Japanese Meetup @Singapore Message Board › Any good Japanese Language School to recommend?

Any good Japanese Language School to recommend?

A former member
Post #: 2
Sweet,yes the class is big which explains why it can be cheap..I guess i will have to stick with Hougang....
I am currently a student now,there for going to ikoma or bunka is kind of a luxury for me now xD
Know of any good senseis in hougang ?
Tsubasa
Tsubasa10
Singapore, SG
Post #: 435
Can try Sai Sensei or Kobayashi sensei.
A former member
Post #: 3
Thank You :D
A former member
Post #: 1
looking to start up my Elementary course... however the lessons for the 3 schools i have shortlisted are so different. Basically the structure is the same with elementary1 n 2, then Intermediate, pre-advanced etc...

however i m confused that y there are different no. of hours needed by each school to complete Elementary 1 and 2. this is a table summary of what i have found out and would like to seek advice on how to judge which will provide the needed lessons to enable me to at least speak after elementary 1 and 2.

but i must say that Ikoma is really expensive, due to the long hours needed to complete basic 1 and 2.

Ikoma (basic 1 and 2)
- 120hrs @ $1200 (3hrs x 40 lessons)

Bunka (elementary 1 and 2)
- 51 hrs @ $540 (3hrs x 17 lessons)

Hougang (beginner 1 and 2)
- 84hrs @ $410 (2hrs each lesson, est 10mths to complete)

pls advise which school will be able to cover more specific areas of the language.
thanks!
Tsubasa
Tsubasa10
Singapore, SG
Post #: 437
Hi,

I personally prefer Ikoma or Hougang will be better. As the textbook that both schools are using are covering a more rounded course.

For Bunka, you need to count up to Intermediate 2 as that's until the N5 level.

For Hougang, you need to count Intermediate 1 as that's until N5.

If you have qns, pls feel free to email me.
wy
user 3349532
Singapore, SG
Post #: 62
Yeah, Tsubasa is right in that you can't compare the schools by just looking at their first 2 courses. Each school is structured differently and Basic/Elementary/Beginner 1 don't mean the same thing. If you just look at the hours, Bunka's Elementary 1&2 is less than half that of Ikoma's Basic 1&2, so you can't expect them to cover the same amount of materials.

As for which school is better, I'd beg to differ from the view that Bunka isn't as good as the other two. I've heard rave reviews about Bunka and I've seen students from there who speak really well. Their order of teaching is rather different and does not follow the JLPT order (I think you might learn things from N4 first before some things from N5 are covered), and generally I've heard that their focus is more on speaking than grammar, so people who want to take the JLPT exam may end up hopping to other schools.

Personally, I'd choose a school by how likely I am to stick with the school in the long run, as language is something that requires relatively consistent and long-term effort to acquire. So I would look at things like accessibility (is it near my workplace/school/home) and financing (can I continue paying the course fees or will this eat up all my savings).

Regarding your criterion of 'at least speak', well, you will probably be able to do that after the first few lessons no matter which school you go to, though you'd only be saying things like 'Good morning, I am XX, nice to meet you' and 'I go to school. I eat rice.'

If you want to say some (maybe about half) of your thoughts/opinions like 'This dress looks nice on you' and 'That shop's service is lousy, they should train their staff properly', then you might need to be at least intermediate/pre-advanced level. If you want to be able to express most of your thoughts/opinions including things like 'The government should do something about the floods and falling trees, it's really affecting the people's livelihoods', then you would need to be quite far advanced in your grasp of the language.

My 2 yen. Good luck!
Tsubasa
Tsubasa10
Singapore, SG
Post #: 438

generally I've heard that their focus is more on speaking than grammar, so people who want to take the JLPT exam may end up hopping to other schools.

wenyan, let me correct this part.

Bunka's focus is first on Grammar, then when you reach Pre-advance, then the speaking part comes in, unlike other schools, where it is a well-rounded system.

Also, if you would like to end classes halfway with Bunka, it is hard for you to jump to other schools and study due to syllabus difference. For Hougang and Ikoma, both schools are using similar publications of the same book, Minna no Nihongo.

