Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Learn your students' names and how to pronounce them

Making an effort to learn your students’ names can have a major impact on their experience in your classroom. For minority students especially, it can help combat feeling invisible or marginalized (Kiang, 2004; Kohli & Solórzano, 2012). Even in large classes, you can start with a few names and build up. At the very least, let students know you are making an effort to do so.

  • At the start of the semester, ask your students to write down their names on a note card (and include pronunciation if it would help).
  • In smaller classes, have students make name placards using heavy duty paper and a sharpie, which they can use each class. Not only will you be able to call them by name, but they can learn each other’s names as well.
  • In larger classes, tell your students that you would like to learn their names. Whenever a student raises their hand, ask them to say their name first and repeat it back when you respond to them.


Kiang, P. N. C. (2004). Voicing names and naming voices: Pedagogy and persistence in an Asian American studies classroom. Crossing the curriculum: Multilingual learners in college classrooms, 207.

Kohli, R., & Solórzano, D. G. (2012). Teachers, please learn our names!: Racial microaggressions and the K-12 classroom. Race Ethnicity and Education, 15(4), 441-462.

GO TO:  Culturally Responsive Teaching