Review Comment

Russian for Heritage Speakers (1st Semester)

January 21, 2010

Smyslova, Alla Silver_nugget
Russian for Heritage Speakers (1st Semester)

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

Alla Smyslova was a dynamic and engaging professor. Each lecture was well-organized, her explanations clear and concise and her manner direct. Pay attention and do your homework because she is vigilant and if you stop paying attention, even for a second, she'll notice and she'll call you out on it. The textbook, "Russian for Russians," is pretty boring, but it's the only one out there for heritage speakers. Alla makes up for it by introducing her own handouts and readings. We read a few short stories in class, and my only complaint is that I wish we had had more outside readings, but I understand that people in the class were at different levels with their Russian skills so not everyone could have handled a higher reading load--a great thing would be if the class could be split into two levels. Overall Alla was extremely helpful and her teaching methods will make anyone learn. I think she was a great professor!

Workload:

Moderate

March 05, 2009

Smyslova, Alla Silver_nugget
Russian for Heritage Speakers (1st Semester)

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

An excellent course taught by an engaging and attentive professor. Smyslova works hard to engage with the students at their level and give them support where she finds weaknesses. I came into the class with decent spoken Russian and exactly 0 knowledge of the grammatical underpinnings of what I was saying. By the end of the first semester (and definitely into the second), I could write more or less like a literate person and was getting a real hold on some of the terribly complicated grammar.

Virtually everyone who has studied with her agrees that she has a great manner with students, that she motivates them to work hard and that she has an excellent sense for a student's capacity.

Workload:

Very do-able. She tells students not to spend more than 1.5 hrs per assignment (2 classes per week).

December 16, 2003

Smyslova, Alla Silver_nugget
Russian for Heritage Speakers (1st Semester)

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

Assuming, you grew up in a household where Russian was spoken, the class will markedly improve your writing and linguistic abilities. You should not come to class and expect to get away without doing homework. She engages you and will make you speak (related to your homework) nearly every class. If she sees you drifting off, she will draw you back into the discussion. The material is not particularly interesting, but her stern and direct lecture style will keep you engaged. Some might not think she seems very kind, but that is simply because she keeps her classes structured and well organized. Since the class combines two years of Russian into one, she moves it relatively quickly. Though you probably will not leave a class entertained, you will leave with a plethora of information. Her grading is fair, if not somewhat generous. She will also have you correct every homework assignment, quiz, and test. This not only slightly boosts your grades, but also allows you to learn the material more effectively. Possibly the most important point: She is very willing to meet with students on a one-on-one basis, even outside of her office hours. In fact, if she sees you are having trouble she will require you to meet with her, and will strongly encourage meeting with her often.

Workload:

Mostly moderate, but it can vary. Homework is usually assigned for each class, which will take you anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours (depending on your previous knowledge of Russian). The homework varies from reading assignments, to writing responses, to language and grammar exercises. ThereÂ’s a pop quiz or two in the first half of the first semester to keep you on your toes, but they are not difficult. There are two major tests (take up the entire class), which are not hard but require learning/memorizing A LOT of grammar rules if you were previously unfamiliar with them. No midterm. She gives a comprehensive final (same style as the tests) that takes up an entire class period along with a take home essay.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V3430: Russian for Heritage Speakers Alla Smyslova 2012 Fall MW / 10:10-11:25 AM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V3430: Russian for Heritage Speakers Alla Smyslova 2010 Fall MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V3430: Russian for Heritage Speakers Alla Smyslova 2009 Fall MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V3430: Russian for Heritage Speakers Anna Dvigubski 2008 Fall MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 2
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V3430: Russian for Heritage Speakers Alla Smyslova 2008 Fall MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 1