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5 Ways to Learn Students' Names: Advice for Teachers

5 Ways to Learn Students' Names: Advice for Teachers

Most teachers understand the importance of learning students names by heart. But if you have large classes or teach across a range of subjects, you could face the problem of memorizing hundreds of students monikers. The following tips should help you master this daunting task.

  1. Call students by their preferred names. A shortened version of their first name, or an acceptable nickname, may help it stick in your memory. If it's a nickname, make sure you understand its meaning before you use it. Saying something rude may be fun for the class but will undermine your reputation and authority.
  2. Use students' names each time you talk to them. Not only is it a great way to make sure you have their attention, but it will help reinforce the memory and associate the name with the student in your mind. When meeting a class for the first time, ask their names and repeat each student's name as you thank them.
  3. Associating students with places can help you recall their names. Make a seating plan and write students' names next to the places they sit. You need not show the students the plan, but remember to update it if the situation changes.
  4. For the first few days, there's no reason you can't ask your students to wear name labels, or have a card with their name on perched in front of them in class. You won't want to rely on this method, but it can help at the start. You can also put your own name on the teacher's desk.
  5. Knowing students' full names is helpful. Remembering their surnames can help you make the connection when you are introduced to their parents. But take it one step at a time. Learn their forenames first as you build a rapport with them and add their surnames later.

Faced with hundreds of names to learn the task can seem overwhelming. But thousands of teachers achieve good student recognition and name association by using these methods. Don't expect to learn everyone's names in one go. Take your time. As you repeat names and build relationships with your students, you'll have no more trouble remembering them than the teaching staff, your friends and relatives.


Credits: Austin G. Hackney


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