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Building Relationships in Your Classroom

August 26, 2011
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Many teachers and students are back-to-school or will be in a few days. Teachers are busy getting their rooms ready for those unique and curious students who will soon be filling those empty classroom desks. It is time now to make plans to start building relationships with students as soon as they careen through the classroom door. Master teachers have tools and strategies ready and in place to get to know their students and show them they genuinely care. One of the first tasks is to know your students’ names. The post below is an article written by fellow author and colleague, Dr. Linda Neiman about the importance of really knowing our students and useful tips for learning their names right away.

Bridging Theory to Practice

Best practice is practice that is grounded in and supported by current research in education and cognitive neuroscience, encompassing specific educational approaches and activities and excluding practice solely based on personal experience and/or outdated research.   Implementing best practice requires bridging what is known about the nature of learning to practice in classrooms and workplaces.

Best Practice for Learning and Remembering Students’ Names

Learning and remembering names is a challenge for many of us. Names are abstract, making them difficult to remember unless we deliberately do something that facilitates the memory of names.  Listed below are nine tips for learning and remembering names.  Building a relationship with anyone starts with knowing that individual’s name and remembering it.

Nine Tips for Learning and Remembering Students’ Names 

  1. Study the class list or any list of names before you see those students and rehearse aloud each name.
  2.  Use nametags or name tents during the first week of class.
  3.  Focus only on first names.
  4.  Use “Who’s on First? which gives you several opportunities for you to repeatedly hear names.  Determine who has the choice of sharing or passing by asking a question that results in one person.  Who is wearing the most red?  Who has lived in the most number of states?  Who ate pancakes for breakfast?  Once determined, that person may play (respond to the prompt) or call on someone else by name to respond.  Only the first person has the right to pass.  Each person calls on the next participant by name, increasing the number of times you hear and associate names with faces.  This strategy can be used throughout the school year; however, it generally works best with intermediate, middle, or high school students as well as college students, undergraduate or graduate.
  5.  Construct a seating chart and ask students to sit in the same place for at least the first week.
  6. As you take attendance during the first week of school, say each student’s name deliberately and look at the student.
  7.  While you take attendance, write something specific about each individual to help you remember his or her name.
  8.  At the end of the first class, attempt to say every student’s name.  If you can’t remember a student’s name, ask that student for the first letter, second letter, until you can remember the name.
  9.  Let your students know you are actively trying to remember their names.  If you can’t remember a student’s name, just ask!  Students will really appreciate your effort to remember their names.

Encourage all of your students to learn all the other students’ names in your class, which builds relationships among students and encourages a positive environment for learning.

Dr. Linda V. Neiman

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