The Importance of Names


 Seven o‘clock alarm, plenty of time for the nine thirty start; shower, food, much loved cuppa, pack lunch, bit of news: nine fifteen. I had no idea what happened to the time but I did know I was about to break the one hundred, two hundred and four hundred meter world records on my dash to the School of Education. Finding out I needed to be on the third floor I could hear the rocky theme tune playing as I fell onto a seat in a room of 27 strangers. Thinking I’d made the worst first impression, the 28th member burst in to the room, “There was a cow on the train track…”. Something I’d never thought I’d be saved by.

Composing himself, the final course stranger sat down and we were given a task, a name task. A lead stranger announced “You are going to learn everyone’s name in this room in the next hour”. The idea was to go round the room each standing up and introducing the people who have already stood up along with a fact about them then ending on yourself. Only third in line my task was relatively easy, or so it seemed, until I stood up; forgetting both names. Although initially stumbling we all managed to get it done within the first half hour.

Looking back, this task broke down the possibility of embarrassing conversations in the future and was one of the main contributors to the sociability of the mathematics group. Having since thought about this in greater detail I see many more benefits to knowing and remembering names. As a teacher, respect can be gained from naming all your students, laying the foundations of a positive professional relationship. Supported by evidence disclosed in an ‘Educational and Professional Studies’ lecture where a guest speaker brought advice for us from his year 10 class. “Learn our names and you’ll be fine”, one of the comments portraying a common theme. In addition, behaviour can be effectively managed and responses tailored. Opening doors and removing barriers names allow questions to be asked and conversations to be had. Recalling names from professional meetings expands your network and we’re all aware of the importance of that. The possibilities that arise from knowing this (hopefully) simple personalised combination of letters are endless. One thing is for sure, there are no negatives to knowing names.

By Ross Rakauskas