So do consider carefully. =)
wy
user 3349532
Singapore, SG
Post #: 63

generally I've heard that their focus is more on speaking than grammar, so people who want to take the JLPT exam may end up hopping to other schools.

wenyan, let me correct this part.

Bunka's focus is first on Grammar, then when you reach Pre-advance, then the speaking part comes in, unlike other schools, where it is a well-rounded system.

Also, if you would like to end classes halfway with Bunka, it is hard for you to jump to other schools and study due to syllabus difference. For Hougang and Ikoma, both schools are using similar publications of the same book, Minna no Nihongo.

So do consider carefully. =)

Well, Bunka's syllabus is said to be very grammar intensive in their elementary 1&2, but I won't go so far as to say that the speaking part only comes in when you reach pre-advance, as I personally know a friend who studied all her Japanese at Bunka and could speak pretty decently when she was still at intermediate. If the learner is only limiting herself to the first 2 courses regardless of price/duration, then Bunka might lose out as they spend more of their limited time on grammar rather than speaking, but as long as he/she sticks with the school for about 100hrs at least, then each school is competitive in that it has its pros and cons. Bunka does assume that you want to learn beyond E1&2, that's why they structure their courses that way, so that they can get most of the grammar conjugations out of the way early and focus on speaking (which ideally translates to more efficient learning of speaking at the higher levels).

As for jumping school, I don't think that should be a factor here as it is my view that people shouldn't choose a school thinking they'll switch school any moment, but should choose one that they think they can stick with as long as possible. Portability to other schools would only be a problem if that school is pretty small and doesn't offer higher levels, which is not really a concern for Bunka.

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of Bunka, but I just didn't want people to go away with the impression that Ikoma and Hougang are absolutely better than Bunka. Each school has its own strengths and I don't think we should say things like 'of course XX is better than YY'. We're all just here to offer the facts we know and opinions we have, but not to pass judgement nor make decisions for others =)
Tsubasa
Tsubasa10
Singapore, SG
Post #: 439
i am not trying to pass judgement here, but to share what i know, based on my experiences with students from all 3 schools for the past 3 yrs... In the end it's up to the individual. i'll withdraw what i said earlier bout the "of course" portion.

There are good cases and bad cases. Happens in all schools.
If the student doesn't want to work hard to study/revise his/her work, no matter what school he/she goes, the result will still be the same.

Do consider carefully.

Portability to other schools would only be a problem if that school is pretty small and doesn't offer higher levels, which is not really a concern for Bunka.

wenyan, are you sure this doesn't happen for Bunka?


wy
user 3349532
Singapore, SG
Post #: 64
i am not trying to pass judgement here, but to share what i know, based on my experiences with students from all 3 schools for the past 3 yrs... In the end it's up to the individual.

There are good cases and bad cases. Happens in all schools.
If the student doesn't want to work hard to study/revise his/her work, no matter what school he/she goes, the result will still be the same.

Do consider carefully.

Portability to other schools would only be a problem if that school is pretty small and doesn't offer higher levels, which is not really a concern for Bunka.

wenyan, are you sure this doesn't happen for Bunka?


Yeah I know you're just trying to share, but well, you did say something* that made Bunka sound like a really lousy school and that was why I felt compelled to highlight the strengths of Bunka. *Oops just realized you withdrew the statement. Anyway, peace =)

I've been to all 3 schools at some point in time, and I rank Ikoma and Bunka as tied top. I think Bunka is pretty well-covered till sufficiently advanced levels. We have Victor here who was from Bunka all the way, he's one of the best non-native speakers of Japanese I know, and I think he can vouch for Bunka. I hear rumours of teachers quitting, but I also hear that the head teacher is quite steadfastly enforcing the school's standards so I doubt the school will crumble any time soon. In fact, I'm seriously contemplating going to Bunka's classes to keep in touch with my Japanese, and I have just recommended the school to my bro who will start elementary lessons there in Sep.

Anyway, it's as you said, regardless of which school you choose, you'll still need to put in consistent effort. That's why I recommend choosing whichever school you think you can stick with longer =)
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