Learning students’ names

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In our July “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

For those of you who teach: how do you learn your students’ names? Or do you even bother to learn them at all? Do you have them make name tags, or introduce themselves?

Good questions. I think it’s good practice to learn students’ names, but obviously, one’s ability to do this can vary a lot depending on class sizes. In my department, class sizes are capped at 25 students for lower-level courses and 20 for higher-level ones–so, I don’t normally have trouble learning names. But, if I were teaching large lecture classes with hundreds of students, I don’t think I’d be able to do so.

In terms of strategies for learning names, I’ve found two methods to be helpful. The first is to have graded work that you hand back consistently, so that as you hand back work, you can repeatedly associate the name on the work with the student’s face. However, now that I grade virtually all work electronically, I don’t really use this strategy anymore. Instead, ever since COVID (when it was mandatory for contact tracing), I’ve kept seating charts to mark down student participation. This has been super helpful, as it helps me to know who is speaking during class discussion, so if I can’t immediately remember someone’s name, I can check on the fly.

But these are just strategies that I’ve found to be helpful. What strategies do you use?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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