(Fujita): Hello, everyone watching this video. Welcome to WEEK 7 of our “Interactive Teaching” Skill Sessions series. Today is our second question and answer session, where we’ll be answering more questions from you. Hello, everyone. (Students) Hello. (Fujita) This is the second question and answer session. Today’s topic is how to control the classroom. How should you communicate with your students in class? I want you to tell us your questions, concerns, or doubts related to that topic. Have you all got questions ready? Anyone can go first. OK, you’re up. (Student) You said that it’s important to identify the leader when trying to control the class, and I very much agree. But in the example you showed us, the leader was talking all the time, and I don’t have that type of student in my class. So could you give me any other ways to find out who the leader is, other than whether or not they’re talking? (Fujita) Thank you. The question is, how to spot the leader. Leaders are likely to be watching everyone else in the class all the time. They don’t do things alone. So, for example, people usually sit and look straight ahead, but leaders tend to sit a little sideways and open their body. So even if they’re not talking, you’ll easily be able to recognize the person who seems distracted by the person next to them and others around them. It depends on how much experience you have, but you should be able to work out where the leader is. To sum up, as far as appearance goes, focus on the openness of the body. Another effective way of doing it is to observe the leader before the class, isn’t that right? Watanabe (W): Yes, I think so. While I’m preparing for the start of a class or workshop, I can usually identify the most conspicuous person, the one with the loudest voice, or the one who’s attracting the most attention from other people. Then I focus on that person. If that’s too difficult, I get the students woving by starting a discussion activity during the session, and then I can easily work out who the leader is. (Fujita)Yoshida-san, I know you’re the leader in this room. I can feel the atmosphere. (Student) I'm being watched! (Fujita) Yes. I knew it as soon as you came into the classroom. It may sound strange, but somehow I usually feel pretty sure about it. I hope you gain enough experience to be able to do the same. Does that help? (Student) Thanks very much. (Fujita) Thank you. Let’s go on to the next question. (Student) I also wanted to ask a question about the first class you teach. The scene you showed us in the previous session showed the eager student, the leader, and the uncooperative student from the instructor’s point of view, and the instructor started by approaching the eager student and the leader. However, in some of the classes at the university, often in the compulsory subjects, all the students seem to be uncooperative. I was worried that nobody will raise their hand even if I ask them to. That might be the worst-case scenario, but what should I do in that case? (Fujita) I've experienced a lot of cases like that. Nobody meets my eyes. Nobody raises their hand even if I ask them to. That often happens. In that case, too, it is important to keep trying to encourage interaction patiently. For example, asking them to raise their hands is still the simplest method. Don’t ask a question that allows students to choose whether to put their hands up or not. You have to start with a simple question that forces them to raise their hands. If you want everyone to raise their hands, For example, I would ask a question like this: “Today, I’d like to start with a simple question, not a difficult one. Think about it carefully, everyone. It's about a scene of this morning. Are you ready? For thos who woke up this morning, please raise your hands. Here you go. Yes, yes. I see. If you ask a question like that, there shouldn’t be anyone who doesn’t put their hand up. You all got up and that’s why you’re here now. So, if you notice anyone who didn’t raise their hand, you can approach that person and talk to them by asking something like, “Are you still asleep, then?” Everyone will raise their hands, want to be bothered by you. They’ll respond if they find the idea of you talking to them like that annoying, so start with that and gradually make them feel more relaxed. Doing this in stages is important. You get quite nervous in those kinds of situations, right? (Watanabe) Yes, I get nervous. (Fujita) When you can’t communicate with anyone like this. Even so, you still have to be patient. (Watanabe) Yes, exactly. And while I’m waiting, I often try to build a network starting with one person I got to open up instead of trying to involve the whole class at once. I can gradually build a network by saying things like, “So that’s what you think,” to them, and then asking another person who’s uncooperative but who seems to agree with me something like, “That’s what they think, but what about you?” Once a student is asked something and answers, they start getting involved in the class and start thinking about the class. Starting with just a small triangular relationship enriches the whole atmosphere of the classroom. (Fujita) Yes, patience is important. Once you and your students have established an atmosphere that allows them not to raise their hands, you’ll never get close to them. Therefore, I think you should be determined to get your students to raise their hands and participate in the class at the very beginning. OK? (Student) Yes, thank you. (Fujita) OK. Let’s move on to the next question. Go ahead. (Student) In the scene you showed us, the person sitting next to the leader couldn’t speak at all, because the leader was talking the whole time. Is there anything you can do to improve the balance of participation in the classroom? How to encourage people around the leader to speak up. (Fujita) OK. That’s quite difficult, especially if you try to solve this problem right away, because the people near the leader are likely to keep their eyes on the leader’s mood. They’re wary of standing out in a way that might harm their relationship with the leader later on. In that case, it’s important to reassure them with your eyes. In the scene I showed you, the leader even answered for the person sitting next to her when they were asked their name. In that case, too, make eye contact with the person sitting next to the leader who’s being overwhelmed, and reassure them. Try to create a relationship of mutual trust by letting that person realize that you are truly acknowledging them. Then, they will gradually be able to speak in a more relaxed way when they’re given a chance to express their opinion. Another way to approach this is to have a short break. Breaks are very useful, because if you talk to the person while they’re away from the leader, you’ll be able to establish a friendly rapport with them for the