November 27, 2003

Rosen, Margo Silver_nugget
Second Year Russian I

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

Margo Rosen is fantastic. I can honestly say she's the best language teacher I've ever had, and I've taken a LOT of language classes. Unlike many other teachers, she really engages the material and tries endlessly to pull your face out of the textbook and get you actually talking. Often, during group "conversation" exercises from the book, you have to leave your seat and actually converse with the other students.

She encourages conversation in class, as long as you make a good effort to use the current material. I can't count the times we've all cracked up laughing over a bon-mot po-russki. Yet somehow, we still cover everything we need for the tests. I swear, room 707 must be in a time warp.

She also really explains grammar, instead of just lecturing about it. If you want to know why that vowel is fleeting, or when you're supposed to drop the soft sign, she will explain it happily and articulately.

She teaches a great class, whether your interests are academic or functional. She also rewards creativity, encouraging students to explore what they can do with what they already know. If you want a class where all you're expected to do is copy the example and change the word you're declining, please don't take Russian with Margo. If you want to have fun and learn Russian for real, sign up!

Workload:

Standard for a language class. Second year Russian has a lot more essay writing in the regular homework, though, and more translation from English to Russian (of entire conversations). Some days have no homework, somedays have 4 pages of essay questions. Nonetheless, it's bearable. Very few surprises on the chapter tests. Margo gives quizzes before the chapter tests (I think they're of her own design) to keep you on task in preparation. Which is great, because otherwise I'd probably not do as well. Also, she's serious about turning in corrections. Some teachers let you get by without them, but Margo will stay on your butt until you turn them in. Do them--it's for your own (and your grade's) good!