There is no single word in any language, more important to a child than their name. When a child hears their name, it triggers a unique sequence of activation in their brain that is deeply connected with their core sense of identity. When a child hears their name, they know that someone cares, that they are part of a community, and that they matter.
Learning the names of students is the very first thing a teacher should do. If at all possible, names should be learnt before meeting the students – before the first lesson.
And if you really want to leverage the beneficial effects on relationships and learning, make sure you arrive before your students and warmly greet them by name as they enter the classroom or space. It’s hard to think of a better way to show that you really care about them, the lesson, and their learning.
And as a nice bonus, you might, like teachers in this study, enjoy the 20% increase in engagement and 9% decrease in disruptive behaviour.
It sounds like a habit worth forming.