Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Making Students Feel Welcome: Learn their Names

Several weeks ago I posted an article on Twitter entitled: The first thing schools often get wrong for English language learners is their names.  The article details how schools often either out of confusion or plainly making a typo inadvertently change a student's name for their entire academic career.  As a result, these students lose their connection with the the cultural significance that their name holds.

While I always make it a point to spell a student's name the way he or she writes it on assignments (regardless of how the computer system spells it), I have mispronounced some students' names over the years (and not just because I'm from New England).  In these cases, the student never corrects me and I learn the correct pronunciation by listening to the students interact with each other.  I always apologize, only to be reassured by the student that "Americans are unable to pronounce his or her name."  I also sadly learn that I am often the only teacher that bothers to learn the correct pronunciation. 

If you have not done so already, I recommend that you take a look at this article and even share it with your colleagues. Sometimes all it takes is a little extra attention to make our English language learners feel welcome.

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