What’s in a name?

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

From the BBC News web site

Jordan, K’tee, Kloe and Bobbi-Jo are all names to make some teachers’ hearts sink, apparently.

Teachers have confessed to making snap judgements about children from their names on the register.
In a light-hearted debate on a teachers’ website, they have listed the names they associate with problematic and charming pupils.

Poppys are seen as hyperactive, Kayleighs as a pain and Ryans as hard work, according to chat on the website of the Times Educational Supplement.

Kyle, Liam, Wayne, Charmaine and Charlie are among the names teachers say they associate with problem children.

One teacher wrote: “I went through my new class list and mentally circled the ones I thought would be difficult. I reckon I have a 75% hit rate…”

Good list
Kate, Gregory, Sean, Charlotte, Jamie, Daniel, Lucy, Isobel, Ben, Sam, Harpreet, Imran, Asam, Alice and Joseph

According to the website, names which get a negative response from teacher include those with hyphens, like Bobbi-Jo, ordinary names with unusual spellings such as Kloe or K’tee, Kristopher, Jayne, Gyaike and Chevaughn, plus the various spellings of Jordon.

Names which teachers associate with delightful children include Kate, Gregory, Sean, Charlotte, Jamie, Daniel, Lucy, Isobel, Ben, Sam, Harpreet, Imran, Asam, Alice and Joseph.

However, perhaps proving that one’s response to a name is dependent on one’s personal experience, many names appear on both lists.

Bad list
Bobbi-Jo, Kloe, K’tee, Kristopher, Jayne, Wayne, Charlie, Liam, Ryan

The debate has sparked a row with parents chatting on another website, bounty.com.
Some were appalled, complaining that children were being labelled and pre-judged before they had even stepped inside a classroom.

One mother said she had complained to the Department for Education and Skills, saying: “I and many other parents are disgusted by the attitudes of the teachers on the forum.

“I realise this is a small number of teachers, but they have taken time out of their day to post these comments and I presume… they actually mean what they are saying.”

But others on the site sympathised with the teachers, saying they understood how if you had had a bad experience with a child, their name would continue to have bad associations for you.


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