- Keywords: Attendance, student feedback, self-reflection
- Learner English level: Any
- Learner maturity: Upper elementary and above
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Activity time: 5 minutes
- Materials: Handout, blank A4 or B5 paper, markers
One of the challenges of teaching a large number of classes, or large class sizes, is remembering student names. Another challenge is finding a way to connect with students individually. A combination of name cards and student goal/feedback sheets can address both points while saving time otherwise devoted to taking attendance in class.
Step 1: Make copies of the goal/feedback sheet handout (see Appendix) and prepare enough blank pieces of paper for each student. Prepare wide-tipped markers.
Step 1: On the first day of a new class, have students pick up a blank piece of paper. Demonstrate folding the paper in half. Next, fold the two halves towards the center crease, creating a paper one quarter the original size.
Step 2: Have students write what they want to be called in class in large letters using a marker. Have the students put the name cards standing up on their desk in a clearly visible location.
Step 3: Students take out the handout. Ask the students to think about concrete English learning goals (such as getting a certain score on an English proficiency test, or having a conversation entirely in English) for the semester (or week/class) and write them on the top of the sheet.
Step 4: At the end of the class, reserve about 5 minutes for students to reflect and write comments about the lesson (one or two sentences). These could be what they learned in class that day, an activity they did or didn’t enjoy, or questions for the teacher.
Step 5: At the end of the class, students insert their feedback sheet and any other papers that you need to collect into the name card and place them in a pile to be collected by the teacher. Students can use a paper clip to better secure the papers.
Step 6: The teacher reads the student comments and writes an appropriate short response. For example, if a student writes “I enjoyed talking with my partner” you could write “I’m glad”. This should take less than 30 seconds per student.
Step 7: Before each class begins, spread out the name cards containing the feedback sheets near the classroom entrance so that students can pick up their name card on the way to their seats. When the bell for the start of class begins, simply look at the remaining name cards to see who is late. Any name card remaining at the end of class indicates an absence. Tell students not to pick up name cards other than their own.
Step 8: Repeat steps 4 to 7 with each class.
This name card system allows teachers and students to put names to faces in a new class. It also helps to organize the collection of papers at the end of a lesson, quickly returning papers to the correct students during the next class, and taking attendance. In addition, the setting of goals can help motivate students as they can hopefully view class activities in relation to their language learning goals. Finally, the feedback sheets allow teachers to get an immediate and timely sense of what activities are going well or poorly and what areas students are struggling with, as well as a chance for genuine communication between teachers and students that may not be otherwise possible due to time constraints.
A handout is available below: