likely Paris). Its true, he's very animate--a lot of fun! One draw back, if you are trying develop speaking skills, this is not the class for you-Vincent speaks franglish which can be a bit jarring. If you are in it for the requirement, go for it. You'll love Vincent regardless... he cares about his students and the class.

Jan 2000

Vincent is an awesome professor. He is not a hard grader. He is exciting and also very passionate about the subject that he teaches. He is upbeat and very refreshing specially if it is a morning class. It is not possible to fall a sleep in his class. If you get Vincent for intermediate french be prepared to witness a theatrical performance every day and also to learn and enjoy french.