professor
Ling Yan

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

May 2019

I truly loved this course. Yan Ling is an incredible professor, she loves her job and her students and she makes the class environment warm and friendly. The class has a rigorous level and we are constantly learning a lot. That being said, the course load is manageable and Yan Ling is always available to help. The lectures about vocabulary and grammar structures are helpful, and are always followed by mandatory participation by all students in order to grasp the concepts more concretely, often structured as conversations in small groups or as an entire class. Also, the textbook is consistently used and parallel to lectures, making it easy to follow. This class requires a large time commitment as there are daily assignments, consisting of quizzes, homework, memorization, and recordings. The class itself is also a large time commitment since it meets four times a week in addition to a weekly drill session. Overall, I dedicate 6 hours in class and around 10 hours outside of class per week, 16 hours total. Yan Ling is full of enthusiasm for Chinese language and she passes it on to her students. Her lectures are clear and she always welcomes questions and participation. She is always quick to return assignments and provide feedback, usually within the next day. Highly recommend this course for anyone interesting in learning Chinese for the first time!! At first the workload and language is overwhelming but if you are willing to put in the commitment it is 100% worthwhile! TAKE THIS CLASS!!!!

Jun 2018

Yan Laoshi is an excellent teacher! My Chinese improved drastically over the course of the semester. She is also extremely kind and makes class interesting and enjoyable. She clearly cares for her students and wants everyone to succeed.

May 2016

TAKE YAN LAOSHI'S CLASS! I don't know why she doesn't have more (recent) CULPA reviews. She is the sweetest, most adorable professor ever. I spent so much of both semesters of this class laughing, but also definitely learning Chinese. Her teaching style is super effective, and she gets everyone to participate. Most of the people that took the fall semester stayed with her for the spring, and I totally understand why. She clearly cares about her students, and does everything she can to help them. There are due dates on all assignments, but she basically always accepts work late, and even allows people to make up quizzes/memorizations. Chinese is obviously a tough language, and it's almost like learning two at once between the pinyin with tones and the characters, but the structure of the class really keeps you on top of things since there's almost always a quiz or test or memorization on any given day. If you can get into her section, definitely take it. I hated the 4:10-5:15 time slot, but I stuck with it. I'm so sad she doesn't teach intermediate because I cannot imagine that I will have a better experience with another Chinese professor than I have had with her!

May 2011

Yan laoshi is awesome. Always smiling, excited, and laughing. She really enjoys what she does, and enjoys students. The test questions come from the homework, the 听写s aren't usually difficult if you put in an hour of studying (which you should be doing even without quizzes) and doesn't so much have a late-work policy. Just get the homework in at some point and you'll be fine. She doesn't have strict guidelines for much of anything, really, aside from that there are definitely 'right' answers on the sometimes ambiguous homework questions. Speaking of homework, it is not difficult, necessarily, but time consuming. At least 3 to 4 hours per.

Mar 2009

Absolutely amazing teacher. If you are struggling with Chinese or starting it for the first time, you should definitely take Yan Laoshi's class. Obviously you do not know the particular Chinese professors until the first day of class when the names magically appear on the Directory, however, as soon as you do, go to her section ASAP!!! She is funny, kind, attentive, courteous, approachable, and an excellent ally in the Chinese Language Program. While her lectures can be all over the place and her PowerPoint presentations and grammar explanations vague (though cute), she will spend hours of one-on-one time with you in a non-condescending and truly educational way. Unlike most Chinese professors, she will NEVER make you feel dumb. Simply put, she is a teacher first and foremost. Finally, she makes an effort to weed out the plethora of lying Chinese speachers who register for the N-level sections, sending them quickly to the W-section for Native Speakers. Do WHATEVER you can to take her section; you will NOT regret it!

Dec 2008

I thought Yan Ling was a good instructor for this course. I've decided to stick with her for the second semester of the elementary course, actually. She is friendly, very good at getting people to speak up, and in general explains things pretty well. Sometimes she doesn't understand the implications of the questions that people in class ask... as is natural with people teaching their own language to foreigners. However she seems to have enough teaching experience to anticipate where the problems are going to come up. I thought this course was not divinely inspiring or academically riveting, but you get through a lot of chinese.

Dec 2008

I thought Yan Ling was a pretty good instructor for this course. I've decided to stick with her for the second semester of the elementary course, actually. She is friendly, very good at getting people to speak up, and in general explains things pretty well. Sometimes she doesn't understand the implications of the questions that people in class ask... as is natural with people teaching their own language to foreigners. She seems to have enough teaching experience to anticipate where the problems are going to come up. I thought this course was not divinely inspiring or academically riveting, but by god you get through a lot of chinese.

May 2008

This is as much a review of the course as the teacher, but this class was--for everyone involved, without exception or exaggeration--a godawful screaming trainwreck. Yan laoshi is very nice, there is no doubt about that. Nor is it her fault that when program head Liu Lening tapped her to teach the class, he decided to scrap Meng's excellent textbook and compel her to write an entire new book in twenty days just so he could put his name to it. This is not rumor, it's the truth from Yan's own mouth. In any case the book was an extraordinary disaster, so riddled with typos and mistranslations that homework assignments were impossible. The problems with the textbook, from which we never diverged, were too legion to detail here. Suffice it to that that the unquestioned consensus within the class was that the textbook was insultingly amateurish and unfit for any class, much less one here at Columbia. As far as Yan laoshi's teaching technique, she relies almost entirely on powerpoint, which is infuriating, and insists on explaining words we don't know with MORE words we don't know, which is remarkably demoralizing. She doesn't understand the need for repetition and reinforcement. Finally, all we ever did in class was read overly complicated sentences right off the powerpoint, so while my reading-out-loud has improved, everything else has gone to pot. The focus of the class is entirely on literary chinese, which is not very useful. I would not recommend this class to anyone for any reason; I would furthermore recommend taking anyone else's class, including Su taitai's. Take Meng. Accept no substitutes. Aside from being unrelentingly unpleasant, this class will torpedo your GPA through no fault of your own.

Jul 2007

she is an awesome teacher!! very understanding with beginners but tough enough to make you learn a lot.

Mar 2006

very nice teacher, tries very hard to make sure you understand. She loves to answer questions and she is very quirky. I just love her, even though class sometimes is a little boring but she makes it so funny when we go off topic sometimes. very standard chinese class, powerpoint slides for our lessons and she just explains them. participation here and there and a few acting out scenes. She loves to do scenes and make you present in class

Nov 2005

Yan Laoshi has to be the best teacher I've had at Columbia so far. She drills us incessantly on the vocabulary and grammmar, but she is always willing to answer any questions we have. She spent the first week of class teaching us tones & for the rest of the semester will point out even the slightest mistake in our speaking. But what really makes the class is her quirky personality and unique sense of humor that brings an amazing livelihood to the class. If you're planning on taking Elementary or Intermediate Chinese, definitely look for prof. yan!

Apr 2005

Really nice and quirky teacher who actually knows how to speak English. She is always willing to answer even the most nit-pickiest of questions about the slight nuances of the Chinese language. She stresses pronounciation and tones a lot and will correct you for the slightest of errors. But your pronounciation will improve a ton. She will drill you on the grammar until you know it in your sleep.