Why Is It Important to Know Your Students by Name? 5 Awesome Reasons

Do you know the names of your students? Are you really confident that the one you call John is really John? Or are you just guessing?

importance of knowing students' names

Photo by Thirdman

What’s in a name? You might ask. A name serves as a person’s identity. And knowing and calling a person by his or her name signifies a meaningful bond.

But, why is it important to know your students by name?  Learning your students’ names can positively impact students’ perceptions about learning in the classroom.

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“You make a difference in my life because you know me well and you know my name.”

Kent Syverud, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University, once asked in his article, “who is the one teacher in your entire life who made the biggest difference for you – who taught you so well that you still think about him or her as your best teacher. I bet that for almost all of us, that best teacher was someone  who knew you by name.”

Simply put, when you recognize your students’ names it makes a difference in how they see you as their teacher. Your dedication to inclusivity in the classroom is strengthened by knowing your students’ names.

Thus, at the beginning, you should display a desire to know these names by designing interactive activities. But, if you like instant activities, click here. 

Why is it important to know your students by name?

Is it hard for you to remember your students’ names? Well, knowing names and remembering them is our first assignment at the beginning of each school year.

With my years in teaching, I’ve learned tricks about remembering names and recognizing my students by names. The daily checking of attendance helps me a lot aside from requiring them to wear their name tags.

Why is it important to call our students by their names?

5 Awesome Reasons

“A name pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs. He who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my love and service.”

— Henry David Thoreau.

1. To foster a sense of belonging

I call my students by their names because I want them to feel comfortable with me. Being comfortable in the classroom doesn’t mean being passive for it seems to be all right doing it. No, that’s not it.

When students are comfortable in the classroom, they seem to shine with all their might because they are engaged in learning. They are never afraid to try because they can feel your welcoming aura.

During class recitations, I always address them by their names. It’s a melody to their ears and a fine-tune for me as well. Calling them by their names makes them feel valued. I can feel it. They’re comfortable with that.

A sense of community is built when you know the names of your students. When you don’t bother to remember or to familiarize the names of your students, it can give the impression that you are uninvolved and unapproachable.

a teacher interacting with her students

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya

2. To intensify connections

“Such a great idea, Bridget!” “That’s interesting, Albert”.  There is an impact. And it’s very deep.

Students would love it when you use their first names. It helps them.

When you can call your students by their first names it makes them feel so special. Talking to them will be a lot easier and they are confident to interact with you as well.

Knowing names can enhance your connections with your students which improves their outlook on student learning. It establishes a relationship of trust and caring between you and your students.

Intensifying connections in the classroom means building strong relationships and the first step is knowing your students’ names. When students feel the strong connections in the classroom they are more motivated to participate and do better.

3. To acknowledge students’ existence

The significance of recognizing and calling students by their names both inside and outside the classroom should be known to you.

The first step of knowing our students is by their names. Hence, you design getting-to-know-you activities for the first day of classes.

Addressing students by their names helps them feel that they are recognized as individuals. Pronounce their names correctly and it signifies their identity.

The act of addressing students by their names is a way of acknowledging students. It’s also a reflection of our commitment to teaching them and helping them master skills.

4. To enrich classroom interactions

Classroom interactions make learning enriching and enjoyable. When students begin to share their ideas and express their thoughts interactions bloom.

In learning, student participation really matters. It will not make sense if you’ll just be pointing people to recite. Call them. Address them by their names. Do it with the sweetness of your voice and you’ll see an eager face in front of you.

Moreover, as you facilitate discussions, it’s always good to ask them if they have clarifications or questions. It makes them think critically.

Also, when they hear you addressing them by their names, they’ll do the same with their classmates which can be a way for more interactive class discussions.

5. To promote a student-centered approach

Meeting the needs of your students could be very challenging if you don’t know them very well. Part of getting to know your students is recognizing their names.

As you encourage student participation, you should know your students well. When somebody raises a hand, you should address him by his name. It enhances his confidence.

Student-centered classrooms encourage students to participate in making decisions, designing class activities, and setting the norms. Their involvement has meaning if their names are mentioned. And this can increase their satisfaction in learning.

In Essence

Students are the center of the learning process. Therefore, it’s important that you know each of their names and recognizes who is who.

As a teacher, it’s important to know and use your students’ names in order to create a more welcoming classroom environment.

Indeed, as shown above, one of the best ways to foster a productive classroom is to learn each student’s name. It makes students feel more at ease, more comfortable asking questions, and more engaged in learning.