Review Comment

[RUSS V1101] First Year Russian

June 25, 2014

Kun, Nataliya Gold_nugget
[RUSS V1101] First Year Russian and [RUSS V1201] Second Year Russian

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

Nataliya is a rare gem at Columbia, a professor who is consistently engaging, has an unfathomably thorough and wide-reaching knowledge of her subject matter, and is an extremely nice person who will spend as long as she needs to working with you to improve. She's taught me in all of my first and second year Russian classes, and that's because I've pretty much built my schedule around making sure I could keep my MTWR free at the time she teaches the class. for all my Columbia-honed complaining tendencies, it is very difficult to find a flaw in her teaching of the class.

Basically every day is like this in the first four semesters of Russian. You come in and have at least a 10 or 15 min conversation in Russian led by her; she'll prompt you with content and level specific questions. She will hound you (nicely) on your pronunciation and intonation from day one, so you don't develop bad habits that often remain in non-natives who teach Russian (or any language really). You'll usually do a few minutes of group work, which is pretty much unavoidably awkward at first but gets better with time. Then she'll cover the actual grammar topic for the day, and finish it off with a video or a song which shows the lesson in contect. It's a ridiculously balanced class and it does a great job of enforcing cross-disciplinary learning.

It also helps that the books for all four semesters were written by Professor Miller, and he likes to visit class once in a while to see how his curriculum is going. The first year book is very very good. The second year one is average/kind of dated in terms of organization and presentation of information, but has a logic to it that you'll start to pick up during second year spring.

She makes you work hard and be thoroughly involved in learning the language, but her grading is incredibly fair. She looks for reasons to give you credit rather than to take it away, and she's much more happy with seeing you improve from a lower point than just contenting yourself with a B and not putting in any more effort.

Overall a phenomenal teacher with a very balanced curriculum to back it up. Russian is still complex of course, but Nataliya is a more than capable guide.

Workload:

A few small exercises every day, with a composition usually assigned on the weekends. It seems like it's more than it is but the exercises are usually pretty short. It's usually more of a problem to actually keep up with the number and not miss too many days; they really start to pile up after a while. That being said, she will almost always accept late homework and not penalize your grade for it; she cares more about if you put in the effort than when you did.

Tests every two weeks or so (time limits are a bit rough on these), written and oral midterm and final respectively.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I 2012 Fall MTWR / 6:10- 7:15 PM 5
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I 2012 Fall MTWR / 4:10- 5:15 PM 4
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I 2012 Fall MTWR / 1:10- 2:15 PM 3
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I 2012 Fall MTWR / 11:40-12:45 PM 2
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I 2012 Fall MTWR / 8:50- 9:55 AM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Olga Dobrunoff 2010 Spring MTWRF / 9:00- 9:50 AM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Alla Smyslova 2010 Fall MTWRF / 1:10- 2:00 PM 3
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I 2010 Fall MTWRF / 11:00-11:50 AM 2
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I 2010 Fall MTWRF / 10:00-10:50 AM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I 2010 Fall MTWR / 6:10- 7:25 PM 4
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Alison Annunziata 2009 Fall MTWRF / 11:00-11:50 AM 2
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Alla Smyslova 2009 Fall F / 1:10- 2:00 PM 3
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Maria Doubrovskaia 2009 Fall MTWR / 6:10- 7:25 PM 4
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Michael Ossorgin 2009 Fall MTWRF / 10:00-10:50 AM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Ekaterina Poltorak 2009 Spring MTWRF / 10:00-10:50 AM 1
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Brinton Coxe 2008 Fall MTWR / 6:10- 7:25 PM 4
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Katharine Holt 2008 Fall MTWRF / 1:10- 2:00 PM 3
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Edward Tyerman 2008 Fall MTWRF / 11:00-11:50 AM 2
SLAL / RUSS SLAL RUSS V1101: First-Year Russian I Greta Matzner-Gore 2008 Fall MTWRF / 10:00-10:50 AM 1