June 03, 2013

Denischenko, Irina
Russian II

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

Irina is an absolute doll. She has an enormous amount of energy every day and utilizes every available minute of class time. Most of class is composed of activities from the textbook, and Irina calls on people at random to speak aloud so that everyone speaks at least once a day. She doesn't grill you or really expect too much from speakers in class, and corrects your mistakes as you say them. It may seem intimidating at first that she speaks largely in Russian throughout class, but it's really never an issue even if you just smile and nod and have no clue what she is saying. The composition of the class was very varied as far as skill and proficiency goes but she really tried to meet everyone's needs individually. She is a native speaker, and doesn't know all of the grammatical rules by heart, but if you ask a question she doesn't know she'll find out for you. She grades every scrap of homework you turn in a provides written feedback. Be prepared for a lot of Russian comedy sketches and songs during class!

Workload:

Daily homework on week days which can be an utter drag but is departmentally assigned. She grades it all, but many got away with submitting work way beyond the deadline. No midterm, an easy final both semesters, some in depth homework assignments (look up a Russian athlete and speak about him in class, etc.), and vocabulary quizzes every other week. Irina is probably the most lenient grader in the department.

March 22, 2008

Lodge, Kirsten Silver_nugget
Russian II

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

Kirsten is a bit awkward and shy but don't let that dissuade you (you'll grow to love her quirks). She is a great teacher. Unlike some of the younger grad students who teach Russian, Kirsten actually wants to help you. The book they use for Russian 2 isn't very good, so she photocopies dozens of pages from other textbooks for us. If she can't answer a question or doesn't know the word for something she'll look it up and tell you the next day, even though you've forgotten about it. She's also flexible if you need to miss class (she teaches the night class so this happens a lot) and is always available outside of class. You'll learn more with her than in any other section!

Workload:

the standard russian II--daily homework, tests every two weeks or so. but there's no oral final in her section!

April 13, 2007

Shaklan, Steven Silver_nugget
Russian II

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

Steven is wonderful. It was inspiring to be around someone so committed to helping other people learn. It was clear that he spent a lot of time preparing the lessons which he didn't have to do because technically you're supposed to learn all the grammar in grammar lecture. He takes teaching Russian very seriously, but still manages to have a great sense of humor and create an overall enjoyable class atmosphere. I learned so much from Steven. Though all the Russian teachers are wonderful people, Steven is truly special and I feel incredibly lucky to have been in his class.

Workload:

This department is not kidding. There is soooo much homework. 2 hours a night...definitely

December 13, 2006

Shaklan, Steven Silver_nugget
Russian II

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

Steven is great. He explained things so clearly that it was almost impossible not to understand them. He was totally approachable and personable and obviously cared about our understanding. Maybe it was just the kids in our class or maybe it was Steven (or a combination?) but this class was a pleasure to go to, despite the pretty considerable amount of work and the unpleasantness of meeting six times a week. Since someone else coordinates the Russian I curriculum, Steven didn't really control what work was assigned or what was on the tests. I was intimidated at the idea of learning Russian at first, but I'm really glad I took this class and that I took it with Steven.

Workload:

Kind of a lot, 1-2 hours of homework a night, recorded assingments, test every two weeks (often on fridays), an oral dialogue at the end of the semester and a final.

December 13, 2003

Rosen, Margo Silver_nugget
Russian II

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

Margo Rosen is the best professor I've had. Period. I wish she taught all my classes.

Workload:

Fair.

March 31, 2003

Coxe, Brinton Tench Silver_nugget
Russian II

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

Tench ROCKS! All the Russian grad students great (I've had four of them as instructors), but I thought Tench was the best one of all. Really funny. Gets the material into your head. Not overly demanding (usually accepts late homework). Laid back. Not a know-it-all.
Truly in it to help YOU, not to look smart. Well prepared (lots of pencil notes in his book - means he pre-read the chapters carefully. Not true of all the grad students).

I find all languages boring, and taking Russian at Columbia is especialy demanding. Tench makes it all better.

Oh, he's in a rock band. I think he plays bass guitar. I'm a Tench fan.

Second "Oh", he plays cheezy Russian rock music in class for no real reason. Fun guy to take a class with, AND everyone learned a heck of a lot. No trade off between fun and learning. Tench ROCKS!

Workload:

Too much, but it's not really Tench's fault. The syllabus is standardized across all sections. Took me about 2 hours a day, but I'm bad at languages.

August 14, 2001

Lebedev, Valentina Silver_nugget
Russian II

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

Don't take this class if you can't devote massive amounts of energy to it. At best, you will get a great foothold in the Russian language with the help of a wonderful, enthusiastic professor. But that's only if you can put in 2 hours a night to do the huge number of worksheets, nail the grammar, and memorize the massive amounts of vocab. Miss one night and it's all downhill from there; this prof. will really humiliate you in class. If you're planning on majoring in Russian, you probably couldn't choose a better teacher. Otherwise, do your sanity a favor and think twice before registering for Lebedev's section.

Workload:

Tests are reletively easy, but homework done well will take you 2 hours on a good night.

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