Nail Your Students’ Names on the First Day!

Heading back into the classroom after a nice, relaxing summer vacation can be daunting. Aside from decorating my classroom, writing new lesson plans, and sitting through boring faculty meetings, I used to be terrified that I would not be able to remember all of my students’ names! That was until a few years ago when I learned the magic of Mind Mapping.

Joshua Foer’s book “Moonwalking with Einstein” changed my entire mindset on remembering students’ names.  Foer shared that the way to remember almost anything is to develop your very own memory palace in your brain. All you have to do is partner images with words and retrieve them in your palace.

In order to remember students’ names better, try to do as Foer and Business Insider suggest- strengthen the connection between someone’s face and name by creating reminders for yourself. For example, “say you just met a Tom, for instance. The word “Tom” makes you think of “Tomcat.” Come to think of it, Tom does look a little cat-like, you think to yourself. The next time you see Tom, you’ll remember Tomcat” (and you’ll hopefully remember to just call him Tom).  Foer mentions using this technique in his TED talk when he points out that people are more likely to remember that someone they’ve just met is a baker than that their last name is Baker. ‘The entire art of remembering stuff better in everyday life,’ Foer says in the talk, ‘is figuring out ways to transform capital B Bakers into lower-case B bakers —to take information that is lacking in context, in significance, in meaning and transform it in some way so that it becomes meaningful in the light of all the other things that you have in your mind.”

If you need the 20 minute version check out his TED Talk here, and the full Business Insider tips for remembering names here.

Good luck to all the teachers heading back to work tomorrow! Now if only I could remember where I put my backpack…

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Teacher who is interested in teaching, educational technology, summer vacation, fashion, college advice, back to school and memes

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