Teaching tip 2

This months tip for those in adult education is :

Use your learners’ names when speaking to them or asking questions.

Getting to grips with people’s names is vital, especially when dealing with a new class and although you might find it difficult, here are some handy ways to ensure you have the right name on the tip of your tongue :

1. Make a secret seating plan - when you first start a new class, jot down their names on a bit of paper in the order that they are sitting in the classroom. Do this very casually. You will find that people prefer to take the same seat for every lesson, we are all creatures of habit ! This gives you the chance during the lessons to glance at the note and the look in the correct direction to say “Do you agree, John ?” and be sure that you are looking at John.

2. Call out a name – glance at your class list and if you cannot put a face to a particular name, wait untill you are ready to give handouts or course sheets to you class then say “Diana” (or whatever name you are having difficulty with) “could you give me a hand with these?” and ask the learner to help you distrubute the material to their classmates. This gives you a chance to use their name twice, one when initially calling them and again when thanking them, thus impressing their name on your memory

3. Make them leaders – plan a group activity and nominate a member of the class to be speaker or chairperson for each group, put the teams on the board and title them by the leaders’ names e.g. Team Donald, Team Fatimah, Team Anita etc. This gives you a chance to interact with people on a first name basis, for example “How did your group manage, Diana ?”

All this takes effort, but in the adult education sector service and personal interaction are vital.

See also Teaching tip 1.

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