And so I have successfully enrolled myself into another Korean school after stopping for around half-a-year while waiting for my friend.
After months of careful examination and tons of emails + replies. We or should I say I, settled on Singapore Korean School. Friend was a bit reluctant to join because of the pricing but I told her I decided on this school and won't settle for any less. She - with no other choice- (I'm sorry), she decided to enroll too, of course not without the whines of the pricing and pulling a really disheartened face.
I'm only there for three lessons, so I really can't make good substantiated reviews but I will just say what I feel about the lessons so far.
This is just a very simple contrast between the two schools that I have attended so far.
Word of caution: These are all my perspective. I have not sit for Topik yet so some of these comments may seem unsubstantiated to you guys. Take it with a pinch of salt.
I know many are concerned with the syllabus taught. Whether they are enough for you to go for the TOPIK Basic Test 1. I have looked through the test paper. And from the point of view of a SKS student, there is a possibility of passing the paper. The grammar tested in that level are all taught, perhaps one or two may seem unfamiliar but passing is obtainable. For the writing component, this would be a bit hard. Because in SKS , the focus is more on conversational skills and reading skills. There is few practicing students have of writing. Therefore, this section may seems a bit more challenging. Plus, vocabulary exposed in SKS are restrained in a fixed context. Thus, may find it rigid and hard to find words taught to express yourself.
If you have completed Basic 4, there is higher chance of you passing Topik 1 as compared to SKS. Why? Because unlike SKS, the teacher made speak in Korean during lessons and have dictation every end of lessons. She will scribble English sentences and have you translate them. Of course, these words are all taught and in the textbook. Therefore, being made to write, students were already comfortable in writing Korean words and are better able to express themselves. Plus with the richer range of vocabularies, Hanok students wouldn't find writing component much of a pain.
SKS proceed at a faster pace. Each lesson, there is a fix topic that the teacher has to finish. However, because the content isn't really a lot, it is suitable for even slow pace learner. As long as you make your revision every week. I don't seem to think it will be overbearing.
Hanok's pacing would be a bit slower. One topic maybe separated into two lessons in order to be finished. This is due to the wider vocabulary words and to revise previous grammar points taught. So for example, on lesson 8, she will teach present tense + past tense+ some vocab, then on lesson 9, she will go through these again + more vocab and maybe future tense.
Now, here is the most important part I want to emphasis. Teaching. Most Korean schools here have lessons are conducted by native korean. The reason why I want to address this issue is because I think this is a important factor to consider when choosing a school. Many of us have a common but understandable perception about the correlation between quality of teaching and nationality of the teacher. Of course, I would agree that a native would be a not more suitable person to teach its own language to foreigners. Being grown up in that community for over 20+ years, naturally the native teacher would be more familiar with their own culture and its tradition.
But I would like to say that LOCAL/NON-NATIVE teachers are equally good as well. The important key factor to pay attention to is NOT the Nationality but the way the teacher teach and communicate. Many native teachers here are not well-verse in English, and this becomes a huge problem because instructions are not properly communicate. It will become a common thing to constantly guess and lean in to figure out what the teacher is trying to convey. Subsequently, it becomes tiring and you start to lose interest. Therefore, don't discriminate local teachers. If they have good language background plus good teaching skills, try them out. I'm sure they won't lose out to the natives. Of course, if your teacher is a native and has good command of English, then that will be a bonus!
I will not compare the teachers in both schools yet because Hanok only has one teacher while SKS has plenty of them. Therefore I won't be playing fair.
Hope I answer your questions~
If you have any more queries you can always drop me a comment!