Guidance on how to use the Canvas NameCoach tool in the classroom
Using NameCoach to Learn Your Students’ Names
Making an effort to learn your students’ names and pronouns can have a major impact on their experience in your classroom. For students with marginalized identities especially, it can help combat feeling invisible or like they don’t belong (Klang, 2004; Kohli & Solórzano; Sue, 2010). Additionally, research indicates that students’ sense of belonging directly impacts their academic performance (Walton & Cohen, 2007).
While the strategies below detail many ways to practice and incorporate learning your students’ names in class, one educational tool that can help is NameCoach. NameCoach is a technology-enhanced learning tool integrated into Canvas that is designed to support inclusive teaching practices. It allows students and instructors to share and store the proper pronunciation of their name. By enabling instructors to easily and more accurately learn student name pronunciations, NameCoach can help instructors build better rapport in the classroom, bolstering students’ sense of belonging.;
Here are some strategies to help you learn your students’ names.
Before the semester starts,
Record your own name in NameCoach.
Access the NameCoach Roster for each course through Canvas and review your students’ NameCoach entries. You can visit the roster prior to each class and listen to the names to begin to memorize them.
On the first day of class,
Introduce yourself using your name and pronouns in use and model for the class the information you are inviting them to share. (e.g. “Hello everyone, my name is Dr. Buckingham, but you can call me Dr. Bucky and I use he, him and his pronouns. I’d like everyone to introduce themselves with the name that they’d like others to use and if you’re comfortable, what pronouns you use.“)
Thank students who have already added their pronunciations to NameCoach, and encourage all students to use the tool, even if they think their names are easy to pronounce. (e.g. “You may have noticed a new feature in Canvas called NameCoach, where you can record the proper pronunciation of your name. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this feature, even if you think your name is easy to pronounce.”)
View instructions for how to use the pronoun feature in Canvas.
For additional guidance on how to use pronouns, visit the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center’s Pronouns Matter webpage.
- Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation. Carnegie Mellon University. “Use NameCoach to Learn Your Students’ Names and Pronouns.” https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/classroomclimate/strategies/names.html
- Kiang, P. N. C. (2004). Voicing names and naming voices: Pedagogy and persistence in an Asian American studies classroom. Crossing the curriculum: Multilingual learners in college classrooms, 207.
- Kohli, R., & Solórzano, D. G. (2012). Teachers, please learn our names!: Racial microaggressions and the K-12 classroom. Race Ethnicity and Education, 15(4), 441-462.
- Sue, D. W. 2010. Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, John Wiley & Sons.
- Walton, G. M. & G. L. Cohen. 2007. A Question of Belonging: Race, Social Fit, and Achievement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 92, No. 1, 82–96