According to expert instructors, learning the name of your students can help to build a better teaching environment. However, the task seems overwhelming if you have a huge class.
Most teachers are advised to learn the names of their students. But they don’t get any real help regarding the methods of learning names.
Though seems impossible for many teachers, it is possible to use unique strategies in your classroom to learn all students’ names.
Students want to feel valued in classrooms. This sense of being valued leads to more interest in the course and allows students to perform better.
So, a small act of learning and using the correct names can take the performance of your students to a whole new level.
Let’s discuss all those strategies:
1. Assign Seats For Initial Weeks
When a new semester begins, you struggle the most to remember names. Moreover, matching names with the faces of every student becomes another task for your mind while teaching.
Your mind creates a map for every name and face with respect to the location in the class you first see a student. You can use this ability of your mind to learn the names of your student.
2. Ask Students to Introduce Themselves Before Speaking
This is another method you can apply while teaching during a new semester.
This is the time when everybody in a classroom is stranger to others. Both students and the instructors want to know each other. This task can help in doing so.
For the first 5 classes, you can request students to introduce themselves with their name before speaking.
This will help you learn names and it will also allow your students to know each other. You can motivate students by introducing yourself every time you begin your class for the first few days.
3. Repeat the Names of your Students
While teaching, instructors are supposed to interact with students consistently. So, whenever you want to ask a question or interact with a particular student, call him or her by the name.
Don’t feel worried about addressing a student with a wrong name. Just apologize and say the right name again. This will actually show that you are interested in knowing your students.
Students like interactive teachers and they definitely love if you open a conversational gate with them.
4. Ask to Submit Assignments with Name and Picture
Assignments are a part of teaching and learning in the classroom. While it helps students practice what they have learned, you can use such assignments to learn the names of your students.
Ask every student to paste a small self-image along with the name on the front of the assignment copy. Do this activity with every assignment and you will start remembering the names of all your students.
5. Conduct a Name Quiz
You can begin your class with a fun quiz regarding the names of everyone in the room.
If your students are young children, they will enjoy such a quiz. You can give about 10 minutes every day figuring out who is who in your class.
On the first day, make a list of all the names after the first interaction with students.
Then, from the next day, you can see the name in your list and guess the face of the student. You will make a few mistakes, but it will be fun for your students.
6. Ask Every Student to Say his/her name along with one Characteristic
You can learn the students’ names faster if you associate them with a unique characteristic. But you shouldn’t characterize students, as it presents the risk of stereotyping.
On the contrary, you can ask students to tell their names and describe themselves with one characteristic.
This activity will associate each name with a character in your mind. So, you can remember the name as well as the face of your students. It might require several recalls of those characteristics in the classroom.
7. Know Students in Pairs
In classes, students tend to sit with their best friends. Most students sit in pairs in the classroom and enjoy sitting in the same order.
This habit can help you remember names in pairs. You can ask students to introduce themselves as well as the partner sitting next to him or her. Then, ask the other student to do the same.
So, for example, a student can say-
“Hi, my name is Stacy and this my friend Crystal.”
Then, Crystal can follow the same process-
“Hi, my name is Crystal and this is my friend Stacy.”
Follow the same process with the whole class.
8. Ask students to describe their best physical feature
When meeting your students for the first time, you can request them to describe their best physical feature.
For instance, a student can say, “My name is Jim, I am the tallest in the class.” Similarly, another student can say, “My name is Jemma and I smile a lot.”
Associating names with a physical feature will help you remind yourself the correct names.
You will have to start calling students with their own physical features. So, “Jim, the tall guy” or “Jemma, the cute smile” will help with learning the names.
However, you have to make sure that students are comfortable with this approach of yours. If you notice any tension, avoid this method.
9. Ask Students to Write their Aspirations in One Sentence
When you know a person better, learning names and remembering faces become easier. This is why you don’t forget the name of celebrities. You can try to know your students better in order to remember their names.
For that, you can interview every student and ask them to write their names on a paper along with their aspiration in one sentence.
So, a student can write-
“I am George and I want to become a pilot.”
After all, students complete this task, ask their aspirations one by one along with their names.
Interact more and know why they have chosen an aspiration. So, you can ask- “Wow George! You want to be a pilot. What do you like the most about being a pilot?”
Such exercises will get you closer to your students. You will understand the personality traits of each student.
10. Assign Group-based Classroom Tasks
When you have a classroom of 250 students, learning names get pretty hectic. You can resolve the stress by dividing your classroom into several working groups. Each group can have 9 to 10 students working on classroom assignments.
This group division will eventually help you work on face visualization and remembering a few names.
11. Include students in your teaching process
Generally, you teach and students learn in your classroom. But why not let students indulge in the teaching process as well?! You can share your teaching responsibilities with a few students.
For example, if you are teaching literature and language, you can say, “George, you will point out how many times I use an incorrect pronunciation of words.”
Similarly, you can choose a responsibility according to your subject and share it with your students. This is an effective way of learning the names of your students.
12. Motivate Students to Know Each other
“What a great point, I totally agree with her.”
“What’s her name?”
With such style of interactions, you can motivate other students to know each other. The same process will allow you to associate students and their personalities with names.
“It was a great point raised by Stella yesterday. Where is she sitting today?”
Such interactive statements will help you remind yourself the name and the face of a student on a daily basis.
Are You Ready?!
Teaching is a critical job, which requires you to help students in the learning process in every possible way.
Learning students’ names might seem a difficult task, but you can bring great benefits to your class with this effort.
Your interaction with students become more comfortable for students.
They feel interested in the class and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Plus, if you take interest in learning their names, students start remembering names of other classmates as well. This creates a sense of unity and allows the whole class to learn as a group.
Hopefully, you feel ready to apply some of the methods offered in this article to learn the names of your students.
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