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The Importance Of Correctly Pronouncing Students’ Names

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Since my first day of teaching, I’ve felt that it was important to correctly pronounce students’ names or, in some cases, finding out what students wanted to be called and honoring that request (one time, a student asked me to call him “Prince,” which I did for the entire year).

With very diverse English Language Learner classes, it’s regularly a challenge for me, but I always tell students that they deserve to be called by their correct name and I ask them to immediately correct me if, for some reason, I mispronounce it.

I think that kind of effort really makes a difference — many of my students have come to this country with very little. I figure the least I can do is honor the name they brought with them.

Education Week reports on a national campaign to promote this practice called “My Name, My Identity.”

You can read about it in their story, Mispronouncing Students’ Names: A Slight That Can Cut Deep.

They also published a useful follow-up, Pronouncing Student Names Correctly: A Quick Guide.

And, if you doubt the importance of this practice, read The Toast’s The Names They Gave Me.

You might also be interested in The Best Places For Students To Learn About…Their Names.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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