Ana Huback

May 2012

Ana Paula is a wonderful teacher and person. I looked forward to going to her course every time and always left in a good mood. She very clearly takes a strong interest in her students, she is kind, very patient, and a very good teacher of a foreign language. I never felt intimated in her class and was always comfortable to ask for things to be clarified, something that was definitely not true in Portuguese for Spanish Speakers with José Antonio Castellanos Pazos. I particularly thought it was effective how Ana Paula allowed the students in many ways drive the content of the course. The grammar and the things related to learning Portuguese, she of course totally managed (and managed effectively). However, when it came to using the things she taught us, she allowed us to choose the topics via a variety of creative ways. As an example, she had us put together folios on topics related to the Lusophone world that we then read for homework. The richness of the range of these topics--rap music in Brazil, natural resource politics in Angola, community policing efforts in the favelas of Rio, and more--was only made better by the fact that students actually were excited to talk about these things, because they were interested in them. Even having one student excited about a topic allowed for a lively discussion to take off between all of us. And because of this and all the other attributes Ana Paula brought to the course, we really enjoyed coming to class, and I think this is what made all the difference. Additionally, Ana Paula has perfected the art of assigning the appropriate amount of work and in the right doses: in contrast to Portuguese for Spanish Speakers, Ana Paula doesn't overload students with mind-numbing busy work. The assignments are focused and enjoyable (often because the content of the workbook she created is). In contrast, José Antonio's Portuguese for Spanish Speakers assigned an unwieldily and unreasonable amount of school work. Yes some students did it all and yes they did benefit from doing it. However, the majority of students did not do it and in turn were made to feel badly. More importantly, though, most students wound up doing less work than they would have if the load was more reasonable. This final point is key: when 2 or 3 hours of work is assigned each and every class, if one only has time for an hour's worth of work, one simply doesn't do any of it. This is because doing 1/2 or a 1/3 of the work isn't worth it, especially when you are going to made to feel badly about it. So, simply put, Ana Paula was much more (a) reasonable but (b) also more effective in the amount of work she assigned than José Antonio. Overall, excellent course from a warm, effective, and dedicated teacher!