Why getting a student’s name right matters

Digital reporter/producer, Race Matters and education
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Learning how to properly say a student’s name can have a lasting impact on his or her success, both within and outside the classroom. For many, especially minority, immigrant and English-learning students, having their names mispronounced or mocked can permanently sting.

For our special Google Hangout on mispronouncing names, NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan chatted with Education Week reporter Corey Mitchell. His story on student names ignited a flood of reactions from our online community. Rita Kohli, assistant professor at the University of California-Riverside, shared more about her research on the long-term, psychological harm to students whose names are constantly mispronounced.

Hari also talked with Jon Gundry, superintendent of Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools on the “My Name, My Identity” campaign. It urges educators to take the pledge of correctly pronouncing student names and respecting their diverse cultures. Mariama Richards, director of progressive and multicultural education at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City, offered insight into why something as simple as correct pronunciation can positively impact learning for students in multicultural classrooms.

Is your name unique or hard to pronounce? Did a teacher butchering or making fun of it have a lasting impact on you? Let us know! Share your experiences with NewsHour by telling us what you think on our social accounts including Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #ActuallyMyNameIs, as well as in the comments section below.

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