Review Comment

First Year Russian I&II

May 19, 2020

Kelley, Claudia
First Year Russian I&II

Claudia is a STAR. She cares so, so much about her students. She once emailed her students a poll on their learning styles so she could make sure there were studying materials that suited everyone. She makes so many handouts and is constantly holding office hours and taking the time to meet with her students. She genuinely wants everyone to succeed and if you show that you are willing to put the effort in she meets you at that level of dedication by doing everything she can to help you succeed. She's definitely not a fan of people phoning it in though, with all the work she does she expects you to work hard as well. Also, she has very chaotic energy and is just very energetic in general. I can't recommend her enough, I absolutely loved her class.

Workload:

First year Russian is a 5 credit class, there is a heavy workload but that's the nature of the course not her teaching.

October 11, 2016

Kun, Nataliya Gold_nugget
First Year Russian I&II

Every wonderful review you will read below about Nataliya is true, but I feel compelled to add to chorus of praise because Nataliya is just that good. Take a class with her!!! She is deeply passionate about her subject and about teaching. She obviously works incredibly hard, supervising the curriculum of all the First-Year Russian courses as well as teaching her own section. She returns every piece of writing you do, from basic grammar exercises to short stories and essays, with detailed comments/corrections the very next day. She is dedicated to her craft and is consistently prepared and engaging. Nataliya is endlessly energetic and her steadfast enthusiasm for an admittedly challenging subject is refreshing and inspiring. It's easy to fall in love with Russian when Nataliya is teaching it. She is also probably the most compassionate and kind-hearted professor I've had the pleasure of studying under. She is picky and demanding in only the best possible sense; she tirelessly corrects our pronunciation, cases, grammar, etc., and while this can be exhausting, it makes all the difference in developing a good accent and good grammar habits. After taking First-Year Russian last year, I happened to get the chance to have a conversation with a native Russian speaker over the summer. He told me that I must've had a good teacher, as my Russian was so "clean". Russia turns of phrase aside, he was absolutely right.

Workload:

Heavy. Russian is tough, and it meets MTWT. Though the format may be subject to change, we had around 2hrs of homework a night, and a chapter quiz every Wednesday (not too hard, chapter vocab, conjugations, cases, short composition). Plus a written and oral midterm (very hard! but you'll be impressed by how much you've learned) and a written and oral final.

May 11, 2016

Kun, Nataliya Gold_nugget
First Year Russian I&II

The previous reviews are all on point, but, having finished my second semester with Mrs. Kun, I had to add to her high praise. I cannot speak highly enough about her dedication to her students and their success. If you are contemplating the long, hard road that learning the Russian language can be, I strongly recommend that you, at the very least, start your journey with her. She will go to great lengths, assisting you through any struggles and making learning aids, to help you with your studies. She is also very understanding when you get behind in your studies because of other course workloads. Mrs. Kun is competent and delightful, but will challenge you to assess your progress. I am glad to have had the opportunity to learn with, and from, her.

Workload:

With studying and homework, 2-3 hours per day, depending on the subject. Oral and written midterm, oral and written final.

May 20, 2009

Annunziata, Alison (TA)
First Year Russian I&II

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I took both semesters of first-year Russian from Alison. She was great! She was enthusiastic and friendly, while remaining professional. Introductory Russian, as Columbia chooses to teach it, is very demanding (at times ridiculously so), and could be overwhelming if you had a TA less supportive and encouraging than Alison. I was impressed by the way she managed to balance the needs of brand new freshmen and seasoned (not to say cynical) upperclassmen. She's a good person--highly recommended!

Workload:

First-Year Russian is run like a Marine boot camp. When they say to plan on an hour and a half or more of homework a night, believe them.

July 23, 2002

Platt, Jonathan Silver_nugget
First Year Russian I&II

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

John is certainly one of the best teachers I've had at Columbia; he's certainly a credit to his department and the TA ranks. The mere fact that he's American (a rarity in most foreign language departments, it seems) is a big help, since he suffered the same difficulties with the language and knows how to help you get over them. He's animated and interesting during class, and he really cares about his students, to the extent that he's visibly disappointed when we don't perform (you can take that as a good or bad thing). And while that may simply be a result of the fact that, as a grad student TA, his fate is inextricably bound to ours, the end result is the same: he'll go to great lengths to help his students. One warning: he will tease you for repeated errors, but you'll deserve it, and it'll help you remember.

Workload:

The other reviewers have it right, and besides, this stuff is all standardized. Watch out for listening exercises that will take forever, particularly ones that the language lab won't have (grrrrr)! There's also a required grammar lecture for first year Russian with Frank Miller, a man who defies description (in a good way).

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