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September 18, 2006

Tips and Tricks- The Name Game

Hello Readers!

I've just successfully moved from China to England and am now, as of about 2 hours ago, officially enrolled in my MA course in Oxford. Before my induction meeting started, we all introduced ourselves to each other and then began chatting about the cost of living in this city, the difficulties we had with parking and/or finding the buildings, and other small talk. In the midst of all that, I realized that I had no idea what the person's name was that I was talking to. Luckily for me, the course coordinator had us officially introduce ourselves to each other during the actual meeting so I had a second chance at getting everyone's names down.

As a student, you can sometimes get away wth not knowing the names of your colleagues. As a teacher...

... you'll find that there is less lee-way.

So, what should you do?

Make getting to know each other a part of your lesson plan. If you have the same students for a year, a semester, or even just a month, play a kind of name game as a warmer for a few sessions until you feel confident that you can call students by their names. If you only have students for a day or two at a time, as I often did in the private English schools I worked for in Beijing, just do the best that you can.

A common name game that I've often played is a chain game. You can choose a topic, like favorite foods, and have each student say both their name and their favorite food. Then, they need to repeat what's already been said by introducing the other sudents that have already gone. It goes something like this:

T: My name is Carol and I like chocolate.
S1: My name is Susie and I like strawberries. Her name is Carol and she likes chocolate.
S2: My name is Rich and I like root beer. Her name is Susie and she likes strawberries. Her name is Carol and she likes chocolate.


After you've played the name game, you should try to continue to use the students' names as much as possible. This not only helps you to remember their names and faces, but it also helps build relationships with the students.

What tricks do you use to help remember the names of your students? Feel free to add your suggestions below.

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*For more ESL Tips & Tricks from ESL-Lesson-Plan, please click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, has lived and worked in China since 1998. During that time, she has worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She’s worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she’s also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing as well as working as an ESL instructor for the Australian International School of Beijing. Carol is also enrolled in Oxford Brookes' MA TESL program in Oxford, England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at September 18, 2006 08:45 AM

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