Eleanor Willemsen (professor of psychology, Santa Clara University) says“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).

In my previous blog, I tried to explain the importance of calling our students by their names. If you have already read it you might understand how 'Calling students by their names' can help ourselves to manage our classroom and build our rapport easily. Now, the question is about to memorize the names even if they are in a hundred in numbers.

Traditional ways:

In every classroom, there is always a name register book where all of the students' names and roll numbers are written. We can take a picture of it. We can also make a photocopy it if it is possible. After that, we can make the classifications of the students to memorize their names using different scales; for example, girls, boys, common names, presence percentage.

Asking the names of the students in school premises is another common traditional way to learn the students' names. However, it does not help teachers without focusing and paying attention to the target student.

Scientific ways:

When a teacher meets a student it's ok to discuss his/her name for a minute. We can also make fun of the name inside our mind or we can picture it. For example, if someone's name is Silvana we can think of a pot made of silver and picture it in our mind. On the other hand, we can shout her name after saying or make a rhyme of it. For example, SiiiLvaaNaa, thank you very much for letting me know our name. Hey! cutie pie, Silvana - Do you know, my favourite band is Nirvana. These activities help us to memorize the students' names better.

We can also remember the name engaging ourselves getting the information about the student's name. We can ask the meaning of our student's name and the person who kept his/her name. In a little conversation, it's better to use his/her name as much as we can.

If it's the first day:

If it's the first day at school with our students it's better to do something different to know our students' names. If our students do not have name tags/badge we can follow the different guidelines to make me familiar with the students' names.

1) We can take the students' names from the register book. Make a slide according to their similarities or dissimilarities. For example, the family name started from A to E can be in one column or row. If it is the first period we need to be present in the class 30 minutes before the schedule. Show the students' seating planner on the screen that they can easily get their place. One thing we can do, we can greet them at the door while the students will be entering in the class. It will make both of the teachers and students engaged literally.

For the small class size, we can write down the students in a semicircle or other ways on a seating planner of our own and ask the students to seat down according to our planning.

2) If it's not the first period in the same classroom we can ask the students to write their names on an A4 size paper. Before doing this, ask them to fold the half paper according to the shape given below. Tell them to put those folded papers or the name tags on their table that you can easily recognize who we are talking to. If there are electric fans tell them to put pens or other things inside them to place perfectly. You can also ask the students to use adhesive tapes making the names unmovable.

Foldable Name Tags
If it is possible you can take some cheap plastic name tags given below. It can save money and you can use it many times.


Willemsen, E. W. (1995), “So what is the problem? Difficulties at the gate.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 1995: 15–22. Web. 18 May 2017.