professor
Jose Antoni Castellanos-Pazos

May 2017

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.

Nov 2014

I really don't understand why Jose Antonio doesn't have a silver nugget... the amount of effort he puts into his lectures, his willingness to slow down and answer questions for anyone who asks, and his ability to make two hours go by quickly warrant him a silver a nugget. I took this class a year ago and I am just writing this review in hopes of boosting him. That being said, the class is not easy. You basically learn an entire language in one semester which gets harder and harder as the semester moves on. I think there is a bit of a bump right after the midterm where it feels like you haven't learned anything because you're being taught too much and then it gets a little easier again as the semester ends. I would not recommend this class if you are not gifted in learning languages and lack the ability to process them without translating back and forth in English in your head... you need a certain level of aptitude to keep up with the speed of the class otherwise you will find yourself writing a Culpa review full of complaints about the workload. If you are truly good at romance languages (this does not mean that you must be fluent in hundreds, just that you know the patterns) then this class is not bad at all. I think I could have probably put a little more effort into learning the vocabulary and fully understanding the homework exercises, which might have led to less studying before quizzes and exams, but I still expect to do fine in the class (A-) and I RARELY put more than 3 hours a week for this class. Overall I really enjoyed the class. Yes, Jose docks points for absences, lateness and participation, but then again these are EASY points to gain so why not just make the effort to get them? It's the same concept as writing discussion posts for participation. Jose Antonio is great about responding quickly to emails, being available during office hours, and returning assignments on time. He really does care about his students and class is actually kind of fun.

Dec 2013

I agree with all of the previous reviews that stress that with a large workload comes a lot of learning. I definitely learned a ton this semester, and I don't think I would have in a less intense class. One additional comment, though: do NOT take this class if you don't have a good background in Spanish. There were a few kids in my class for whom it was painfully obvious that they did not know enough Spanish coming in (only having taken 0-3 semesters of Spanish, with no in-country experience), and I don't think this class ended up well for them. I know one ended up dropping half-way through the semester (after the drop deadline) and a couple others stuck it out, but I don't think their grades are so good. So, really don't put yourself through this if you don't have the background in Spanish to make it work. Personally, while I've never spent an extensive amount of time in a Spanish-speaking country, I'd taken a few years of Spanish and even I felt myself behind the curve sometimes compared to all of the native speakers in the class. If you've taken Span 3300 or above, though, you should be fine. Oh, also, Jose is a super nice guy if you get to know him. He can seem a bit militant in class at times, but I honestly really enjoyed getting to know him. I'd also recommend going to do the Portuguese bate-popo (conversation) every Friday at Casa Hispanica while you're taking this class...it helps a lot.

Dec 2012

Jose is really nice, and is a really good professor. He's helpful in office hours and outside of class, and plans out his classes so that you get a good mixture of listening and speaking practice. That being said, the comments about him being a harsh grader are pretty accurate. If you're willing to do the work, which I was, it still doesn't mean you'll get a good grade in this class, it's very different from other language classes. Also, I'm not a native Spanish speaker, and that definitely forced me to put in an extra hour or two a week just to keep up. I can understand Portuguese now, but I'm not sure I learned as much Portuguese as the work I put into the class merited. Make sure you are willing to put a LOT of work into this class, and make sure you're genuinely interested in both Portuguese as a language and Brazilian culture, otherwise the two hours of class twice a week will get pretty boring pretty fast. It's fast-paced enough that being interested in the content matters.

Oct 2011

If you're genuinely interested in becoming fluent in Portuguese, ignore everything else that has been said. Jose Antonio is an excellent teacher and has a great understanding of Portuguese grammar and of Brazilian culture. It's true that he's a stickler for rules and will dock your grade for things like being late, and your GPA will suffer if you don't do the work or study. However, if something serious comes up or if you're overwhelmed with the workload, he will understand and will work something out with you. He also applies this strict attitude to his own work, so he will never lose your work, he will never show up without having everything planned to the smallest detail, basically, he will never waste your time. He really works hard to make the classes interesting and fun. The time goes by so fast that you don't realize you've been in class for two hours. He loves to teach and genuinely wants his students to learn, so if you ever need any help, he will be happy to give it. Even the workbook used in class, which was written by him, is extremely helpful (I still use it regularly). Outside of the classroom he is funny and extremely interesting (ask him to tell you his life story--there's a bed-in-breakfast in there somewhere). I have taken two classes with him and have loved them both (granted, he might have been extra nice to me because I worked pretty hard). I'm currently studying in Brazil and have gotten sooooo many compliments on my Portuguese, thanks to his classes. If you want to learn Portuguese and are willing to do the work, take this class. If you aren't willing to commit to either of those, it is very likely that you will not enjoy this class. Either way, YOU WILL LEARN PORTUGUESE, which is the point of the class.

