Call students by their name

It’s a great practice to refer to people by their names when interacting with them, as it has been said that names are like music to one’s ears. Although it may take some time to learn students’ names, valuing their names as a means of entering their world of learning is worthwhile. To help remember their names, I rely on two simple techniques: repetition and association. When students introduce themselves, I repeat their names and incorporate them into the conversation. This helps me quickly associate each student’s name with something or someone I already know, such as a song title, a character in a movie or play, a friend with the same name, or a similar-sounding word. These techniques promote meaningful and respectful communication throughout the semester and beyond. I also encourage students to use each other’s names in the class and in online discussion forums, as it fosters positive interactions.

The value of exchanging ideas

Exchanging ideas can be incredibly beneficial for all involved. To illustrate the value of group or pair work, I often use a simple exercise: I ask two students to stand up and exchange a dollar bill, then ask them how much money they each have after the exchange. Unsurprisingly, both respond, “One dollar!” However, exchanging ideas or thoughts in a group or pair discussion works differently. Imagine that I have an idea about a particular subject and you have a different one. Once we interact and exchange ideas, we each end up with two ideas, rather than just one. In other words, the exchange of thoughts, opinions, and points of view has more value and benefits than the exchange of any physical currency.


Discussion post: me first and then… 

A recommended approach for setting up a discussion forum on Blackboard is to have students post their comments or opinions first, followed by replies to their classmates. By posting first, students are prompted to think more critically and profoundly about the topic at hand. However, the real value of this approach emerges when students begin to reply to their peers. Through these interactions, students can learn how their thoughts compare and contrast with those of their classmates. This process of discovering similarities and differences in perspectives can significantly enhance students’ understanding and knowledge of the subject.


Juan Soto Franco

Juan Soto-Franco holds a BA in Modern Languages majoring in English from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo [Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD)], a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from Ohio University (OU), and another master’s degree in Education in Computer Education and Technology from Ohio University. He has certifications in instructional design from Hostos Community College (HCC). He has taught fully online (synchronously and asynchronously) in the US and abroad. Soto-Franco has been in the teaching world since he was 16 years old. He has been teaching English writing courses and literature as an Adjunct Lecturer at HCC since 2016. At HCC he worked as an Instructional Designer for two years. He has served as a cost-free pedagogical and instructional design consultant for UASD since 2009. His new assignments include teaching French and Spanish at Cardinal Hayes High School (CHHS).


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?