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Reestablishing the Importance of Names

Remembering names can be hard, but not impossible, this article reveals techniques in aiding educators and students in achieving name memorization.

Is it the short term memory conundrum or the undesirable need for students to remember each other’s names?

Names are important in the educational system. Every year, new students enroll in classes, giving educators and students a chance to get to know new faces and names. Learning everyone’s names can be deterring, especially if they know that they won’t likely run into each other again when the school year is done. On the other hand, we can all just be bad at remembering names, which is common.

However, we can’t forget the practical methods and tools that exist to make it easier for the classroom to practice memorization. As a student at San Jose State University, I’ve experienced professors who blindly call on students because they don’t bother learning names. They call on students based on the colored shirt, location of seat, and those who raise their hands without realizing that this can discourage students.

This article will demonstrate practical methods and tools that educators can incorporate into their lessons to improve memorization and “promote good teaching practices.” (Cooper, Haney, Krieg, Brownell, 2017) There has been numerous research on how memorization of students builds an inclusive classroom community where students engage more, seek help when they need, and satisfy their education.

Kick off the lesson with introductory questions

Starting the class with individual introductions and asking a few icebreaker questions can go a long way. Although it may seem like a generic approach to getting to know students, ice breaker questions can help students build relationships with the class. This helps students talk to new people creating a cultural fabric that gives students a sense of belonging. Rather than retaining information, students can share their thoughts and ideas that may spark connections and natural conversations amongst their peers.

Check attendance

Although it seems like a waste of time to check attendance, calling on student’s names and seeing their faces reinforces memories for educators and students alike. Checking attendance by passing a paper around or self check-in does not help educators in remembering names, instead addresses students’ presence. One high school teachergreets everyone in person as students enter his classroom. He continues to check attendance according to his seating chart. Checking attendance helps students feel recognized. With daily attendance, they are more inclined to show up because their presence matters.

Improvise more group activities

Having students break apart from their normal group and into new groups will help them build new relationships with their peers that they may rarely talk to. Educators can establish a randomization of names that will form into a group for an assignment. Over time, students will bond with unfamiliar peers creating a relationship that is fundamental to the classroom environment. As educators continue to create new groups for activities, students will learn new names and eventually remember everyone’s names in the class as they work together.

Call on students at random

Those who are hesitant to raise their hands should have a chance to speak up rather than the ones who consistently volunteer. This approach encourages people who are reluctant to speak up and forges new connections between them and the class. Students who hinder themselves amongst the class may never be noticed. This can result in poor group dynamics. Notice them with name randomization, a feature offered by AskClass to help teachers call on students.

Name tents representation

Name tents are an outdated but still effective technique that makes it simple for all students to identify one another. Many schools utilize name tents, although they have the downside of being easily misplaced. Educators might not recognize them after they lose their name tents. Every year, educators teach numerous classes consisting of different names, making it difficult to even remember each individual student. This technique makes names visible up front, enabling better contact and communication between students and educators.

Create a database of introduction videos

For discussions where students participate and comment, students can submit videos of themselves. They will start to identify the names and faces they are responding to as a result of their responses. Educators can apply FlipGrid to support these databases of videos. Below is an example of discussion points and students will publish a video of them answering them. Students can then browse through the selections of responses and reply to a peer. Throughout the school year, students will be familiarized with the entire class.

As the post pandemic classroom comes to an end, recognizing names is crucial to communication and establishing a cultural fabric that helps students feel welcomed. It was not an issue during the Zoom classes because everyone had their names imprinted on the screen. Though, with in-person classes, things have changed. Calling people by their names is an important aspect of building relationships. These practical methods and tools will aid educators and students alike in remembering each other.

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