I was complemented often at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for my perceived ability to learn names quickly. Indeed, learning the names of my campers, my students, and my peers is important to me.
I’ve talked before about the functional use of knowing names for teachers in group settings.
A teacher’s ability to give direct positive or negative feedback, as well as praise or redirect negative behavior is dependent on the knowledge of the name of people in their classroom.
Furthermore, in using someone’s name a teacher is acknowledging to a student that they are seen and heard. When someone is called by name, their individuality is affirmed.
Another observation is that when kids know each others’ names, they are far more likely to interact with each other. Just knowing the name of someone else can break down the awkwardness enough to then start sharing experiences together.
Names are powerful things.
So, of course, I worked hard at camp to learn the names of the campers in my cabin, in music history class, and in violin sectionals as quickly as possible. But I don’t think my success comes from an innate ability to remember more names, or pick up names more quickly than others. I just have a few tricks up my sleeve. [Read more…]