[Itech] Fwd: TP Msg. #1198 Learning Student Names

Teresa Franklin franklit at ohio.edu
Fri Sep 28 11:04:01 EDT 2012

Hello Graduates:

Something for you to think about when you become professors! :)

Dr. Franklin

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rick Reis <reis at stanford.edu>
Date: Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Subject: TP Msg. #1198 Learning Student Names
To: tomorrows-professor <tomorrows-professor at lists.stanford.edu>

Personally return assignments to your students during individual or group
activities. While this can be time consuming at first, it allows you to
associate written names with faces. It also allows you to associate the
work, style, penmanship, etc. with the student.

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The posting below gives some great tips on learning student names,
something that can make a real difference in faculty-student
communications. It is by Rick Sheridan, assistant professor of
communication at Wilberforce University in Ohio*.


Rick Reis
reis at stanford.edu
UP NEXT: Quantitative and Qualitative and Assessment Methods

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

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Learning Students Names

Teachers who are slow in learning the names of their students often tend to
be rated as uninspired and uninspiring. Teachers cannot claim to be
concerned about how well their students learn if they themselves do not try
as hard as they can to show they care about one of the most important
possessions anyone can have in a mass civilization: a face and a name. This
article goes over several ways to quickly learn student’s names. The author
recommends that you try out several of these methods to find the one that
works best for you.

Before Coming To Class, Read The Class Roster Several Times. Focus on the
last names and honorifics (Mr./Ms.). Memorize as many of them as you can.
Then you can concentrate on looking for Williams and remembering what he or
she looks like. At this point there is no need to focus on the first, or
given names. That just increases memory burden without yielding initial

Provide A Student Survey During The First Class- On the first day give a
brief survey that asks for a name and e-mail address (or favorite sport,
etc.). Be sure to include an open-ended essay question about backgrounds
and expectations. Allow students at least 15 minutes of writing time. While
the students are busy writing, study their faces, clothing styles, posture,
or anything that you can use to personalize the individual student.

Set Up A Mnemonic Position Chart- The first row on your left "A", the
second row, "B" and so on. Students often return to the same seat they sat
in during the first class, (or somewhere close by).  Then, starting with
position "A1," ask the students to introduce themselves and say a few words
about themselves and their expectations for the course. While listening as
carefully as possible to what student "A1" is saying, find the name on the
class roster and code "A1" next to it. Add any notes that might help you
remember that student. During the next class, refer to your class roster
and chart. (A variation of this is the Take A Digital Photo below)

Review- Before the second class meeting, review the surnames and the survey
results and attempt to recollect names, faces and places. Spend some time
testing your knowledge of students' names: Which ones can you name? What
are the names of those you cannot identify? What identifiable
characteristic will help you remember certain students?

Ask for Help- When you cannot remember someone's name ask other students
for help. You will find that you know many more names than your students.

Tent Card- Provide a large index card for students to write their name on.
Have students fold it in half and display it on their desk so you can see
it. This serves as a visible reminder to you and rest of the students. For
best results, collect the cards at the end of class and re-distribute them
at the beginning of the next class.

Personally Return Assignments to your students during individual or group
activities. While this can be time consuming at first, it allows you to
associate written names with faces. It also allows you to associate the
work, style, penmanship, etc. with the student.

Frequently Use the Names of Students that you already know from other
classes along with the new names you have learned.  Students whose names
you don't use will tend to feel that you know them as well. This strategy
is especially effective in large classes.

Arrange Your Students Into Groups of two and have them introduce themselves
to each other, and then come up with three interesting things about their
partner. Have them introduce their partner to the class. This is often less
embarrassing for shy students than to introduce themselves.

Scavenger Hunt: Think of some questions related to the course or the
personality characteristics of classmates. Invite students to find a
different person who can respond "yes" to each question, e.g., Who has
traveled to Canada? Who speaks a foreign language? Who knows two causes of
the Civil War? Who has done volunteer work with small children? After
students have had time to find classmates who fit the descriptions, you can
have a follow-up discussion on one of the topics.

Driver's License Photocopy- Ask the students to make a photocopy of their
driver's licenses or any other type of picture identification card and use
that to help you identify the students. Be sure to ask them to cross off
any sensitive information, such as their address, etc.

Alternative Adjective Name Game- The student sitting at one of the corner
desks at the front of the room begins by taking the first letter of their
name and selecting an adjective that begins with the same letter. Examples
include: “Athletic Alice.” The second person has to repeat the first
person's name preceded by its alliterative adjective and then gives their
own. The third person repeats from the beginning and adds his or her own to
the game.

Another Name Game- Start by having seven to ten students introduce
themselves and then ask an individual in the group to name other
individuals: “Luke, which one of these people is Rick?” “Rick, point to
Susan.” “Susan, what's the name of the person sitting next to Attila?” If
Susan doesn't know the name of the person next to Attila, I'll say “Ask
Attila!” or “Ask Luke!” In doing it this way, I can keep everyone on his or
her tippytoes, because anyone might be made responsible for an answer at
any time

Office Visits- Ask students their names when they come to visit you during
office hours. Have a notebook to keep track of who visits along with their
difficulties and concerns.

Pointers- Ask students to give their names every time they speak to you or
to the class.

Let Them Organize It- Tell students that you are going to leave the
classroom for a few minutes. When you return, you want each student to be
able to introduce five classmates to you. It is up to them how they are
going to do this. When you come back, ask for a volunteer to introduce five
students. Let the extroverts get things started.

Take a Digital Photo of the class (or each row), print it and ask students
to write their name next to their photo.

*Rick Sheridan’s Bio:

Dr. Rick Sheridan is an assistant professor of communication at Wilberforce
University in Ohio, where he teaches journalism, graphics and business
courses. Rick has also worked as a journalist. His news and feature
articles have been published by the Chicago Sun-Times, St. Petersburg
Times, Winston-Salem Journal, New Orleans Times-Picayune and by refereed
journals including: Academic Exchange Quarterly, Educause, Teaching for
Success, etc.

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Dr. Teresa Franklin
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