next session after the break. OK? (Student) Yes. (Fujita) Thank you. Next question. (Student) From the performance, I got the impression that it’s very important for the instructor to get close to the students, but in a large classroom, the aisle is often blocked with bags and other things and it can be physically difficult for the instructor to approach the students. How should you talk to the students in that kind of situation? (Fujita) I see. This session is being held in quite a spacious classroom environment, but you may have to teach your class in a classroom crammed with desks or a lecture theater, where you may not be able to walk around. In that case, again, using your eyes is important. For example, if you want to talk to the students in the third row, fix your eyes on the third row. That way, even if you can’t actually approach them physically, you can create a space by bringing your mind to where they are. Walking is an action, but what creates a space is actually your intention to walk, so even if you can’t move to see the students up close, your eyes can focus on different parts of the classroom. It’s the same with your voice. Direct your voice not only here, but over there. In this way, you can make it clear to the students that they do exist in this space. Anything else to add? (Watanabe) Another way of approaching it is to ask honest questions like, “Can you hear me? OK, thank you,” to the students sitting in the back of the room. I think continually communicating to them that, “I see you, I acknowledge you” is the key to keeping the class attention, so I communicate with someone directly by asking, “Did you understand what I just said?” (Fujita) In a class of 300 or so students, I try to create a special relationship with the students sitting in the back of the classroom, which is different from the relationship with those at the front, by giving them a sign like, “Please raise your hand if you can hear me. OK? (Student) Yes, thank you. (Fujita) Next question? (Student) Oh, I have another question. (Fujita) It’s you again! You really are a leader. Go ahead. (Student) You said that the students’ reactions are important, and I was wondering if there are any ways to check those reactions. I assume there must be. Could you tell us a little about that? (Fujita) As I mentioned, the main thing is how their body is positioned. It might only be a slight difference, but you can tell if they have a positive or negative attitude toward me by their posture. I think posture is one reference point. Others include whether you’re able to make eye contact with them or not, and their facial expression. Students give subtle signs with their facial expressions, and it’s very important to be in the right frame of mind to be able to tell the difference. If you are troubled with other thoughts, you’re not in the right frame of mind, and you won’t notice the signs. You can prepare your mind by spending a short time concentrating your mind before the class, and then you’ll be able to pick up on all kinds of feelings and signs during the class that you can’t usually. I recommend you try maintaining this kind of mental balance. Do you have anything else to add? (Watanabe) As far as reactions are concerned, there is a way of measuring the atmosphere in the classroom that I’d like to recommend. Develop a gimmick or routine of some sort that you’re sure will make people laugh. I’ve found this to be a good tool. This is how it works. I can use my little routine to find out if the students aren’t relaxed yet, or if some people laugh, I then feel more at ease myself. Ichiro makes a habit of doing exactly the same movement every time he comes up to bat. Having something to perform in the lead-in stage, where you can anticipate the reaction to some extent, will help you teach the class more smoothly. (Fujita) And your comedic shtick may sometimes turn everyone off. (Watanabe) Yes, yes, that’s what happens! (Fujita) Don’t worry about that. (Watanabe) Exactly. (Fujita) If you get no reaction at all, you can say, “Is this thing on? You guys are the best silent movie I’ve ever seen." (Watanabe) Yes! (Fujita) You can do anything. The point is how you get out of a pinch and turn it into a chance. Gain the experience and the skills to manage the situation. It’s important to have a strong will to turn the situation around no matter what happens. Yes, this often happens. (Watanabe) It really does. At first, seeing everyone bored stiff was extremely frightening, but gradually I started to feel pleasure in it. I could say things like, “I’ve put you all off. Yes, I can tell. You must be wondering what this weird man’s doing teaching this class, but hopefully we’ll all be good friends by the end,” and get on with the workshop. (Fujita) OK? (Student) When you say you notice the differences in facial expression, do you mean that you notice when someone grins a little bit after you tell a joke? (Fujita) The important thing is whether your facial expression spreads to the student or not. (Student) Ah, I see. (Fujita) For example, suppose that you’re smiling – you’ll be able to know whether your smile has transferred to the students by looking to see if they’re smiling too. See if their faces change when you suddenly stop smiling, or if they breathe deeply when you suddenly open your mouth or your eyes wide. Whether or not the listener’s reactions are in sync with your actions can also be used as a barometer. Do you see what I mean? (Student) Thank you. (Fujita) The next question will be the last one. OK, you. Go ahead. Yes. (Student) Do you have any techniques for attracting the students’ attention in a clever way when someone is asleep, or when the classroom is noisy because all the students are talking? (Fujita) It’s certainly difficult to handle a noisy classroom. It sometimes takes quite a long time for the students to quieten down. In that situation, I often say something like, “I’m going to ask the last person to stop talking to become the assistant for today’s class." And now I’m going to wait. Then, the classroom falls silent right away. Create a situation that makes the students stop sleeping or chatting. It’s important to prevent this problem from occurring, but if it does, the important thing is to put the people in question front and center in the conversation as much as possible. If you ignore them, they’ll think that they won’t get in trouble even if they’re noisy. That means they feel as if they don’t exist in the classroom. Put them in the spotlight and create a situation that allows them to participate easily. When we talk about Active Learning, I think the crucial point is how much you create an atmosphere of inclusion to make everyone feel that they’re participating in the class. OK? Are there any other questions? OK. That concludes our question and answer session on classroom management. Thank you.