Review Comment

First Year Russian Grammar Lecture

July 07, 2012

Smyslova, Alla Silver_nugget
First Year Russian Grammar Lecture

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

Alla Aleksandrovna Smyslova’s teaching style melds Russian silovik, English nanny, and American nurturer. She has a guru level grasp of both languages; linguistics, grammar, structure, and utilization. This is what I expect from a Columbia University professor. If students graded teachers, she would get a solid A. My expectation for Columbia is to provide me with such professors for each and every course I take and this is why I am willing to pay big bucks for an Ivy League education.

As much as I tried, I was not able to be in her sections during my first year of Russian, but I was fortunate to have her grammar lecture each Thursday and they came as welcomed respites from graduate student taught classes. The level of energy and effort she put into the grammar lectures were impressive and her preparation of material (PowerPoint, PDF and other multimedia tools) allowed me to go over the lectures and practice afterwards. The fill in the blank exercise on PowerPoint were particularly helpful. She does not cut corners. I learned more in the weekly lecture than I did during a week of classes. She was rarely ever stumped by a grammar question in either language. She engaged the class.

Teaching is part art and part science; she has mastered both. It is my expectation that Columbia provides students with teachers like Alla Aleksandrovna, who have already mastered the skills needed to educate others. If you have a C teacher, can you expect a student to get an A?

If you are serious about learning Russian, do not mind an excessive workload, and want to be taught by a professional educator, look no further!

Workload:

For the grammar lecture none :-)

For the course ... insane!

September 15, 2011

Smyslova, Alla Silver_nugget
First Year Russian Grammar Lecture and [RUSS V1101] First-Year Russian I

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

I took first and second semester Russian I with Alla Aleksandrovna Smyslova, along with the Russian Grammar Lecture required for all first year students of Russian. I can honestly say that I'd be hard pressed to think of a more effective and caring instructor, of any subject. As the year went on, I increasingly considered myself extremely lucky to be in Prof. Smyslova's section of the course, and I think students in some other sections probably wished they were in her section, too (everyone was able to experience her teaching at least once a week, in the grammar lecture). She has a command of both Russian (her native tongue) AND English that made her unusually capable of handling even complex grammatical questions. And - you know when you can tell that an instructor really CARES that her students learn something? I got that feeling from Alla Smyslova. There were a few times during the semester when I had to miss class, and Alla gave me as much time as I needed with her in and out of office hours to make sure I understood the material I had missed. I sometimes went to her office hours with one or two other students, and I could actually see one student in particular growing in confidence over the course of the year because of the commitment she gave to making sure he learned the material - I mean, I can only imagine that the confidence he gained from Alla also helped him in the rest of courses, and that's a pretty awesome effect for one teacher to have. Russian is NOT an easy class, but if you want to learn, Alla will not only make it bearable but fun - you WILL learn Russian, and, most importantly, you'll feel like your teacher actually cares.

Workload:

No surprise - it's heavy - but you'll definitely learn. About 7 chapter tests, no midterm (who needs a midterm when you're being tested all semester?), a three hour written final, and a less than 10 minute oral final with a partner from class. Up to 2 hours of homework a night (but not more), if you really want to keep up.

December 23, 2009

Smyslova, Alla Silver_nugget
First Year Russian Grammar Lecture

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

Alla is the most amazing Russian professor I've ever had. She has such a indefatigable personality and presence in the classroom, as well as an ability to teach the intricacies of Russian grammar in a way I never thought possible. Weekly grammar lectures with Alla were a privilege and a delight, as her humor and personality made each lesson more interesting than the last. What's more, she has such a perfect knowledge of linguistics and grammar that the best of grammarians can appreciate. Her accent and animated hand motions make the class a true gem. When she would laugh and do a little dance for each new grammatical concept, the knowledge would become imprinted permanently on my mind- a true resource for tests!

Workload:

No workload for the grammar lecture, outside of studying.

April 24, 2003

Smyslova, Alla Silver_nugget
First Year Russian Grammar Lecture

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

I enjoyed this 50 minute period with Alla once a week. Somehow, she can teach a week's worth of grammar in a fraction of the time, and you will most definitely understand it! You HAVE to pay attention - it sometimes felt like highschool all over again, because she will snap at you to pay attention when she catches you looking away. But otherwise, I really enjoyed the class, and she is a very nice woman - she says hello to everyone outside of class, even though you're just a Russian 1 newbie.

Workload:

None! It's just an invaluable weekly review/preview. Her handouts really help you understand!

April 07, 2003

Smyslova, Alla Silver_nugget
First Year Russian Grammar Lecture

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

An AMAZING instructor. She can cover huge amount of material in just 50 minutes. At the end of the grammar lecture my head was spinning, BUT she really knows how to teach! She reviews the material covered in the class, but she is so systematic, that you learn everything.

The grammar lecture is fun, she keeps asking questions during the lecture, so don't try to do anything else. She will notice that immediately.

Workload:

none. the grammar lectures review material already covered in class.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1103: First-Year Russ Grammar Lec I Alla Smyslova 2010 Fall R / 12:00-12:50 PM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1103: First-Year Russ Grammar Lec I Alla Smyslova 2009 Fall R / 12:00-12:50 PM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1103: First-Year Russ Grammar Lec I Alla Smyslova 2008 Fall R / 12:00-12:50 PM 1