It’s only been about a week and I can tell that Level 4 is gonna be fab.
First off, unlike level 3 in which there are 15 chapters spanning two textbooks, Level 4 only has 10 chapters in ONE textbook. Each chapter has three new grammar points and one dialogue as opposed to Level 3’s 4 grammar points and two dialogues per chapter. The second part of each chapter in the Level 4 textbook is dedicated to 토의 (discussion), and as usual, the third and last part of each chapter is reading/writing. Because there are fewer grammar points (and even vocab words!) to cram into our brains, the pacing of Level 4 is slower and more enjoyable, unlike that struggle bus called Level 3. You actually–dare I say–get to PRACTICE, your Korean instead of regurgitating what you just memorized the night before.
The new discussion section gives students a chance to talk in groups about a given problem or situation, formalize their thoughts, and then present them to the class. For example, one discussion was about how to build and maintain healthy relationships; this required us to come up with Do’s and Don’t’s for making friends and the reasoning behind each. (Haha, they’re asking ME?) Another discussion was about solving roommate issues, and for this one, half of the discussion group argued person A’s point of view and the other argued person B’s point of view. In the end we had to come up with some concrete solutions for this dysfunctional pair of roommates (one solution may or may not have been just to find another roomie….) Flipping through the book, it looks like there are some great discussion/debate topics. I’m looking forward to spending one day out of the week doing 토의.
And the talking doesn’t stop at 토의. We have to present newspaper articles in Korean and discuss them as a class. We usually discuss possible writing topics in detail before putting pen to paper. (This also results in us spending less time wracking our brains for writing ideas at home. Major PLUS.) Even when learning grammar points, we are no longer reading example sentences from a powerpoint; we’re given the beginning of a sentence and then encouraged to complete it ourselves. There’s no way you can slide by silent in class because the teacher calls on EVERYONE to talk. It keeps you on your toes, forces you to use your Korean, and it’s fun.
Supplemental material like clips for Korean movies, TV shows, music videos adds to the fun and teach us a bit more about Korean culture. All in all, it’s nice not to stare blankly at a page all day. It kind of pisses me off that they don’t do these kinds of activities in Level 3. I think it’s especially unfair because there are lots of people (on Light Fellowship or otherwise) who are only in Korea for one semester. If you’re stuck in Level 3, you’ll get jam-packed with grammar, vocab, but you could essentially do these things on your own time with no time to put those things in action during the four hours you’re sitting in class. It’d be fan-freaking-tastic if there were more class discussions, presentations, and supplemental material in Level 3 so those students can get the most out of their time in class too. Now that I know Ewha’s classes can be fun and engaging, I’m giving Level 3 some serious side eye.
Anyway, rant over. Really, Level 3 wasn’t that terrible, but it could definitely be better. I’m sure a lot of other factors (my living situation, lack of sleep, etc) also influenced my experience in Level 3. This quarter, I’m going to bed earlier, eating a healthy and filling breakfast everyday, and I’m hearing Korean before and after school. I’m just ~primed~ for learning right now. I actually bought supplemental material for my school-given supplemental material. Man, if I had been like this all throughout college, can you imagine what I would have accomplished? I could’ve had a 4.0 as a triple major, cured cancer, and become a world-famous contortionist or something…Alas.