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Slovak Studies Program

Language classes: beginners

Comments in anonymous student surveys:


Very good, we always move ahead with material. Makes good use of a long class by inserting stories between the language study. He presents certain materials with more depth due to problems from past students. Great suggestions for adapting to different culture. Gives great feedback, responds quickly to emails. Very enthusiastic. Very enthusiastic, created positive environment, facilitated students' learning by having much student–student interactions and by requesting participation. English–Slovak comparisons were helpful and made the information more interesting. Speed of course slow – easy to learn. Order of material – easier to learn.
The structure of the class is amazing. There is never too much confusing, new information. We are always building on, reviewing, and reusing old knowledge. Participation, all forms of learning (sight, speaking, reviewing, writing). Improve: writing on the chalkboard is hard to read. Everything easy to understand, taught concepts very good and was always willing to help. Learning a different language relatively easy. Good as it is.
Excellent teacher. I don't know what it is about his style, but I am learning this language very quickly. Excellent language acquisition course. He's very interactive, enthusiastic, and motivating. Material covered in unique, effective approach. The practicality of the phrases and the in-depth history, knowledge, & linguistic background he can give with nearly any word of Slovak and many other languages for that fact.
Very friendly; made class enjoyable & comfortable; a great individual; is always willing to help; very enthusiastic about material. Not only did I learn language, but also culture; speaking in another language in front of the class. Improve: maybe we could go to the language lab & record ourselves speaking. Presentation is excellent. Involving all students. Knowledge of material. Improve: better room – room temp.
Very personable. Kept class interesting. Difficult language but makes you want to learn. The instructor's major strengths were his in-class participation between the students and his ability to listen to everyone's questions. He was not intimidating and extremely helpful in correcting mistakes. Improve: to have the course at an earlier time.
Very intelligent, really wants the students to learn, great teacher. Presented in a great manner. Good communicator, answered all questions, made students feel comfortable. One of the best teachers I ever had. Maintained interesting learning environment, repetition of important concepts every day, use of visuals in class.
If I could be the only student... I love it. Super. Approachable, different style of teaching, was strange but worked good. Improve: have the closed-book reading exercises after the open-book reading, I like to see the words before I pronounce them.
Good split between conversation & exercises. Using stories as a means to explain different grammar points is good, helps to keep interest up. Very helpful. Improve: more quizzes and tests. Clearly explained. Stressed pronunciation.
Very interesting. Communication stressed. Improve: more homework. Instructor seemed genuinely concerned with our learning. Encouraged questions. Used many different methods to encourage our learning. Using maps, looking at pictures, learning about European history. Improve: I would like more Slovak history & culture included in the course.
Friendly, easy to approach or ask for help. Bonus "cultural" lessons are fun & are not generally offered in other language classes. I like the layout of the course book. I know more Slovak now than I did [language name redacted] after 1 semester. Feedback is good. Always timely w/ sound files. Is more enthused than most professors, clearly enjoys it. He makes the class fun and enjoyable. Makes the material understandable. Teaches cultural and linguistic differences and not just the language. I may actually use the information one day.
Very good at teaching us how to make foreign sounds, patient. By far my favorite class this semester, and I'm coming back next term. Varies class exercises, culture, interesting. Flexible teaching. funny, engaging, interesting! Always willing to explain problem areas. Improve: more assignments, or longer?
Understanding of linguistics/grammar. Concern for students, desire to make sure concepts are understood by all students. Practicing dialogue w/ other students. Improve: class runs slowly at times. Ability to explain vague language concepts in a form students can understand. Taught more than language – put language in context of culture, history, politics. Improve: sometimes went a little fast.
Knowledge of subject. A little fast sometimes. Enjoyment learning a foreign language. He is extremely enthusiastic about what he teaches, providing an excellent classroom environment. He also goes above and beyond merely teaching language, providing historical & cultural background. The coursebook is very well put together and useful. Also his method of teaching real life situations & applying conversation into acting helps me from learning to speak "bookishly" as opposed to naturally.
Always very prepared, enthusiastic, organized & made the class & learning the language very enjoyable. Very enthusiastic & supportive, I think the conversations we have in class help a lot to give us a grasp of the language. Very good at communicating with us and showing us what he wants us to do & how to do it. He is very friendly & approachable. He also makes class exciting & interesting by trying to give us "hands on" active learning experiences. His active learning approach. Languages are hard to learn, but by having us interact w/ each other I have really learned a great deal in his class. Improve: sometimes he moves too fast.
Knew material and taught it excellently. Personable, clarity in explanations, attentive to students. The detailed explanations of not only what to say (or what sounds) but how to say these things, also, cultural (political/social) explanations.
Charismatic, understanding, positive, dedicated. The learning environment, the professor, the positive reinforcement of success & understanding of mistakes. Gives us both "book" material as well as cultural and "out of classroom" experiences. Improve: if class meetings could be more times a week.
Instructor was very patient and thorough, and included useful cultural material to supplement the language instruction. The structure of progress (ie the order of learning verbs, cases, etc.) was v. good. He explains difficult concepts well & gives good examples.
Enthusiastic, willing and capable to teach. The speed is good for me to learn. Learning to speak a foreign language as well as learning some cultural background. Very helpful when answering questions, explained if we didn't understand. Lists of words in book & notebook, saying aloud the stories. Improve: possibly a quiz on vocabulary to learn it faster.