Oct 2011

If you're genuinely interested in becoming fluent in Portuguese, ignore everything else that has been said. Jose Antonio is an excellent teacher and has a great understanding of Portuguese grammar and of Brazilian culture. It's true that he's a stickler for rules and will dock your grade for things like being late, and your GPA will suffer if you don't do the work or study. However, if something serious comes up or if you're overwhelmed with the workload, he will understand and will work something out with you. He also applies this strict attitude to his own work, so he will never lose your work, he will never show up without having everything planned to the smallest detail, basically, he will never waste your time. He really works hard to make the classes interesting and fun. The time goes by so fast that you don't realize you've been in class for two hours. He loves to teach and genuinely wants his students to learn, so if you ever need any help, he will be happy to give it. Even the workbook used in class, which was written by him, is extremely helpful (I still use it regularly). Outside of the classroom he is funny and extremely interesting (ask him to tell you his life story--there's a bed-in-breakfast in there somewhere). I have taken two classes with him and have loved them both (granted, he might have been extra nice to me because I worked pretty hard). I'm currently studying in Brazil and have gotten sooooo many compliments on my Portuguese, thanks to his classes. If you want to learn Portuguese and are willing to do the work, take this class. If you aren't willing to commit to either of those, it is very likely that you will not enjoy this class. Either way, YOU WILL LEARN PORTUGUESE, which is the point of the class.

Jan 2011

There is not much to add to the previous review. I was really disappointed in the grade I received for this class, because no matter how many hours you spend trying to learn the different conjugations and the endless amount of homework, you still receive a grade based solely on your performance in the exams. I do want to emphasize the fact that this professor has favorites. This class is definitely not worth the effort and the stress! DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jan 2011

I think people's review of Jose Antonio are a little harsh. I thought the class was pretty good overall. He's definitely a stickler for rules (absences, tardies, etc) but that's pretty understandable in an intensive class and he tells you upfront that this is not a class you can skate by in. It's a lot of work, mostly busywork, but honestly that solidified my comprehension a lot. The class routine gets a little boring and repetitive by the end of the semester but on the whole, it's not that bad and 2 hours really sails by (and I had this class at 9 AM!). You definitely need to keep up with your work otherwise your grades will slip. His grading can be a little harsh and maybe capricious but if you keep up and pay attention, you should be fine. Jose Antonio is a nice and caring guy and he really wants everyone to learn the material (he responds to emails instantly and will meet with you whenever) but he is strict with attendance, grades, as I said. Overall, I'm glad I took this class. I had fun and I can have a basic conversation in Portuguese now. Basically, if you're taking a heavy courseload and don't think you can manage a lot more work, don't take it because it will kill your GPA. But if you're interested in learning Portuguese and you're willing to put in the work, take it.

Dec 2010

Where can I begin? If you care about your grades or your GPA, DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!!! Although it's easy to be lured into the trap by José Antonio's seemingly easy-going demeanor, do not let him fool you! He grades inconsistently, especially in terms of effort. I once wrote a composition, 1.5 pages, 11-point font double spaced, and received a lower grade than a 1 page, 13-point font, 2.5 spaced composition. Even though writing isn't about quantity, IT'S A BEGINNING CLASS. No one writes that well, he doesn't care if you go above and beyond in an effort to learn the language and immerse yourself in the culture. His tests are doable, but you'll find that the grade you earn on your first test will be the average of all your test grades for the course. If you start off cold, don't expect your grade to improve. As noted before, he doesn't care about effort. He grades you like an English teacher, which is totally unfair given that this is a beginning course. He marks off for every little error, including on the oral assignments. However, one of the worst aspects of the course is he treats you like you're in high school. The only thing this class is missing is a tardy bell. Yep, he counts tardies. No free absences either. Hope you're healthy, because being sick is no excuse to miss class. Seriously, a student came to class with mono because of this dude's policies. All in all, this class is a serious gamble. I gambled... and lost. Read some other reviews. You might think this guy has multiple personalities, you either love him, or you're wishing you didn't gamble. It's like Vegas, either win big, or lose big. He'll give you an A, but you might as well consider this a 6 or 7 point course and be prepared to do a lot of busy work. If he likes you, you'll do better, he DEFINITELY plays favorites. I STRONGLY advise against taking him, find another way to learn Portuguese. However, if you do... CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED!!!

