When motivating students, building rapport, or managing class, addressing students by name goes a long way.
Though when one sees 16 different homerooms and 450 different students only once per week, learning names can feel daunting, if not impossible.
But with some determination and a little computer grease, I created a flashcard system that has proved wildly effective for me.
If you have hundreds of students and want to make each of their days, follow these instructions.
What You Need:
- Anki – a flashcard application (free for PC and Mac, ₩35,000 for mobile).
- Pictures of students coupled with names.
- Hangeul literacy.
Step 1: Download Anki
Anki is a free-for-PC flashcard app that utilizes spaced repetition to promote retention.
Install the program, launch it, and choose your preferred interface language.
Step 2: Download Image Occlusion Enhanced Add-on
To make flashcards with images, an Anki add-on is required.
Click “Get Add-ons…”
- Visit this webpage.
- Scroll halfway down until you find a numeric code.
- Paste in Anki.
Step 3: Acquire Image Files of Students’ Names and Pictures
This might be easier for some than for others. Teachers in Korea can ask their co-teachers or directors to see a 사진표 (Sah-Jeen-Pyo). Many schools keep a directory of class rosters that shows each student’s name, number, and photograph.
Can you get those pictures as image files? Great!
Can you view the pictures on a school website? No problem! The PrintScreen function on PC (upper-right corner of the keyboard) can help.
- Hit PRTSCRN next to a group of students’ faces (I prefer 2-8 students)
- Paste into Paint (CTRL+V)
- Select the collection of students’ faces.
- Click “Crop” (to eliminate internet browser background)
- Save image to desktop or folder. (Be sure to hit “Save As…” as you repeat with many pictures.)
- Repeat until all students photos are saved as images.
On a Mac, the process is simpler. Press APPLE+SHIFT+4 together. The cursor will change into crosshairs. Simply hold down the mouse button and form a box around the students’ names and pictures. A cropped image will automatically save to the desktop.
If your co-teacher gives you a hard copy of the picture book, use your smartphone to take pictures of pictures. Find a way to transfer those images to your computer.
Step 4: Create Flashcards
You’ve downloaded Anki, added the Image Occlusion Enhanced add-on, and found images of your student. It’s time to make the flashcards!
- Open Anki
- Click on the default deck or create a new deck.
- Click “Add” on the top bar.
- Open the Image Occlusion Feature (Far Right)
- Select an image to open.
- The image should open in a Paint-like window.
- Press “R” (Rectangle)
- Drag a small box around one character (syllable) of a student’s name.
- Press “S” (Select)
- Click on the newly-formed yellow rectangle.
- Copy-paste as many boxes as needed to cover every syllable.
- When all syllables are covered, click “Hide One, Guess One”
- A notice will notify you of the notification. (Courtesy of Google Translate).
- CAREFUL: Click “Hide One, Guess One” only one time. Multiple clicks will create multiple copies of cards.
- Repeat for all student photos.
I won’t lie. This is time-consuming. One possible shortcut includes copy-pasting strings of three rectangles together to cover a full three-syllable name. However, be sure to check that the rectangles align with the syllables. If the rectangle lies askew, it can create a “sneak peek” effect while studying.
Using photographs with many students can also streamline the process. However, the more students per picture, the smaller the individual pictures and text. The smaller the individual pictures and text, the more money you will spend on progressively more powerful reading glasses.
Step 5 (If Needed): Learn to Read Hangeul:
Language teachers learning literacy? Need I say more? The system is intuitive. You can grasp it in one afternoon. Following a few more days of practice, you’ll read a new writing system effortlessly.
Step 6: Study
Anki uses spaced repetition to delay cards you guess correctly and frequently reinforce cards you guess incorrectly. Correct and incorrect guesses are self-reported. The honor system is key. On the plus side, there are no punishments for typos.
You can choose to study as many or as few cards per day as you please. Settings and options can alter the number of new cards introduced per day, the length of delays for correct cards, and many more. The app is highly customizable to fit your needs.
The following resources can help:
This process is time-consuming on the front end. But with a little persistence and perspiration, teachers can memorize as many as 100 students’ names per month. Learning all names in the spring semester will make the fall semester easier and breezier. Learning in the fall semester will pay huge dividends when students matriculate into grades you continue to teach.
Classes become easier to manage. Rapport builds effortlessly. But best of all, students light up with surprise and delight when you address them by name.
“Good morning Hye-won.”
Best of luck with your studies.