Understanding of what is needed to be known. Knows common problems/mistakes. Each class moves swiftly & fluidly. Explanations are thorough & helpful. Each student is addressed w/ little individualizations. Very enthusiastic. Keeps attention very well.
Ability to teach the language and culture. Patience with students. Friendliness to students. Overall excellent professor. Everything in this course has benefited me in learning a new language. Improve: more comfortable chairs. Always very prepared for class, very organized, knows exactly where he's going with a certain point. Just keep doing what you do! I like the teaching style & he always has good examples. I love the interesting culture pieces he adds in to make the class interesting, he obviously wants to be teaching. He's really good at teaching a language, anticipates all our mistakes & knows why we're thinking what we think.
He was well prepared. Teaching style was good. Easy to communicate with. Improve: maybe should be set days for exams from the beginning. Moves at a good pace, has classes planned out well. Improve: more props (I liked the maps!) & have Slovak food day.
Class organized well, very concerned about students. Isn't boring, changes what we are studying so we don't get bored. He was a great teacher. It's nice to see someone who still teaches for the students' sake. Can't wait to have him again. He makes the class participate. Good conversation/interaction. Improve: maybe have more homework. Fun class!
Incorporating the language in everyday situations. Good variety of activities during class. Very knowledgeable about languages in general and how grammar and speaking work.
Excellent teacher, makes learning a foreign language fun. Very easy to talk to & very helpful. One of those teachers that makes learning fun. Improve: possibly a movie, maybe a 5-minute break. Liked the examples. Great help in office hours.
Presenting the material and helping us to understand both how to write and how to say the words. He is very good about answering questions and has a good attitude towards the students. Not only repeating what is written but making up our own sentences under pressure during class helps to learn. Nice break-up of exercises, historical facts, reading, speaking. Excellent, nice combination of official grammar and useful phrases. Improve: as painful as it may be, more single person speaking.
Cares a lot about students learning. Tries and gives methods of learning. He is always available or will make himself available. Fast response on e-mail. Best professor I have ever taken class from. Goes over new material thoroughly, makes stories available to us through email, very good about getting homework back to us, makes class interesting by switching between history & culture and new material. Very good, tries to "mix" material so we don't get bored (talking, teaching, conversations, notes, etc.). Gives examples & clarification whenever needed. Very good about interacting with us. Responds to emails quickly. Has office hours & also can meet at other times. He is enthusiastic about it and it shows and helps motivate students.
He creates a positive learning environment & helps teach us how to keep learning on our own. We can stop & ask questions anytime we want. It's both language & culture. Make it more days of the week so we have practice speaking it (interactively) more often. Really knows Slovak and English. Breaks down each subject area – repetition. Visuals very useful in class. Helped us to "relax" in class in order to learn.
Knowledgeable, funny, organized, interested in our progress. Would have liked the class to move more quickly, but that wouldn't have been fair to others – I'm an advanced student. Clear explanations of a difficult subject, encourages the students, enthusiasm for his subject. The emphasis on grammar & pronunciation. Very important in a foreign language class.
Keeps class engaged, always willing to take questions in class/explain cultural questions if necessary. Most beneficial: cultural component & gives ideas on how to act if we do cultural awareness. Used his own book & was familiar w/ material. Excellent English. Kept class exciting. Very tolerant of students of all abilities & interest levels. Instructor left as soon as class ended, maybe he could stay to answer questions more often, on the other hand he does hold regular office hours. Course was presented in a logical progression. This course is an asset to Pitt's Slavic Dept. Pacing was a bit slow, but only for experienced students.
He gives us relevant assignments and information and has the capability in a fashion that makes it easy to remember. All the aspects – the conversational aspects, exercises in and out of class, the references to physical objects during conversations, etc. Knowledgeable, active, always encourages both participation and questions. Not always easy to get ahold of (e-mails, etc.) Conversations, exercises, participation.
Well taught, well organized, good teacher. Used good examples to demonstrate what we learned. Written assignments, readings & spoken conversations.
He is an incredible teacher. This language isn't that easy, but Martin somehow creates a great environment for students and uses his own techniques to pound the material home. Participation in class. Focus on speaking exercises with many examples to enhance verbal ability in Slovak. Provided recordings of written exercises. Inconsistent course difficulty.
Made class fun and interesting while teaching a lot of material. Perhaps didn't use quite enough visual aids. I feel like I am learning lot at a good, challenging pace. Very engaging, encourages high level of student participation. Good sense of humor, keeps it fun. The fact that it actually exists. Slovak courses and learning materials are rare.
He has a very good understanding of the language & presents his knowledge extremely well. In addition to teaching Slovak he gives interesting information about Slovakia. It is an excellent course. Very engaging class conversations. He is very passionate and knowledgeable about the subject.
Very enthusiastic about the subject material. The homework exercises – the reviews in class. Very knowledgeable regarding the language and culture & Slovakia. Uses good examples to clarify certain situations. Sometimes skips words or other issues relating to vocabulary; e.g., fleeting vowels.
Making clear distinct comparisons between Slovak and English. Being accessible to students' needs. Using tangible items to go with vocabulary. Not writing some words on board. Patient, creative teaching, good paced teaching, interactive between students. Explained everything very thoroughly & logically. The amount of time needed to put into the work helped the information process and made it easier to remember.
  He made very good use of his time. He's extremely knowledgeable. He uses a lot of examples to clarify explanations. He spent a lot of time making sure that we knew the material backwards and forward.