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Summerhill overall is a good, but not great professor.
His lectures seem very unorganized and he seems to just speak off the top of his head without much planning. I took less notes in this class than any other history class at UCLA so far. Often, he forgets what he is talking about or changes the subject quickly. However, he is a very entertaining lecturer with an enjoyable speaking style with humor constantly used.
First day of class, I expected him to be very hard; he told us that unless we have an intense love for Latin American history, this class would be one of the hardest there is and proceeded to outline the course. This is completely inaccurate however. I had, and still have, little interest in Brazil after this course and the course was not overly difficult. He constantly moved due dates back and changed both the midterm and final to be all multiple choice and removed questions too many people got wrong. Neither test was too difficult as long as you paid attention in class and did around 50% of the readings. Also, he gives out a very useful study guide with all the terms you need to know and gives a review session before each test. Know everything about the terms and you'll get an A.
His two book reviews were odd to say the least. They did not focus on the content at all really; basically he wanted to know where the author got the information from rather than what the information was. He specifically says not to summarize the book or just repeat it. I read neither book fully (probably around 20% of them) and focused almost completely on the prefaces, forwards, and bibliographies and got a B (for not expanding enough) and an A on the book reviews (I got an A overall in the class). Follow his outline that he gives out for the book review and you will be fine without reading the books themselves.
Just a fair warning though, I get the feeling that he sort of wings his classes and can make them more difficult on a whim. He changed the entire format of the class during the quarter (new due dates, shorter essays, removed essays on tests, new lecture subjects). If he had stuck with the original format of the class, it would have been much harder. However, with all the changes in the students' favor, this class was easier and did not require too much effort. It wasn't easy, but I have taken many much more demanding courses.
Pros: Funny, Loud, Nice guy, Easy book reviews, Multiple Choice Midterm and Final, ID study guides, Pushed back due dates, Scared out the slackers the first day
Cons: Unorganized lectures, Changing format of the class (could be in your favor), Didn't hold my interest
Summerhill was my favorite professor of the Fall Quarter. His lectures are far from boring, and his method of delivery is quite hilarious. He will pace around the class, occasionaly presenting incredibly open ended questions such as "Who's that guy I'm thinking of?". The class itself is really laid back. At least 3 days consisted of watching modern action movies about Brazil which contained no testable material. Grades consist of a map quiz (10%), midterm (40%), and a final (50%). For the midterm and final, when he says the short essay will be randomly selected, he means it, so prepare well for all of them.
I recieved an A- in the class, which was the product of me slaying the first two assignments and then not trying as hard later in the course. Big mistake. Stay consistent and go to class.
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