Knowing and using students’ names in the classroom is a fundamental way to build a community of engaged learners; there’s something very powerful in the connection created by being addressed by name. But learning all our students’ names is one of the most challenging tasks for us as teachers, made more difficult by ever-increasing class sizes (and, for some of us, by our ever-increasing age). I have a colleague who managed to do it with a class of over 100 students by the end of week two. While most of us will remain humbled by his prowess, here are some ideas for learning student names relatively quickly:
- Ask them to use their name each time they speak in class, and repeat their names in your responses.
- Have students create name tags or tent cards. You can hand these out at the beginning of each class period, reinforcing your retention by calling their names. (This also doubles as an attendance-taking device—the cards left in your hand are absentees.)
- Use photos. Use the photos in the online roster, or have students bring in a photo on a 3’x 5’ index card, on which they can also write information that will help you remember them, or take a photo of student groups if they will be in semester long cohorts. Write names above each face in the group photos and pin them up in your office for frequent reference.
- Break it down. Have students sit in the same seats day to day, and learn one quadrant of the room per week.
- Make a commitment to learning their names, and work at it, using whatever techniques work for you.
More ideas for learning names can be found here, and more still in some of the teaching resource books here in MLIB 458.
And as a reminder, there’s still time to register for TODAY’S CELT WORKSHOP:
“Building Traditional Assessments (live or online): A QOLT-Friendly Approach”
Presented by Ben Seipel, 3-5 pm in MLIB 002 TLP Training Lab
Description: Maybe you have never been trained professionally to write quizzes, exams, or other types of assessments. Or perhaps you just want to see what other formats, configurations, and approaches exist. Possibly you want some guidance on transferring your face-to-face assessments into the Blackboard Learn platform. If any of these resonate, then this hands-on workshop is for you! Bring a sample assessment with you.
*Authored by Dr. Katherine McCarthy.