SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 31 May 2021 – ONLYOU Korean Language School has announced its plan to focus on its online Korean courses in the wake of tightening measures from the Singapore government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The Korean language school experienced a relatively smooth transition to online classes last year, with the development of online, face-to-face software, such as Zoom, providing the teachers with the flexibility to customise their lessons with the same engagement and active interactions as an on-site classroom. This successful switch has encouraged the school to place greater emphasis on online learning following the latest restrictions announced by the government.
The shift to online learning has made it possible for some students who have travelled abroad to continue their Korean learning journey online. Despite initial concerns about a virtual classroom, reception to the switch has been largely positive. Many students were encouraged by the numerous interactions between them and their teachers and the continuation of the non-conventional approach to their lessons.
Various on-site class activities focused on oral interaction have been successfully integrated into the online classes. For example, students are often paired into several groups to discuss and practise their Korean together. This activity occurs multiple times in each lesson. Additionally, they are also tasked with creating presentation slides that they have to present to the class. Their classmates then take turns asking questions about their presentation afterwards.
The teachers have also sought to incorporate several game activities such as role-play, where participants are assigned the roles of shopkeeper and customer. The pair then have to communicate with each other in Korean to mimic the selling and purchasing of daily goods in real life. Learning also extends beyond the walls of the virtual classrooms as the teachers have created various group chat sessions to encourage students to communicate with each other using the Korean expressions they learned in class. Even with online learning barriers, ONLYOU has continued to find ways to motivate students to practise their Korean and clarify any doubts they have during their online classes.
However, this change has also brought about various logistical hurdles that had to be navigated to ensure the shift occurred without a hitch. Every student was required to download an e-learning platform to facilitate the switch to online learning. The teachers and students also had to get to grips with the new software and its various features due to their unfamiliarity with the platform. To resolve this issue, the school came up with an instructional video guide and distributed it to the staff and students to assist them with any problems they face with the software. The platform has also allowed the students to inform their teachers when they require assistance via the ‘ask for help’ feature. This prompt has benefitted both parties as the nature of the online class made it challenging for the teachers to observe every student and respond promptly to any queries.
Additionally, the switch to online learning has resulted in a change in the school’s teaching approach. In a classroom setting, the teachers often utilised physical resources, such as a whiteboard, to illustrate grammar rules and display useful information. However, upon realising the challenge in getting their students to concentrate when faced with a cluttered screen, the teachers had to revise their teaching materials and ensure they are neatly organised to reduce confusion and enhance their students’ concentration.
Multiple learning resources, such as animation and PowerPoint slides, are also utilised to capture students’ attention and aid learning. In addition, the teachers have continued to incorporate popular Korean songs and television dramas into their online lessons to spark interest, given the students’ past receptiveness to this learning method. Finally, to ensure that its students are constantly exposed to the Korean language, the school has also utilised mobile applications to allow them to revise what they have learned so that their Korean do not get rusty.
Noting the popularity of this class format among several students, ONLYOU states it is considering the possibility of making its online classes a permanent option if demand persists.
Founded in 2017, ONLYOU Korean Language School specialises in delivering high-quality Korean courses that cater to a wide range of learning preferences. It currently offers Foundation and Regular group classes, as well as private one-to-one learning sessions to meet various student needs.
For more information about ONLYOU’s online classes, please visit https://www.onlyou.sg/korean-classes-singapore/.