May 2009

This class was a nightmare. I have considered reporting this professor to the department. I think the reason the reviews are so disparate is that he does not take points off for everyone in a consistent manner. In other words, as reviewers have declared, he marks off for every little thing. However, some people - the ones who are getting all As - may not be getting the same point deductions as the others. I found this class to be extremely arbitrary. At first, I did all my homework and put extra study time in - over 20 hours per week - and would consistently get grades that seemed inconsistent with my effort. I put the class on pass/fail and basically stopped studying and my grades went up dramatically. I generally had the feeling that he gave you the grade he decided you deserved - not what the test reflected. Further, he makes little mistakes (he is not a native speaker) and gets really annoyed when you bring this to his attention. He consistently marked me off for grammar mistakes that were actually correct (my way of writing was correct - his was wrong). Finally, he told us the final would take an hour and be just like any other exam and most people were there for 3 hours in what was a ridiculous exercise - all new vocabulary that we had never seen.

Jan 2007

Its clear that Jose-Antonio really cares, wants you to learn, and puts a great deal of work into this class, and those are all the great qualities you look for in a professor. The class is a lot of repetition of what you're learning with your classmates to drill it into your head, which is fun at the beginning of the semester (and really helps to break up the two hours), but becomes sort of repetetive and horrible by the end of the semester. Overall though, the classtime isn't bad. He does assign a lot of homework (took me about 2 hours a night), and goes over it the next day, so you do have to do it. This includes book exercises, listening to and answering questions about songs, internet research projects, etc. Pretty varied - something for everyone. But it is time-consuming. His tests are fair, but he can be somewhat of a harsh grader. My one complaint would be that it seemed a lot of my classmates were unhappy with their grades, which I think reflects less their egos and more that certain concepts perhaps weren't as well understood as Jose-Antonio thought they were, and perhaps should have been better taught. Overall though, nice and very understanding professor who really wants you to learn, but by no means a cakewalk. You're going to have to work really hard to do well.

Sep 2006

Jose Antonio is an excellent professor. I have never had a professor who loves what he does and cares so much about his students as Jose Antonio. You do all sorts of exercises (from grammar work to watching a movie in Portuguese to listening to music) in order to get a firmer grasp of the language. He is hard and expects you to be in class every day (so if you are one to skip classes, I would NOT recommend taking his class if you want an A). That being said, you get the grade you deserve in his class--from F to A+ (granted, people who might fail the class probably drop it--so I don't know if he has ever given an F).

May 2006

Jose Antonio is an excellent teacher if you really want to learn Portuguese. There's a lot of busy work and what may seem mindless interaction with your classmates, but, at the end of the day, you'll come out speaking Portuguese. There are other teachers who may be easier but you'll learn the most with Jose Antonio. I highly reccomend him.

Jan 2006

Jose is enthusiastic, amiable, and tough as balls. He's really reasonable; reasonably, he expects his students to speak only Spanish in class, and reasonably, he expects students to do their reading. Reasonably, he doesn't kill you for lapsing into English, and reasonably, he didn't get mad when a classmate of mine said he intended to get drunk for a class (and later did) because it would help him speak more confidently - a brief and unscientific explanation of the principle, which is a valid principle for many people, convinced Jose to leave it alone. Jose does not speak a mix of Spanish and Portuguese. He speaks perfect Mexican Spanish and perfect American English, both with eminently clear, well-chosen, and well- paced diction. If you want to model your own nascent accent off of someone else's, look to Jose. Jose does not assign ridiculous amounts of work, though if you wish to bullshit your way through the language requirement, you should probably take another class. He loves his language and its literature enough to devote his life to its study and instruction, and he expects at least a passing interest from his students. It's not really that hard: I took this course in six weeks and managed to get through the reading and writing assignments for each class in two or three hours, with minimal attention. You should see half that work. Jose's insistence on the basics will make you more comfortable with doing what you have to to gain a measure of fluency - if you cooperate, you will at some point find yourself thinking in Spanish outside of class. I agree with a previous reviewer that the main weakness of this class is a focus on peer-to-peer discussion, disparate as students' speaking abilities are. Things do at times become awkward. Jose is available during office hours and gives short review sessions before testing, with longer sessions before exams. All papers come back promptly with exacting corrections, as do quizzes and exams.

Dec 2005

I think Jose Antonio is a great professor. He is serious about language acquisition and stresses not only grammar, but pronunciation and fluent usage of vocabulary and verbal constructions for both formal and informal speech. He's a stickler for participation, so there are good attempts at keeping everyone moving at the same level. This however, is easier said than done. About a quarter of the class was stuck at the first or second-month level of the course, and so excessive peer-to-peer exercises became annoying and frustrating when the partners were of widely warying proficiency. The over-reliance on peer-to-peer exercises is the only fault I see in the class. Don't expect to do well in the course just because you speak "Spanish" at home. If you are good with languages and actually know Spanish, then learning Portuguese with Jose Antonio will be great-- otherwise, expect to encounter 4 hours of dread each week. And don't complain about it.

