Tuesday 10 January 2012

Quick Tip: Learn Your Students' Names

I'll have to admit learning names can be tough, especially if you're teaching ESL or EFL and your students don't have English names. If you teach large classes, it gets even harder.

However, by learning students' names you can break down the barrier a bit and have them understand that you see them as people and not just numbers. There are a couple things that can help you learn your students' names.
  • Give your students assigned seats.  If they seat in the same place then you can start putting names with where they seat.
  • Take their pictures.  Some schools will give you a roster with the students' names and photos.  If that's the case, then all the better. If not, take some photos.
  • Give them English names.  Some students downright refuse to choose an English name. If that's the case, then that's fine. However, there will be some students who will want an English name and that'll make it easier for you to remember who they are.

Got an idea for a quick tip?
Email me with your quick tip, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.



  1. Great tip, Sharon! I just finished the first week of my new quarter, and I consider part of my job to get to recognize all my students by name. Since my classes are relatively small 15 -20 usually, it is possible to accomplish this by the end of two weeks. By doing that, I show my students that I'm trying to learn their names, but I'm going to make lots of mistakes. In that way, I show them that making mistakes is okay - it's embarrassing perhaps, but that's how I'm going to learn their names... Being able to use students' names gives me power to control them in the classroom...
    My problem is trying to get students to call me by my name, e.g., Ms. O/Mrs.O, instead of "Teacher." Most of my students come from Saudi Arabia...

  2. I get "sir" a lot. I've thought about correcting them, but I'd rather be sir than ma'am. :)


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