The Duke Language School is a school located in Bangkok, Thailand. The target language they teach is Thai. Today I took a free class from them to asses how the course is. In the following, I’ll talk about their exact location and general appearance, how they seem to teach their classes and why I chose to go with another school. Spoiler alert, I went with another school because of scheduling.
The Duke Language School is located off of Sukhumvit Road near the Nana BTS stop. It is in a medium-sized office building where they are located on the third floor. It’s difficult to miss, because their location takes up nearly one-quarter of the floor. Many of the classes have a large window to the rest of the building, so if you’re walking by during class time you can see the classes in action. Overall the location and their leased area was clean and orderly. Upon entering their office I was greeted and arranged to take a free class for one hour. After the assessment, I quickly realized that the Pimsleur course by itself would not cut it and I need a lot more exposure to the language.
The class was quite full, with students. Even though there were only about 10 students the “U” shaped seating arrangement made it feel cramped. The class I observed had completed about 5 days of the beginner course or about 15 hours. Honestly, it was pretty impressive their range of speaking. Everyone there seemed to have a better grasp on the language than I do. A couple of students even seemed too advanced for the current course they were in. One of those students explained how he studies the material every morning before class. The class was conducted in mostly Thai. I would guess about 98% in Thai. The students had a lot of interaction with the instructor and each other. The school uses romanization for their written material. They had at least 9 different courses with a proprietary book for each course. The majority of this hour that I observed was spent with the students asking each other what they did yesterday: where they went, what they ate, how much was it, did they like it, etc. The dialogue wasn’t completely scripted but they all stayed on mostly the same topic. The last portion of the class was spent reviewing some picture flashcards.
They organize their classes to start at the beginning of the month and to end towards the end of each month. This was the main reason I was unable to enroll in the current beginner course. Well, that and it was already full.
Please remember this is a first impression from a one hour class, but I think this would have been a wonderful beginner course for me to take. In fact, I’ll look into their longer courses and inquire about their education visa assistance. The course’s strongest point would appear to how much of it is conducted in the target language. The course’s weakest point seems to be how much Thai you hear from non-native speakers. In my opinion, I think hearing the language spoken by native speakers is more beneficial than hearing it from other students.