Breakout Rooms

During shimbokukai sessions, after a warmup game with the entire group, we use Breakout Session in Zoom to stimulate conversation. During a breakout session, Sensei divides students into small groups, who can convene in a separate chat room to talk among themselves. As there are fewer people per group (3-4), we all get more opportunity to speak and can talk more freely and naturally. It might also be less intimidating for more reserved students than speaking in a large group.

These sessions are very helpful to practice natural conversation patterns, especially as every group contains a native speaker of Japanese. The students can ask this native speaker questions and have a real conversation while learning more about Japan. Sensei might choose a topic for each group to discuss to practice specific vocabulary, or we can talk freely. We can also change groups multiple times during each shimbokukai, so there is a lot of interesting conversation to be had. Sensei can control the various breakout rooms, send messages to each one, and switch up the groups. This way, we use all the advantages of Zoom to get the most out of each session. – Maya