A Study of Best Practices in Edmentum Online Solutions, conducted by the Marzano Research Laboratory (MRL), identifies 13 tips in online instruction. Today’s tip, Tip #8, is all about knowing your students. As we look forward to the start of a new school year, this is increasingly relevant as it is always a back-to-school challenge.
About the study
The study evaluated the relationship between student learning and effective teacher pedagogical practices in online learning. The study specifically looked at Edmentum’s online solutions in three instructional settings—pure virtual, blended, and classroom/lab—across four purposes: original credit, credit recovery, intervention, and Advanced Placement®.
Tip #8: Knowing every student by name and being able to recognize them
Learning your students’ names might seem like common sense, but you won’t believe how many teachers are unable to call students by name a month, two months, or even several months after the first day of school. There are various reasons for this, but the bottom line is that it severely inhibits your ability to form a connection with those students who can’t be called by name. For students with difficult home lives, you might be their only chance at forming a connection.
What are the best ways to learn all your students’ names and be able to recognize them?
Students hate seating charts, especially on the first day of school. However, a great way to learn names is to arrange your students in alphabetical order—by first name. Taking attendance every day at the beginning of the school year gives you added practice in name and face recognition. Don’t move students from those seats until you have everyone memorized!
Also, make sure your school utilizes any of the tricks your learning management system (LMS) can provide, like the previous year’s school pictures. Print them out and quiz yourself if you have to. In some systems, you can also arrange seating charts using those pictures.
Is it only important for the class teacher to know their students?
When it comes to name recognition, teachers might have the bulk of the responsibility, but it’s also important for other personnel to be acquainted with as many students as they can. That can be difficult because a teacher might have a percentage of the students, but principals, media staff, and others are exposed to every child in the school. Still, hearing something positive from the principal in the halls can make a student’s day—especially if he or she is at-risk.
What can hinder you from getting to know your students?
Learning names is not an easy task. You might have as many as 150–200 students. Other staff might see more than a thousand. Adding on the sometimes impersonal approach of certain blended learning strategies, the time to learn names seems to be increasing. But it might be the most important part of your job in the first couple of weeks of the school year. It lays the groundwork for all of the rapport you hope to build as you move through the early part of the year.
Want to see more of the instructional strategies the Marzano Research Laboratory determined in the study? See all 13 Marzano best practices in online learning here.
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