Making your class more personal

Know and build rapport with your students by creating an open and comfortable atmosphere.

Learn students’ names

Learning students' names

Ways to Learn Students’ Names in Large Classes

    • Ask for a few volunteers to help with demonstrations or activities and throughout this process, learn some student’s names (you may not be able to learn all your students’ names but knowing some will help).

    • If the class is small take attendance and initiate small talk (eg. Ask how their weekend was) using their name.

    • Ask students to remind you of their names when they see you or when they answer a question during a lecture.

    • Check out the online learning resource written by Joan Middendorf, Director 
Teaching Resource Center, Indiana University, on Learning Student Names.
    • Experiment and try things differently. Starting small by  incorporating a few of these strategies and see what works best for you.

Be approachable

  • Come to class early or stay late to encourage students to ask questions.
  • Move around the classroom- standing behind a podium emphasizes the distance between you and your students; by maintaining eye contact you should be able to read students’ behavior and whether they are understanding the material.
  • Provide designated office hours so students know they can come and talk to you outside of class.
  • Encourage students to greet you on campus and chat with them for a minute or two.
  • See Effective Communication for more ideas.

Know your audience

Find out about your student’s interests and backgrounds and then use relevant examples and stories based on what you know.

Reduce anonymity

It is easy to skip classes at large universities like the University of Saskatchewan. If you make casual comments when a student has been absent, like, "Sorry you couldn't come last week." or "Do you need help with the work you missed?" you reduce the student's sense of anonymity and increase his/her sense of responsibility. Avoid irritated or sarcastic comments. 

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