Name Tags for Students | ESL Teaching Tip

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Name Tags for Students

Do you have more than a hundred students, or just have a hard time remembering names? Or maybe you change students every month or two. Then you’ll need to keep on reading this English teaching tip about using name-tags in your classes.

Name Tags: I Love You!

I love to use name tags for students in my classes because they make my life in the classroom significantly easier. In fact, I’d say they’ve improved my classes by 10 or 15%, as compared to when I didn’t require them.

Obviously, learning names is better but sometimes I have over 250 students in a single semester and I often only see them once a week so this isn’t very realistic.

It’s just way too much effort for this busy teacher! Why go for extreme effort like this when there’s an easy workaround?

How to Make Them

The students in my classes use a piece of paper, folded up into a triangle shape stand-up thing, write whatever they want me to call them on it and then set it on their desk for every class. I let them choose their Korean name, an English name or their nickname.

If you teach kids, you could spend a bit more time and have them make something beautiful and creative out of construction paper and art supplies. I’ll generally do this on the first day of a summer or winter camp for example with them.

Punishment for No Name Tag?

If they don’t have it, they don’t get their participation point so there’s incentive to do it. If the student tries to hide it during class so I won’t call on them, they’re the first ones I pick! After the first time, it doesn’t happen again. It’s kind of a fun game, but actually not really as long as you put a stop to it.

Of course, don’t use name-tags for evil, especially in a shame-based culture like South Korea.

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Find out why I love using nametags in my English classes

Why is it better to use name tags in classes?

1. You can call on the sleepy/bored/inattentive students easily.

2. It’s more personal and friendly to call someone by their name, instead of “Hey, you, over there. Answer my question!”

3. It reduces a lot of stress when I ask a question and everyone looks down at their book, silent. This way, I can pick one of those people with their head down instead of waiting for eye contact from someone.

4. Activities just go quicker when I can call someone’s name, instead of trying to get their attention. Or, if a person is talking when they shouldn’t be, using their name will usually get them to stop immediately.

Try it out! I think you’ll find it useful to use name tags for students.

Are there any Negatives to Using Name-Tags?

Just about the only negative that I can think of for using name tags in your English classes is that some teachers memorize names. Yes, even if they have two or three hundred of them. So, some students come to expect this from all their teachers and wonder why they should have to use something like this.

Of course, memorizing names is the preferable option and it’s actually quite impressive. My tactic is to use name-tags to assist me with memorization and then I try to use their names when I talk to them after class or whatever. This usually seems to satisfy most students!

Want to Memorize Names?

Check out this short video with some tips for memorizing names in large classes:

What do You Think about Using Name-Tags in your Classroom?

What are your thoughts about using name tags in your ESL or EFL classes? Do they make your classes go more smoothly, or do you effort into memorizing students’ names? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful resource?


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One Comment

  1. Olena Zelikovska

    As for me it is hard enough to memorize my students’names at once. So I make a plan of the desks on the piece of paper and put the names down for me. But I have only 30-40 students in a semester.

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