Jun 2005

Some of the other reviews on this professor are almost honest but they wind up being very slanted. Here's the straight deal. This professor isn't for everybody. If you really have no interest in Spanish and are only interested in completing the requirement, don't take his class. Your lack of enthusiasm will show through in your class performance and it's going to be hell for the whole semester. On the other hand, if you really want to learn Spanish, he's one of the best. He does assign a lot of work, but if you're learning a language, it's not going to happen if you don't put in a lot of effort and practice. He's a stickler about not using any English during class, and for good reason. English is a crutch in an intermediate class, and it will hold you back if you or the teacher uses it. He is picky about accents, but accents are not that hard once you understand them and if you're having trouble with them he will help you. I found his grading to be fairly lenient. He scrupulously marked all the mistakes on my quizzes and compositions (and there were a lot), but he only deducted small amounts for most things, and deducted nothing in many cases. He brings an enthusiasm to the class that can't be beaten and makes you want to do well. He loves his native language and wants to pass on that love of Spanish to all of his students. I actually placed into Intermediate Spanish II, but I took Intermediate I with professor Castellanos-Pazos because it was immediately obvious to me that I would learn a lot more with him than with the two Intermediate II teachers I tried out. I highly recommend his class for anyone serious about learning Spanish.

Jan 2005

I honestly don't know the professor the other reviewers are talking about. I thought Jose was amazing. I wish he could teach all of my classes. The homework was helpful and completely doable. I also don't know what these people are complaining about in terms of harsh grading. I got As on everything. I'm really just baffled by these other reviews. You should definitely take this class. He is the sweetest man in the world. He speaks very clearly and I'm really amazed at how much Portuguese we learned in one semester.

Jan 2004

Warning!!! By far the worst Professor I have ever encountered at this institution. He is an awful teacher and speaks a mix of spanish and Portuguese. If you do not have a great grasp of the language he shows no mercy. He takes points off for every little mistake and missed accents. I mean come on some of us are just learning the language and trying to satisfy a requirement. He doesn't care and will take .25 off if you forgot to dot your i's. I worked very hard in this class (as did many others) and he knew it, but disregarded this and gave many bad final grades to people. I would never go within ten miles of this evil little man's class again.

Aug 2003

RUN FAR, FAR AWAY!!! If you're taking Spanish for the love of the language, and have plenty of time to devote to homework, studying and practicing speech...this professor is great for you. On the other hand, if you're taking spanish because it's required and you don't want a butchered GPA, find another professor.

May 2003

If you are taking this class purely for the joy of learning spanish, with no care as to the grade, this is the professor for you. He is thorough, well planned and drills you. For the rest of us who actually care about out GPA. My humble advice is DON'T DO IT BOY. YOU GOT A WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU!!! His test are some primal torture device with the sole purpose of failing you, and he grades horrible. He is for the most part a stickler to the rules, and is to be nice a brutal grader. Overall as a teacher he is good but as a grader he sucks.

May 2003

This man is a little hard to sum up. He starts out amazingly funny and nice, but soon becomes remarkably less so. He's not the most understanding man i've met, never hesitating to shell out bad grades. His antics keep you amused for a little but then its back to boredom. The amount of work for his class is significantly more than other Spanish classes of the same level. You can't miss more than the allowed three classes and must have your homework done for each class unless you want a zero. He forces participation and is a picky grader. However, if you want to learn Spanish quickly and well, his class is reasonable. Its a good amount of work but if you are good at languages it is possible to get an A without studying too much. His class will make you prepared for any of the teachers for the next level Spanish classes. He is hard and unforgiving, but will get the job done.

Apr 2003

I don't know where to start. If you want to know whether to take Castellanos-Pazos or not, read no further: he sucks! DON'T TAKE HIM! This is my second semester in this class. I got an "A" with Szoka last semester. I've worked 3 times as hard this semester and I'll be lucky if I get a "B". This guy flat out sucks. Oh, and don't ever miss class; I missed one cause I was sick and I got a zero for the day. Furhtermore, he speaks a mixture of Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Portugal Portuguese, which makes for a horrible learning experience. Did I mention he sucks?

Jan 2002

Wow. This guy is hard to describe. He is actually an M.D.-- No lie, though I wouldn't want him as my doctor because he has enough trouble remembering to bring quizzes and graded homework to class. His class is amusing because he is amusing. Despite laughs here and there, he is not so nice. He totally plays favorites and while he knows Spanish very well (He's Mexican) not Brazilian or Portuguese, his knowledge of the language is limited, which is a shame because it is a very neat language. The class starts out fun, but comes to a jarring halt very quickly. Unfortunately, it's impossible to skip class because he is a bit of an attendance Nazi. If you can take the class with a grain of salt, and want to learn the language, go for it. Otherwise, not highly recommended.

Jan 2002

The most colorless professor ever. Sticks to the textbook, which is a mistake as it is poorly organized. A nice enough guy, but you have to wonder when he lost his enthusiasm. Too bad, Portuguese is an incredible language.

Jul 2001

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.