What’s in a name? The importance of students perceiving that an instructor knows their names in a high-enrollment biology classroom

Katelyn M. Cooper, Brian Haney, Anna Krieg, Sara Brownell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Learning student names has been promoted as an inclusive classroom practice, but it is unknown whether students value having their names known by an instructor. We explored this question in the context of a high-enrollment active-learning undergraduate biology course. Using surveys and semistructured interviews, we investigated whether students perceived that instructors know their names, the importance of instructors knowing their names, and how instructors learned their names. We found that, while only 20% of students perceived their names were known in previous high-enrollment biology classes, 78% of students perceived that an instructor of this course knew their names. However, instructors only knew 53% of names, indicating that instructors do not have to know student names in order for students to perceive that their names are known. Using grounded theory, we identified nine reasons why students feel that having their names known is important. When we asked students how they perceived instructors learned their names, the most common response was instructor use of name tents during in-class discussion. These findings suggest that students can benefit from perceiving that instructors know their names and name tents could be a relatively easy way for students to think that instructors know their names.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar8
JournalCBE Life Sciences Education
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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