Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Remembering Student Names

Welcome to the new school year! We try to stick to Nursing/Medical Professions related tips, tools and resources on this blog but no matter what course an instructor teaches, one thing is guaranteed-- you have to remember your new students' names. So here are some handy tricks for doing so:

1. Preparation: As soon as you get a student list, start memorizing. According to "science", it takes at least 7 times of repeating something to remember it. However, this particular trick is usually better when practiced 15+ times. For example, if you get a list of your students a month before class starts, go ahead and read it once a day during the work week until the names start looking familiar. Or read it twice a day the week before class. That way, when school starts you already know the names - you're just matching faces at that point.

2. Name Games: For adult students, name games can be a little cheesy. However, I heard of one Nursing Instructor who liked to play the Parts of the Body/Name game. She would have students come up with a part of the body that starts with the same letter as their name (Fibia Faye, Ventricle Venessa, Tongue Tara) and go around the room and list their body part and their name along with a fact they know about that specific body part. For example, "My name is Stapes Sarah, and the stapes is the smallest bone in the body". It'll give you a pre-made mnemonic device for remembering names and it'll also give you an idea of where students' A&P knwoeldge is. For high school students or a more creative bunch, you can also have students create name tags with a picture of that body part. That way when you call on a student, you'll have a reminder of what their name starts with.

3. Use it: For instructors who prefer to keep a more professional classroom, simply use the students' names. After taking attendance on day one, make sure your first few classes involve a lot of questions. Call on a different student for each question and make sure to respond to every answer with "Thank you, [INSERT NAME]". If you forget the students name either leave it hanging "Thank you....?" and let the student fill in the blank, or ask. "Thank you... I'm sorry, can you remind me of your name?".

Hope those help, but if you're an instructor with older students, we'd love to hear your tricks. So many of the games and resources for remembering names are geared towards younger classrooms that we'd love a fresh take on how you tackle this subject!