Center for Teaching and Learning

Getting to know your students by name

Addressing students by name is a powerful way to help build community in a classroom by helping students to develop a sense of belonging in the classroom and helping students learn each others' names.

Here are a few approaches you can use to address your students by name to build community in your classroom: 

  1. Make a class roster photo slide deck using Google slides where each student makes a slide to introduce themselves (like this template).
    • For example, at the start of the semester, ask each student to make a slide with their name, a recent photo, a recording of how their name is pronounced using a tool like Name Coach, and a fun/silly fact or two about themselves. Professors and TAs can also make slides introducing themselves to their students.
  2. Ask each students to record a short (30-60 second) video introduction using Zoom and to send you their video introduction recordings. You can share each student’s video intro with everyone else in the class, so that all the students and TAs have access to it, by using a spreadsheet like this.
  3. Give students name tents that they bring to every class and put on their desks to help people use names during class time.
    • If possible, you can provide card stock and markers for students to make name tents to put in front of them and use throughout the semester.
    • Ask students to write their names on both sides of their name tents, so that everyone in the classroom can see each other's names regardless of their physical location in the room.
  4. Pronunciation matters.