The New Name Game

Posted by & filed under Ideas.

It’s week one; can you name all of your students yet?

Go ahead, feel free to play a round of the name game if that helps you, but the Circles Team has a strategy that might make the task much easier than you think.  In fact, this week, on the first day of class, I am playing a new kind of name game with my students. I am welcoming all of my students by name even before I have met them. Students in my first class were like, what??? How do you know my name? But that soon turned to laughter as I continued to greet each student by name. It also led to an amazing first day where I was able to cold call students and engage them in discussion and learning. How did I do it??? Read on to find out.

In Alexander Austin’s book, What Matters in College (1993), it was suggested that two things make the difference in getting students involved in college: student-student interaction and faculty-student interaction. And while it can be argued that many faculty don’t have total control over student-student interaction, they can change faculty-student interaction with one simple teacher trick…

***Learn Your Students’ Names***

“When the professor engages the student in personal conversation, recognizes her by name, and seems to include her in the domain of attention, the subject matter seems more accessible. The nonverbal message goes out that the student is a part of the community of people who can do mathematics, statistics, chemistry, or whatever the subject is” (Willemsen, 1995).

     A quick Google search reveals that Austin and Willemsen are not alone in recognizing the power of knowing student names.

So, are you ready to give it a try? You might be surprised by how it changes your classroom dynamic this semester. Here is a link to a Youtube video of how to do it, or you can just watch the looping GIF file below.

We hope you will join us for our first Circles sessions of the fall:

Mindset and Motivation

West – Sept 15th @ 1 & Sept 16th @ 4

East – Sept 15th @ 1 & Sept 16th @ 4

Winter Park – Sept 15th @ 3

Osceola – Sep 22nd @ 4

Lake Nona – Sep 22nd @ 1

For more information about the Circles of Innovation Fall Schedule, Click here.

Special Thanks to Professor Carl Creasman for sharing this teacher trick!




2 Responses to “The New Name Game”

  1. Steve Cunningham

    I love the new photo feature of the class rolls. While I didn’t put in the extra effort to learn all of my students names before the first day of class, a make a pledge to learn them all before the end of week 2. I do a name game on the first day that has me and several student volunteers able to say all of the first names by the end of the first class, but it takes more practice and effort to retain them all! I get the student’s by in by asking them to learn all of the names too, and ask them to be patient with me while I’m learning them. The first few class periods. I think I have about half of them down now. I find that learning the name of each students is essential to building the classroom atmosphere that I want to have in my classes.


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