- Increasingly diverse districts in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota have been paying attention to student names as a way to honor identity and culture, as well as ensure pupils don’t disconnect from learning.
- The Star Tribune reports districts are signing onto national campaigns like "My Name, My Identity," sharing resources like Name Shout, which helps with name pronunciation, and asking teachers to confront their own racial biases on the path to being more accepting of student differences.
- Research has shown the damage that mispronouncing names can do to students’ sense of self-worth and cultural identity, though some critics of this focus say it encourages students to think of themselves as victims.
U.S. schools are only getting more diverse, and it is more important than ever to help every student get on a path to success. It was not the case that schools were held accountable for every student’s achievement even 20 years ago. Now it is. And with increasingly diverse schools, the future of the country and the economy depend on students from every race and ethnic group doing well.
When teachers are used to being the expert, they can feel vulnerable struggling through unfamiliar name pronunciation and being forced to reproduce sounds that don’t exist in English. Administrators can help teachers embrace this level of unfamiliarity and the importance of persevering through it in trainings. It is not just a matter of helping students feel good. What is at stake, in many cases, is student achievement.