I make a big effort to learn all my students’ names, and use them.
But George said, “How?!”
Here I reveal my best technique for learning students’ names – the seating chart.
In the first tutorial, I get my students to give me their full name, and tell me a little bit about why they are doing the course. I try to make comment back to each person, using their name (basic memory technique). But more importantly, as we go around the table, I write down each person’s name around my cunning seating chart.
For the rest of that session, I work on remembering names, keeping the chart in front of me as an aid. I also tell them exactly what I’m doing. Next week, as people come in and sit down, I try to recall their names, and use them, and ask them to correct me if necessary, and I write up a fresh chart as I go. Alas, the students don’t sit in exactly the same place each week, though as it turns out, most students tend to sit in more-or-less the same area each week, or at the very least, on the same side of the table in relation to the windows or door or whatever. It’s as though they find a comfortable spot, and then stay there.
I find that I usually have to do the chart for about four weeks or so. By then, with a bit of effort, I have most of their names in memory. It’s worth doing – most students seem to really appreciate being more than just another number.
Any other helpful hints for tutors? All suggestions will be gratefully received, from tutors or tutorees.