How to Interact More with Students

Write questions on post-it notes that you’d like students to ask you. Then, during break times you can stand in the hallway near areas where students congregate and hand them to curious students. Signal them to ask you the question. After they have initiated the conversation with the question, you can take it where ever you want to go.

Use sticky notes to initiate conversations with your students

As you’ve probably noticed, Japanese students tend to bunch up in groups when talking in the hallways. You can use this to your advantage in two ways. One, if they don’t know how to answer a question, usually their friend can give them advice. Two, after they have talked with you, they can ask each other.

What are your ideas for getting more communication in with your students?


  1. Interacting with my JHS students is tricky business, especially because they want to talk to me, but have no idea what to say. Usually I exchange a few words, the students convert to full-Japanese, and then the conversation falls apart and we part ways.

    I’ve never thought about giving them questions to ask me…. but I’m sure there is some way I could make it cool. My kids love cool stuff and basically expect me to be very strange and fun. Thinking about it now, I could easily modify the design of the cards (inspired by MTG) I have designed as rewards for my 1nen students. If I did this and created a special question deck to carry around with me, it would certainly dispel the awkward feeling. If I have kids pick a card and put strange questions on them, I bet the kids would find it super-fun.

    Thank you for inspiring me! Another project for my down-time (^_^

    • Thanks for the cool comments, Terry. This little trick has seriously transformed my ability to interact with students in the hallway. Now that it’s winter, though, I must admit that it’s been a little hard to leave the cozy sanctuary that is the heated teacher’s room. But I’m gonna keep it up, especially once spring hits.

      Cooler post-it notes is a good idea. It would make the whole thing that much more intriguing. Let me know how it goes and how you re-mix the idea.

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