Get to Know Your Students

Students consistently say that the best teachers care about them as people as well as learners. One of the best ways to show you care about your students is to make an effort to learn their names. Of course, this task is more or less difficult depending on the size of the class. Nevertheless, even instructors who have classes with 150 students can learn most if not all of their students’ names.

College teachers across the country have invented a multitude of ways to learn their students’ names. Here are a few of the best, tried-and-true ideas:

  • In a large-enrollment class, study photographs of students alongside their names. Instructors of record (that is, those listed on ISIS for a particular course) can access class lists and student photographs through MAUI.
  •   Use a seating chart until you feel comfortable with most names.
  • Ask students to write their names on card stock name tents and invite them to add color, designs, etc. to reflect their personalities or interests.
  • In smaller-enrollment courses, conduct “name-game” activities the first day or two of class. There are many versions of this idea, such as asking students to interview each other for three minutes and then introduce their “partner” to the class. Other ideas are available on the OTLT website.